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Sassy Sippings: Russian River Barrel Tasting

February 13, 2009

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…well clearly I’m not talking about Christmas! Russian River Barrel Tasting is upon us!

Barrel Tasting 2009

Last year I had the joy of sipping some fine wines during one of the barrel tasting weekends in the Russian River Valley. As an alumni of Sonoma State, it is a GIVEN that you attend barrel tasting & make use of wine country!
The Russian River Wine Road Association orchestrates a phenomenal, low cost and tasty event that embraces the culture of the Russian River Valley. Forget over priced tastings and snooty servers, wine lovers rejoice at the sight of a turkey baster (I’m sure it has a better name) dipping into a barrel and squirting wine into your handy souvenir glass that you get with purchase of a ticket.

View From Family WineriesFor $20 you receive a wrist band which grants you an all access pass to virtually all wineries in the Russian River, Alexander & Dry Creak Valley’s – basically anything north of Sonoma/Napa. The wrist band is good for the entire weekend, so alchie’s drink your heart out (note a good server will recognize those that have had too much to drink and cut you off – not namin’ any names but just sayin’).

What really makes the event great is that you get a grasp of the culture that is unique to the northern wine area. The staff is friendly and laid back which is evident through both their attire and their heavy hands (wink wink). Most wineries also pair their barrel offerings with a delectable dish (or two). I had some great veggie chili (I was surprised too), gumbo, caesar salad and olive oils. Some of the wineries I made it to last year even had bands/entertainers for your enjoyment. It really is a celebration of the wines in their rawest form (well ok maybe not the rawest, but you catch my drift). Many people also enjoy the event because you can purchase futures for a generally lower cost.

I highly recommend a limo/driver service. There are just too many great wiFamily Wineries neries you do not want to miss (or have your sober driver miss either). Granted, I was with a large group of college seniors last year, so a limo made the most sense. They do ask that no buses over 30 people participate – trust me a lot of these guys are tiny places and just can’t accommodate that many people!

Some of the wineries we stopped by included: Clos du Bois, Francis Ford Coppola, Family Wineries & Trentadue

Here’s the 411:

Tickets– $20 pre-sale, $30 day of (ticket is good for 1 weekend)

Dates – 3/7 – 3/8 & 3/14 – 3/15

Wineries – 100+,  see a full list with descriptions here

I’ve made plans for the weekend of 3/14 to attend, but who knows maybe I’ll make it two weekends! There are over 100 wineries so it could take months to see them all!

Happy (responsible) Sipping! Coppola

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 13, 2009 9:48 am

    We’ve been going to the RRV barrel tasting for 5+ years now and it’s an amazing opportunity to meet the winemakers, hear about the wine making process, get a glimpse (or taste, rather) of what the wines will be when they grow up. Next to Winter Wineland it’s one of my favorite events up there and I’m definitely looking forward to this year. Now, do we make it a weekend?

  2. Momma W permalink
    February 13, 2009 7:45 pm

    Had reservations at the Westin that weekend! Huh…this is what she ditched us for Aunt Robin!!!

    See you the following weekend my baby!!! Hope you can remember the goods ones so we can go back!

    xoxox Momma

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