Wow, what an amazing winery in so many ways. You must plan a day trip to visit this new winery that sits high atop the mountains of Dry Creek Valley. Although the winery is officially in Dry Creek, it is far from any of the wineries on Dry Creek Road that you might have visited in the past. It is remote, beautiful, and breathtaking. Put it on your list of wineries as a “must visit.”
Dan Gustafson and his family have developed this remarkable winery on 260 acres of beautiful oak woodland forest. 20 acres have been planted with vineyards, all organically farmed. The winery building and the home of the Gustafsons are spectacular to say the least. The view from the front of the house extends all the way to Mountain St. Helena, 26 miles away. Within view is the Dry Creek Valley, the Sonoma Valley, and the Napa Valley. Up on the hill on the opposite side is the picnic area that sits under beautiful Madrone trees. Here visitors are treated to another spectcular view to the north and Lake Sonoma. The vineyards are at 1800 feet, making them the highest vineyards in Sonoma County.
Dan and his winemaker, Emmett Reed, are the only two full-time employees. Wine production is at 2800 cases annually, and there are five varietals produced. We sampled all the wines with food and were quite impressed with the quality of the wines. The RosÃ© of Syrah is perhaps one of the better dry RosÃ© wines we have tasted in recent times. The reds we tasted were elegant and all will pair beautifully with food. The first vintage was 2006 so things are really just getting started at Gustafson. I’m sure these wines will be in high demand as the word gets out.
Gustafson officially opened its tasting room in April of this year. The tasting room is open on Saturdays to the public and by appointment Monday to Friday. To get to the winery from Healdsburg, drive all the way to the end of Dry Creek Road and past the recreation area. Take Skaggs Springs Road for about five miles. It is about 20 miles from Healdsburg and will take about 30 to 40 minutes of driving time.
If you visit and the weather is anything but terrible, you must bring a picnic lunch and sit at the picnic area and enjoy the view and serenity of the area.
One more thing, near the entrance to the winery is a massive Madrone tree that is 300 years old and possibly the oldest Madrone in California. Take a look at this tree, it is truly one of nature’s great gifts.