Here is a winery that is easy to miss among the big names near Healdsburg in Sonoma County. Mill Creek Vineyards and Winery is a small family-owned winery on Westside Road. The second and third generations of the family are at the helm with a production of 7000 cases from 45 acres of vineyards. We have been visiting for many years, but hadn’t since the COVID Pandemic. Mill Creek Vineyards and Winery is just around the bend on Westside Road as you pass the famous Madrona Manor. Like most wineries in the popular wine regions of the post-Pandemic era, reservations are required.
Visit Mill Creek Winery and see the water mill
A visit to Mill Creek Vineyards and Winery was just the right medicine for us. Tastings are held outdoors on a beautiful patio. The coolest feature at the winery is the water mill. There is something so peaceful about watching the water mill and listening to the pleasant sounds of water spilling into the pond. The glorious Redwoods are scattered around the area, adding to the setting of solitude. What a great place to relax! This might not be the case on weekends, but we had the place all to ourselves. It was a Thursday, and we’d booked the reservation the day before. Mill Creek is definitely one of the off-the-radar wineries.
Tasting is $25 a person, and one tasting fee is waived if you purchase one of the wines on the tasting menu. Five wines were on the menu. Our tasting started with a Rosé that is 96% Merlot. It is not too often we see a Rosé from Merlot grapes. This wine is delicate, yet has a great mouthfeel. A Chardonnay followed; this version is crisp, with apple and pear flavors. It is aged in neutral oak, so no heaviness to this Chardonnay. They do have a more oaky Chardonnay available in their lineup of wines.
The third white was a dry Gewürztraminer. Mill Creek has been making this wine since 1979. The 2019 vintage is very flowery, a bouquet of garden flowers in a glass. Next came two reds, a Zinfandel and a Cabernet Sauvignon. Both are lovely wines, but the Rosé and the two white wines were much more enjoyable in the warm weather.
We capped off the visit by enjoying a picnic lunch. The winery gave us the okay because Mill Creek had only one other party scheduled for a tasting. A great place to buy your picnic goodies, salads and sandwiches is at the Big John’s deli in Healdsburg.