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A winter tour of wineland

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Patrick Carr could have stayed home in Seattle to watch Sunday’s big NFL game.

Instead, the die-hard Seahawks fan flew in for Winter Wineland, which drew lively crowds Sunday at more than 100 northern Sonoma County wineries despite the event conflicting with America’s favorite national pastime.

At Hanna Winery in Alexander Valley, Carr, who sported a Seahawks jersey, said his plan was to “drink to health and happiness, and hope for a good second half.” It must have worked, given Seattle’s stunning come-from-behind win in overtime.

Football jerseys and jeans were perfectly acceptable attire Sunday for the dressed-down Wineland event, which encourages visitors to take in Wine Country when the vines are dormant and the roads less jammed with traffic.

At Soda Rock Winery, Kellie Geraghty of St. Louis, Mo., noshed on wild mushroom mac ’n’ cheese while sampling wine. She said she liked the intimacy of the event and visiting wineries she’s never heard of.

“It’s not the big names you see at the grocery store,” she said.

At Christopher Creek Winery on Limerick Lane in Healdsburg, Talia Michelle of Albuquerque, N.M., said she was enjoying hearing about the winery’s colorful history.

As she spoke, rock ’n’ roll belted out by the Karma Band filtered through the closed door and into the tasting room.

“It’s beautiful country,” Michelle said of Sonoma County.

Dominic Foppoli, co-owner of the winery and a newly elected Windsor city councilman, said wine sales on Saturday, the first day of the event, were double that of last year, which he said were strong to begin with. The event wrapped up its 23rd year Sunday.

Tracie Wong of Fremont was so impressed with the event last year that she decided to return this year and bring her husband, Spencer Cowenhoven.

Wong, who was the designated driver for the pair, said she liked that she only had to pay $5 and the fact more wineries seemed to offer food this year.

She said other wine events can get “crazy crowded.”

Her husband said the pair had discovered some gems along their tour of the wine road. But he admitted that he was struggling without access to a TV to watch football.

“I’m ready to go home now,” he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Derek Moore at 521-5336 or derek.moore@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @deadlinederek.

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