Come explore the rugged beauty of the Russian River Valley and its acclaimed wineries at the 2015 Russian River Valley Passport Weekend on June 27 and June 28. For two days, between 11 am and 4 pm, you and your friends can enjoy world-class wines (including limited releases and barrel samples) as you receive unmatched hospitality at over 30 wineries, including many that aren’t usually open to the public.
Some of the wineries participating in this year’s Passport Weekend who make lovely Pinot Noirs (and other wonderful wines) include Balletto Vineyards, Benovia Winery, Cartograph Wines, Davis Family Vineyards, DeLoach Vineyards, Dutton-Goldfield, Inman Family Wines, and Mueller Winery.
If you are so inclined, you can also celebrate with VIPs on Saturday night at a limited-access VIP Winemaker and Grower Barbecue at Gail Ann’s Vineyard in the heart of Russian River Valley. Mingle, dine, and listen to stories from vintners who’ve been making wine in the Russian River for decades such as Helen Bacigalupi, Mel Sanchietti and Kent Ritchie. The evening’s food offerings will be prepared by SucherNova Farm, Corks Restaurant, Twist Eatery and Kozlowski Farms and paired with wines from ten of the area’s stellar wineries.
Tickets for the Russian River Valley Passport (formerly called Passport to Pinot) are $65 for two days of wine tasting, or $40 for tasting on Sunday only. The Full Passport VIP Experience is $150 per person and includes two days of wine tasting as well as the VIP BBQ on Saturday night. Designated Driver passes are $20 per person (for both days). To buy tickets, please go here (and go soon if you are interested in the VIP tickets – they are almost sold out).
The Russian River Valley Passport Weekend offers exclusive tasting and touring opportunities during this appellation’s two-day celebration. For full details on the weekend, including a list of all of the participating wineries and which activities are taking place at each location, please go here. Here are just a few of the festivities going on:
• ACORN Winery will showcase acclaimed field blend wines made from grapes grown in their certified sustainable Alegria Vineyards. Guests will have the opportunity to discuss the benefits of field blending while walking the vineyard with winegrower and owner Bill Nachbaur.
• Bacigalupi Vineyards will be offering barrel samples of their 2014 Pinot Noir along with tastings of Rosé of Pinot, Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. These sips can be paired with Costeaux’s Focaccia bread with Marinara, Mushrooms, Olives and Parmesan.
• Russian River Vineyards is the place to head for a food and wine pairing of Truffle Fries with two different Pinot Noirs, the 2014 “BPE” Burke Vineyard Pinot Noir and the 2013 “D&D” Vineyard Pinot Noir. If you arrive between 12 and 3, you can also enjoy live music.
• Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards is your destination for outstanding wines and food bites when you celebrate single-vineyard wines from the Russian River Valley including barrel tastings from their Vine Hill and Owsley Vineyards. Before, during, and/or after the wine tasting you can enjoy samples from cheese and fruit platters as well as Tri-Tip Sliders with Blue Cheese.
• Carrozzi Vineyard will host multiple wineries which aren’t normally open to the public at their beautiful property in Fulton. Come taste a variety of Russian River Valley wines all in one place from Bucher Vineyard, Camlow Cellars, Carrozzi Vineyard, Nunes Vineyard/St. Rose Winery, The Calling Wines and Via Giusti. On Saturday, you can also enjoy live music from The Harvest Band.
The Russian River Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) is located in the heart of Sonoma County just 55 miles north of San Francisco. The seasonal fog and tempering effects of the nearby Pacific Ocean provide the area with an uncommonly long growing season and ideal conditions for cool climate-loving grape varietals such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. To see a map of the area, please go here.
Russian River Valley Winegrowers is a non-profit marketing and educational organization dedicated to maintaining the agricultural diversity of the Russian River Valley while preserving its natural resources and protecting its authentic farming heritage. In addition to the Russian River Valley Passport Weekend, their annual events also include a Paulée dinner (in May) and Single Vineyard Nights, tasting events focused on small-lot, single-vineyard wines (in November).