Early Spring Along the Wine Road

Rebecca Germolus on Jan 31, 2024

The sweet smell of rain-freshened air is one of the joys of early spring along the Wine Road, but there are many more.


Wild Mustard in Bloom

One of my favorite early spring sights is the mustard blooming in vineyards, along the sides of back roads and anywhere else it left seeds the year before. The window to enjoy this visual treat lasts only a few weeks from early February through mid-March. It’s the perfect time to book a trip to Wine Road and enjoy the beauty of Northern Sonoma County. Plus, the mild late-winter/early spring weather makes a walk in nature easy and fun.

Mustard covered field with spring vineyards in the background

Wine Love Wine Trail

Last May, the Wine Road held its first Wine Trail event. We attended and took friends along. It was a magical day and a terrific event, so I’m equally looking forward to the next Wine Trail, called Wine Love (just before Valentine’s Day) held on Saturday, February 10th from 11am – 4pm.

The Wine Love program lists the wineries who will be participating and the wines they plan to pour for their guests. For the price of one ticket, you can select from over 40 participating wineries.

February Wine Love Wine Trail sign logo

A couple program highlights:

ACTA Wine, a new Wine Road member and relatively new winery located on Hwy 128 in Alexander Valley, will be pouring their Sauvignon Blanc, Deeds – a proprietary red blend, and their Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. ACTA is normally open by appointment Thursday through Sunday, but on February 10th, you can just drop by and show them your Wine Trail ticket to try their wines.

Just a mile or two down the road from ACTA, you can pull into Alexander Valley Vineyards. According to the downloadable PDF Wine Love program, “Taste top wines in a casual setting – every wine is 90+ points including the only Zinfandel in Wine Spectator’s 2023 Top 100 list!” Wow, how can you not want to go there after reading that?

Man and woman laughing and toasting with Wine Road glasses.


Looking for Sweets or Bubbles?

Frick, located in Dry Creek Valley, is an “off the beaten path” winery that rarely is open during events. For the Wine Love Wine Trail event, Frick will be open and pouring Cinsult, Counoise and Mourvèdre. Every visitor during the Wine Love event will receive a Frick stemless wine glass and a chocolate Valentine heart. Who doesn’t love wine and chocolate?

If you’re looking for some bubbly to help with your Valentine’s celebration, several wineries along the Wine Love Wine Trail will be pouring up their sparkling wines. You’ll want to stop by Amista Vineyards, Balletto Vineyards, CAST Wines, David Coffaro Winery, or Furthermore Wines, for each of these wineries will start you off with a taste of their sparkling wine.

If you’re looking for something sweet to share with your Valentine, check out the Chocolate Amore Port at Trentadue Winery, the Late Harvest Viognier at West Wines, or the Muscat Blanc dessert wine at Peterson Winery. All so yummy!

Can’t make the Wine Love Wine Trail? Then save the date of one or all of the next three coming up later this year: Spring Wine Trail – May 11th, Summer Wine Trail – July 13th and Fall Wine Trail – September 14th. These low-key, casual events allow you to meander and enjoy the best of the Wine Road.


A barrel in the background with words 46th Barrel Tasting Weekend, 50+ wineries, Buy Futures, Meet Winemakers, Taste Current Vintages

It’s Almost Barrel Tasting Time

Along with the mustard covered fields, another sign of spring along the Wine Road is the annual Wine Road Barrel Tasting. 2024 marks the 46th annual Barrel Tasting, which indicates this is a beloved and not to be missed event.

With over 50 wineries offering barrel samples of future wines, Barrel Tasting is an excellent way to meet the folks who make the wine; taste wines before they are finished and bottled; see the inner workings of many winery cellars; and learn what a wine tastes like when poured from the barrel into your wine glass.

Female winemaker using a wine thief to fill a wine glass. Wine barrels on both sides of the cellar.
Pedroncelli’s winemaker Montse Reece pouring barrel samples during 2023 Barrel Tasting.


The online program gives details on the barrel samples available from each participating winery. Many of these wineries also offer the chance to buy wine futures. Buying wine futures means you can pre-purchase the wines you taste from the barrel. Once the wine is bottled and ready to be released, you can either pick it up or have it shipped to you. Plus, wine futures are generally discounted from the release retail price.

There are many wineries pouring barrel samples of the usual wines like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, which we all enjoy. But you can also taste barrel samples of varietals like Aglianico, Montepulciano, Nebbiolo, Tempranillo, Grignolino, Freisa, Grenache, Malbec, Mourvedre, Petit Verdot and more! Tasting these unusual varietals is an extra special treat.

Mark your calendar for the weekend of March 2 & 3, 2024, get your tickets ordered (no tickets are available at the door) and prepare yourself for the delights of Barrel Tasting weekend.

Man using a wine thief to put red wine from a barrel into a Wine Road wine glass.

Early Spring Options

Beside fields of blooming mustard and two excellent wine tasting events, Sonoma County always has plenty of activities to keep you entertained during your next visit along the Wine Road.

The 15th annual Sonoma County Restaurant Week is February 19-25, 2024. It’s the perfect time to check out new-to-you restaurants and enjoy a range of cuisines. Participating restaurants offer both a la carte and prix fixe options that run the gamut from house-made pasta and freshly caught seafood to Latin fare and classic California-style cuisine.

Sign of 15th annual Sonoma County Restaurant Week

If you’re longing for a getaway, don’t let the winter get you down. Come visit Sonoma County and find beauty and adventures of early spring along the Wine Road.

Happy Sipping!

Mustard covered field with spring vineyards

Posted by Rebecca Germolus

Rebecca Germolus, co-owner of Maximum Value Marketing, loves Sonoma County and playing along the Wine Road. Rebecca daily immerses herself in wine country by providing cost-effective marketing and writing solutions to wineries and restaurants.

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