When we booked a stay at the Vintner’s Inn in Santa Rosa through a Travelzoo deal, we received an unexpected surprise. Included in the deal was a free tour and tasting at the Medlock Ames Winery. At first I assumed that is was at the tasting room on Alexander Road near the famous Jimtown Store. But upon a closer look, the tour and tasting was at the Medlock Ames winery on Bell Mountain. Visiting a working winery is much more fun than visiting a tasting room only. A tour and tasting normally costs $35 a person, but it was included in the $199 package we paid for the room, along with a tasting at Rodney Strong, a free cocktail at the John Ash lounge, $50 towards dinner at the John Ash restaurant, and a delicious two-for-one breakfast at the Vintner’s Inn.
Our Visit to Medlock Ames Winery Bell Mountain Ranch
So off we went to discover the wonderful and beautiful winery and vineyards of Medlock Ames on Bell Mountain Ranch. Getting to the Bell Mountain Ranch is no easy task. It is a round about way to get to the winery. We had to go through the town of Healdsburg, then to Highway 128, and on to Chalk Hill Road. We turned up Toby Lane, a single-lane road that we took for about a mile. Once you get to the top of the area, the views are gorgeous and impressive, and it is surely worth making the drive to this spectacular spot..
The tour and tasting is done in a small group; there were six of us on our tour. Our host was Colin Sinclair and he welcomed us with a refreshing glass of Sauvignon Blanc. We strolled with Colin through the vegetable garden and the vineyards. In the vegetable gardens, we tasted some fresh strawberries that went quite nicely with the Sauvignon Blanc.We learned that all the farming is done sustainably and organically; no pesticides or herbicides are used. Solar Power provides all the energy the winery needs to run the winery operations. The Bell Mountain Ranch encompasses 320 acres, of which 56 are vineyards. Next we toured the winemaking facilities, viewing the fermenting tanks and barrel room. The winery makes only about 1000 cases of wine annually.
Now back to the patio where we tasted four wines, each paired with appetizers. We enjoyed all the wines so much that we decided to join the Medlock Ames wine club. We rarely do this, but we thought the wines had a very good price quality ratio. The Medlock Ames wines are available from very few sources and often sell out, so we did not want to miss out. So now we are proud members of the Medlock Ames wine club!
Just as we finished our tasting, winemaker Ames Morison walked into the room. We had a chance to chat with him and hear about his passion for making wines. We always enjoy our visits when we get a chance to talk to the winemaker. It makes the visit more meaningful. Nearby on Chalk Hill Road are the Chalk Hill Winery and the Lancaster Estate Winery. Along Highway 128 in the Alexander Valley as you get closer to Healdsburg, there are several wineries worth visiting. Here is our list favorite wineries in the Alexander Valley