Four 100-year-old wineries near Healdsburg
Korbel Champagne Cellars
There is a special place in our hearts for Korbel. At the ripe old age of 21, we visited our very first winery, Korbel Cellars. That first visit got us hooked and started our journey of visiting wineries and vineyards around the world. What an impact! Korbel was founded in 1882 by Francis, Anton, and Joseph Korbel. The Heck Family, the current owners, bought the winery in 1954. It is a big-production, sparkling wine house producing over a million cases per year with distribution worldwide. Korbel has an excellent 50-minute tour followed by a tasting. The tour takes you through the step-by-step process of making sparkling wine in the French tradition. You will also want to check out the amazing rose garden and the luxurious tasting room. There is also a good deli restaurant, where you can eat while enjoying one of the most beautiful settings along the Russian River.
Tasting Room Hours 10:00 – 4:30 Monday through Sunday. Champagne Cellar Tour Hours 11 – 3:00 Monday through Sunday. Garden Tour Hours 1:00 and 3:00 Tuesday through Sunday. Closed Mondays.Garden Tours offered mid-April to mid-October. (707) 824-7000, E-mail: email@example.com, Korbel
Simi is another winery that we visited early on. I could not resist posting this photo taken in 1966. That is my son held by my mother while Janelle and I were inside the tasting room having loads of fun. Grandmothers always come to the rescue. In the photo, you can see that the tasting room was a mega-gallon redwood wine storage tank. We would walk down a few steps to the tasting bar where Isabelle Simi in her 80’s was handling the wine tasting tasks. Isabelle was the daughter of Giuseppe Simi, who founded the winery along with his brother Pietro Simi in 1876. Isabelle ran the winery from Prohibition until she sold it in 1970 at the age of 84. For those of you old enough to remember Hollywood actress, comedian, and glamor queen, Mae West, Simi had a photo in the tasting room of Mae West with a sexy quote modified slightly: “Come up and Simi sometime.” That’s how fun the tasting room was to visit in those days. Simi Winery offers daily tours (11 am and 2 pm). The tour leads you into the historic stone winery and gives a very informative look at winemaking. Simi owns prime acreage in the Alexander Valley and the Russian River Valley and can produce a very nice array of wines. Simi’s Pizza Café is open, but check the Simi Website to get the latest hours of operation. Today the winery is owned by Constellation Brands.
Tasting room open daily 10 to 5:00, (800) 746-4880. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Simi Winery
Foppiano Vineyards was established in 1896 and is still owned and operated by the Foppiano Family. With the sale last of year of the Seghesio Family Winery, that makes the Foppiano Winery the oldest family-owned winery in the Russian River wine region. The family owns 140 acres of prime vineyard property in the Russian River Valley. The best part is that the family owns the land outright. That is one reason why their wines are excellent bargain and value wines. Their signature wine, a Petite Sirah, sells for $25 a bottle, a great price for this excellent wine. Another great feature at Foppiano is their self-guided vineyard tour dedicated to the late Margot Patterson Doss. You may remember that Margot wrote a column in the San Francisco Chronicle encouraging people of all ages to walk and explore the San Francisco Bay Area. Pick up a brochure at the tasting room and take the walking tour that is probably a mile at the most.
Open daily, 11 to 5:00 Phone: (707) 433-7272 Email: email@example.com, Foppiano
Seghesio Family Winery
Seghesio Winery began in 1895 growing grapes and producing bulk wines. Edoardo Seghesio founded the winery and was said to be the first one to bring in and successfully grow the Sangiovese grape. It was not until 1983 that they began to bottle premium wines under their label. Today the winery is most famous for its Zinfandel wines and in particular, the Sonoma Zinfandel that has won numerous awards and can be found priced in many wine shops for under $20. In 2011 the Seghesio Family shocked the wine world by selling the winery to the Crimson Wine Group. The tasting room contains a lot of memorabilia and is a fun place to visit and taste wine. Seghesio also has a Bocce Ball court, should you feel the urge to have some friendly competition while sipping wine.
The tasting room is open daily 10 to 5, Seghesio