POSTED ON July 4, 2014 | IN Russian River Valley, Sonoma County | BY Joe Becerra
acorn winery betsy bill

Acorn owners Betsy and Bill Nachbaur

About Acorn Winery

This is a revised article that I posted in 2008 about Betsy and Bill Nachbaur and their Acorn Winery and Alegria Vineyards. This past week Acorn Winery made Daily Meal’s Top 101 Wineries in America. Acorn Winery is number 22. That is quite an honor considering this winery is very small and not much known to most of the media titans like the Wine Spectator and Robert Parker. Congratulations to this small winery on Old Redwood Road near Healdsburg.

At Acorn Winery, Betsy and Bill Nachbaur do things a little differently than most wineries and vineyard farmers. Their winery is located on prime acreage in the Russian River Valley and most of their vines are very old, including a Zinfandel block that is over 100 years old.

The Nachbaurs purchased the property, Alegria Vineyards, in 1990. They farmed the grapes and sold them off to various wineries. When winery after winery starting winning awards for their Alegri­a Vineyard wines, Bill decided it was time to try his hand at making wine, and in 1996 established Acorn Winery. The Nachbaurs still sell their grapes but keep 20% of their crop to produce 3000 cases of wine per year.

So what about field blends? Few wineries practice this tradition today. The Alegri­a Vineyard contains blocks of various field blends in which the grape varieties are interplanted. They are harvested together and fermented together. So, for example, take the old vine Zinfandel block. Interspersed among the Zin vines are a few vines of Petite Sirah, Alicante Boushcet, and a few other varietals. The vines are all harvested and fermented together. The blending is thus done in the field and not in the barrel.

alegria vineyards

Old Vine Zinfandel – Alegria Vineyards

Acorn Winery is open by appointment only, and the tasting takes place in a rustic room that serves as both an office and a tasting room. Betsy also gives visitors a quick tour of their interesting vineyard blocks. The tasting is currenlty $10 per person but waived if a wine purchase is made. If you are looking for wines that are unique and pair well with food, try the Acorn Winery.

There are several other wineries in the area including J Vineyards, Rodney Strong, and Foppiano. Check out our Old Redwood Wine Trail that includes these wineries and others. If you are staying in Healdsburg, see our list of recommended Healdsburg restaurants.