Dry Creek Valley - Wine Tour

Aromatics Seminar at Fritz Winery
Underground caves at Fritz Winery
"Soil Tasting" at Mauritson Winery
Organic Grapevines at http://www.quivirawine.com
Blending Seminar at Dutcher Crossing
Dutcher Crossing wine maker Kerry Damskey
The three Dutcher Crossing wines we blended
Dinner at the home of Debra Mathy, Proprietor, Dutcher Crossing Winery
All of the writers "blends" ready to be judged
Our winemaker judges - Scott Lindstrom Drake (Thumbprint Cellars), Barry Collier (Collier Falls Winery), Kerry Damskey (Dutcher Crossing Winery) and Rick Hutchinson (Amphora Winery
Dutcher Crossing Vineyards and Collier Falls Vineyard that looks like a waterfall on the hill behind. 

I was thrilled when the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley invited me on a wine tasting day to explore the Dry Creek Valley! It was an opportunity to learn more about the region while learning some of the different techniques that go along with wine tasting and making (aromatics seminar, "soil" tasting and blending seminar).  How could I say no to touring a wine region famous for its Zinfandels, my personal favorite red varietal!

With so many different wine regions right in our Bay Area backyard, it was a great opportunity to discover some new wineries an hour north of San Francisco.

We started our trip up in Cloverdale at Fritz Winery with an aromatics seminar.  The seminar was lead by Fritz Winemaker, Brad Longton.  He introduced us to the notes in the following wines:

  • 2012 Estate Sauvignon Blanc: Guava, Sweet Pea Flowers and Fresh Pineapple
  • 2012 Estate Rose: Sweet Strawberry, Raspberry, and Blueberry
  • 2011 Estate Zinfandel: Black Cherry, Licorice, and Ripe Plum
  • 2010 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon: Ripe Raspberry, Bittersweet Chocolate and Ripe Plums

Next we went to Mauritson Winery where wine grower, Cameron Mauritson introduced us to the following wines and showed us how the different soils of the vines could change the taste of the wine:

  • Mazzocco Sullivan Vineyard Zinfandel
  • Bella Lily Hill Zinfandel
  • Gopfrich Syrah
  • Mauritson Rockpile Zinfandel

After the tasting we enjoyed a delicious catered lunch at Mauritson by Dry Creek General Store.

Then we were off to Quivira Winery, an organic winery and biodynamic farm.   Nick Amtower lead us on a tour of the property to see the biodynamic farming in action and meet some of the farm animals.  We were able to enjoy the following wines while on the tour:
  • Quivira 2012 RoséWine Creek Ranch Grenache
  • Quivira Fig Tree Sauvignan Blanc
  • Quivira Quest Zinfandel
  • Quivira Mourvedre Wine Creek Ranch
  • Quivira "Elusive" Wine Creek Ranch (GSM)
Our last winery stop was at Dutcher Crossing, where winemaker, Kerry Damskey, led us in a blending seminar.  We later had four winemakers judge our blends in a blind tasting to determine a winner!

We then went across the vineyard to Debra Mathy, Proprietor of Dutcher Crossing Winery, to enjoy a catered dinner by Heidi West Catering.  It was such a gorgeous setting sitting on her back deck nestled in the vineyards with rolling hills in the background.

At dinner we enjoyed the following wines:

  • Thumbprint - Viognier and petite verdot
  • Collier Falls - Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Amphora - Zinfandel
  • Dutcher Crossing - Sauvignon Blanc

While we enjoyed dinner we were able to hear from all of the winemakers what they loved about making wine and especially why they loved making it here in Dry Creek Valley.

It was a fabulous day spent touring the Dry Creek Valley!  I really getting to know a handful of the over 70 wineries in the Dry Creek Valley area and getting to know the winemakers behind the wine.  It was such a treat to meet all of them and I left with such a better knowledge of wine and the winemaking process! Thank you to the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley for a wonderful day trip!

*All images via Savvy in San Francisco except the last image via WDCV.
**This wine trip was sponsored by the WDCV, but all opinions are my own.


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  1. I was just in Dry Creek Valley yesterday, we visited several wineries. I think it's one of the most beautiful valleys in the world, not to mention the origin of so many fabulous world class wines. Tour up and down both sides and there's something for everyone...sounds like an amazing day!

  2. I have the best job in the World – exploring the never ending subject of wine and meeting fantastic people from all over the globe. Describing a lot of wine tours like this.


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