Hop Kiln Estate Winery in the Russian River Valley
Hop Kiln has been a fixture along Westside Road in the Russian River Valley since 1905. For the majority of its history, it was used to dry and process hops, one of the key ingredients in making beer. After the hops production disappeared from the scene, it became Hop Kiln Winery. For many years Hop Kiln has been one of our “Go To” wineries for a different experience. We love the buidling and what it represents. The picnic area around the pond is scenic and relaxing. In 2004, the Hop Kiln Winery was purchased by the Westside Wine Group LLC and became HKG Estate Wines. Many changes followed. Some vineyards were pulled and replanted. Additional vineyards were also planted. The one-hundred-acre vineyard surrounding the winery provides all the grapes for the HKG wines. These are grapes that grow beautifully in the climate of this portion of the famed Russian River Valley AVA. The emphasis is on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio grapes. The winery recently added a very attractive picnic area opposite the winery entrance. The tasting room is one of our favorites. You really get a feel for what this place was like back in 1905. The old wooden beams and the stone walls are so enchanting. As far as the wines, we think they are on a par with any of the wines in the area, including those next door at the Rochioli winery, famous for its Pinot Noir waiting list. Why wait! We thought the 2012 HKG Pinot Noir Triple 7 was about as good as any Pinot Noir we have recently tasted. In the Chardonnay category, the HKG Russian River Valley is delicious and refreshing, with just the right amount of oak. At $28, it is a great buy.This area of the Russian River Valley is one of the most beautiful backroads in wine country. The Russian River flows to the east of the road, and each bend of the road brings another beautiful view of vines and trees. The HKG Estate Winery is open daily from 1o am to 5 pm. From Healdsburg, take Westside Road for six and a half miles. You will easily be able to spot Hop Kiln’s distinctive architecture. Don’t forget to pack your picnic lunch.