Winter Festivities, Fun and Wine, aka Winter WINEland

Rebecca Germolus on Dec 14, 2016

Conquer the January blues during the weekend of January 14th and 15th by enjoying the festivities and fun of Winter WINEland along the Wine Road. This will be the 25th anniversary of Winter WINEland, and should be spectacular.

This year’s theme will be Vintages, Varietals or Verticals. So what does this mean and what should you expect?

Wine Tasting sign


A vintage is the year the wine was produced, so a vintage tasting would be wines from one year. Maybe a winery will be pouring only 2014 wines, or dip into their library and pour some older vintages, all from the same year. Here are examples of Vintage-focused wineries:

  • Merriam Vineyards has gone into their library cellar to share two 2008 Cabernet Francs—one from the Jones Vineyard and the other from Windacre Vineyard. These wines are perfectly aged and ready for you to savor.
  • Hart’s Desire in Healdsburg is showcasing their 2012 wines, plus offering 35% off all purchases.
  • ACORN Winery will be pouring their acclaimed 2013 wines paired with a tasty nibble from Bistro 29.


For a varietal tasting, expect to taste several wines of the same varietal. You can search the program for your favorite varietals. Here are a couple of Varietal-focused wineries:

  • Peterson Winery lets you experience the range of Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. From smooth and fruity to bold and structured, this grape offers something for every palate. Peterson will be pouring two Zin blends and three single-vineyard designated Zins, all from Dry Creek Valley.
  • Sonoma Cutrer will focus on two varietals—Chardonnay, including a rare Late Harvest Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir—paired with tasty treats.
  • Forth Vineyards at Family Wineries will focus on their 2014 “All Boys” Dry Creek Cabernet Sauvignon paired with seafood cioppino. Sounds too good to miss!


A vertical is the same wine from multiple vintages. To put together a vertical tasting, the winery will have to comb through the depths of their library cellar to find some well-aged wines, and here are a couple that you shouldn’t miss:

  • At Carol Shelton Wines, enjoy tasty morsels paired with Carol’s award-winning Zins to help ward off that winter chill. Carol has dipped into the winemaker’s library to create a vertical of her Rocky Reserve Zinfandel from the esteemed Rockpile appellation.
  • Join Mill Creek Vineyards & Winery for a rare opportunity to sample older vintages of Reflections, an Alexander Valley Meritage (a blend of Bordeaux varietals.).
  • At Jigar Wines in Forestville try a vertical flight of their 2010, 2011 & 2012 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, with special pricing when you purchase all three.

These are just a few highlights from the Winter WINEland weekend program. With over 100 wineries participating, you’re guaranteed to find wineries and wines that you’ll fall in love with. Besides the spectacular wines you’ll discover, you can also experience the winter or snow-themed décor. It may no longer be the holiday season, but you’ll feel like it is with the festive decoration and twinkling lights. Kind of the best of all world—sip great wines, enjoy holiday or winter decorations and not have to be stressed about buying holiday gifts or being overscheduled. Just relax and enjoy.

If you are looking for winter, be sure to stop by Timber Crest Farms and check out how Peterson Winery is covered in snow. Or, if you prefer your winter in a more tropical climate, Deux Amis and Mutt Lynch in Windsor will have a snowbird theme, so be sure to bring your sunscreen and shades.

A winter scene at C. Donatiello Winery during Winter WINEland 2016.
A winter scene at C. Donatiello Winery during Winter WINEland 2016.

Breakfast with the Winemakers

To get even more out of your weekend adventure, start out in Rodney Strong Vineyards barrel room and join winemakers Greg Morthole of Rodney Strong, Carol Shelton of Carol Shelton Wines, and Erik Miller of Kokomo Winery for a casual breakfast, including a Q & A with the winemakers. Breakfast doesn’t include wine tasting, but will definitely get you in the mood for your day along the Wine Road.

Winter WINEland Details

Be a part of the Winter WINEland’s 25th anniversary, and also consider gifting tickets to the event and winemaker breakfast as part of your holiday giving.

25th Annual Winter WINEland
January 14 & 15, 2017
11 a.m. – 4 p.m
Tickets and more details about the event and winemaker breakfast are available at the Wine Road website.

Hope to see you along the Wine Road.

Happy Sipping!

#WineRoad #WinterWINEland2017

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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