In addition to Jordan Estate, some other wineries also offer hikes that enable visitors to explore vineyards, learn about winemaking methods and enjoy some tasting. Here’s a sampling:
Kunde Family Winery: This winery calls its hiking program a “unique opportunity to witness sustainable winegrowing.” Fourth-generation vintner Jeff Kunde leads some of the hikes himself on the 1,850-acre property. The hikes are somewhat strenuous, taking guests from the Sonoma Valley floor up 1,400 feet into the Mayacamas Mountains. Tour dates: June 11, Aug. 13, Oct. 22, Dec. 3, all at 9 a.m. $30. Bring your own food.
The winery also offers hikes where dog owners can bring their pooches for a stroll along the Sonoma Valley floor with Jeff Kunde and his hounds Cooper and Marley: April 29, June 17 and Sept. 30, all at 9 a.m. 9825 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, 707-833-5501, $75 (it’s a fundraiser for animal welfare groups), kunde.com/hiking-program.
Alexander Valley Vineyards: This “grape-to-glass” tour of the Wetzel Family Estate (AVV’s home), is a gentle stroll past rows of vines that culminates with tasting from a barrel in an underground wine cave. Daily at 10:30 a.m. except Sunday, reserve at least 48 hours ahead. $50 includes boxed picnic lunch. 800-888-7209 x116, 8644 Highway 128, Healdsburg, avvwine.com/visit/visit-us.
Seghesio Family Vineyards: Fourth- and fifth-generation vineyard managers Jim and Ned Neumiller offer walking tours of Seghesio Home Ranch in Geyserville and its 120-year-old vines. Winetasting starts during the moderate 2-mile hike, which ends with lunch and more wine. May 20, Sept 9, Oct. 7, all hikes start 10 a.m. $75, 707-433-3579, seghesio.com (Note: Seghesio prefers not to give out address of their home ranch because it doesn’t want drop-ins. Address on Seghesio site is tasting room in Healdsburg, not location of hike.)
Bartholomew Park Winery: A few blocks from Sonoma Plaza, this organically farmed estate offers a self-guided hike through 300 acres of parkland that includes the winery. Soak up views of nearby mountains as you go at your own pace, then enjoy a picnic overlooking the grounds. The winery’s tasting room is open daily 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 1000 Vineyard Lane, Sonoma, 707-939-3043, bartpark.com/visit-the-winery.
More self-guided walks: A number of Sonoma County vineyards now offer self-guided hikes through a program called Sonoma County Vineyard Adventures. Among them are the Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Balletto Vineyards, La Crema, Matanzas Creek, Paradise Ridge and Schug. Visit any of these wineries’ tasting rooms and ask about the program. You’ll receive a map showing various routes, and, according to the SCVA site, guests can “touch the vines” and “taste the grapes.” More info: sonomavineyardadventures.com
THIS WEEK’S BLIND TASTING
The Food-Friendliest Thanksgiving Red —-- Grenache
Donelan, 2014 Cuvee Moriah, Sonoma County Grenache, 14.6% alcohol, $50. ★★★★ What makes this a pitch- perfect Thanksgiving pick is that this Rhone red has tangy, high-toned fruit, coupled with savory spice and crisp acid. It has notes of pomegranate, red currant and cardamom. The Donelan has a round texture and finishes crisp, pairing well with a broad range of rich dishes. The wine is 84% grenache, with 16% mourvedre. Impressive.
Clos de Gilroy, Bonny Doon Vineyards, 2016 Grenache, 13.1%, $20. ★★★1/2: This is a bright grenache with generous fruit and snappy spice. Notes of raspberry, red currant, a hint of plum and cracked black pepper. This pick is spicier than some, so it works best with lean side dishes and turkey. The blend is 82% grenache and 18% syrah.
Tablas Creek, 2013 Grenache, 15.5%, $45. ★★★★: This grenache has black fruit aromas but its weighted to red on the palate. It has notes of wild strawberry and cherry, riding on crisp acid. It also has a hint of leather and chocolate in the mix. This wine is 100% grenache and its tangy fruit makes it a savvy Thanksgiving pick with dishes that are both lean and rich.
Quivira, 2014 Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County Grenache, 14.8%, $34. ★★★★: This is a pretty grenache that leads with full- throttle strawberry but has layered flavors —-- a hint of vanilla and white pepper. This is another example of 100% grenache, and its tangy fruit coupled with bright acid makes it a savvy Thanksgiving pick.
Unti, 2014 Dry Creek Valley Grenache, 14.5%, $35. ★★★★: This is a full-bodied grenache that’s both fresh and savory. It has great complexity, with layered flavors of raspberry, anise and pepper. This classic Rhone works well with a Thanksgiving feast, as well as solo because of its tasty infusion of syrah. The wine is 80% grenache, 14% syrah and 6% mourvedre. Striking.