Is the Hopland Wine Country on the rise? There are some interesting happenings in this little wine country town about 30 minutes north of Healdsburg. Janelle and I have been visiting Hopland at least once a year since 2000. We have seen the area go through its ups and downs, but on this last visit it looks like things could be jumping in Hopland.
The most notable change is the redo of Lawson Station Hotel by husband-wife team Gary Breen and Anna Beuselinck. They have reopened the hotel, which was closed shortly after it opened in 2007. The hotel, including its restaurant, has been given a facelift and the new digs are called Piazza del Campovida. Full operation is set to go any day now.
Gary and Ann also purchased the Fetzer Valley Oaks Center that has been closed to the public for at least five years. The new name is Campovida, and the grounds and tasting room are first class as are the Rhone wines produced here. Gary and Anna are hoping Campovida will not only attract a huge following of wine lovers but are also optimistic that it will become a popular venue for weddings and conference events. There is a set of cottages on the property that can accommodate folks for events and that is a big plus for the area. Campovida is located east of the town, about one and a quarter miles on Highway 175. Tasting room is open daily 11 to 5 pm. This is the perfect spot for a picnic lunch.
Just on the northern outskirts of town, the Saracina winery, owned by John Fetzer, recently opened a beautiful tasting room. There are also new caves to tour and, best of all, excellent wines. The stainless steel fermented and aged Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are very delicious wines. The reds are equally delicious. We found the Malbec at Saracina scrumptious, indeed. All these wines come from their estate vineyards, all certified organic. The tasting room is open daily 11 to 5pm and cave tours will begin in May.
In all there are 16 wineries located in the area, with six wineries having tasting rooms in Hopland. Hopland is also home to one of the better wine bars and wine shops we have visited. It is called Sip Mendocino. Here you can taste and purchase just about any wine produced in all of Mendocino County.
The biggest hurdle facing wine tourism in the Hopland area is the lack of lodging and gourmet dining. The once proud Hopland Inn, built in 1890, is in a state of disarray. Since 2000 we think the Inn has had at least four owners. The best years began in 2007 when a young chef and some investors purchased the Inn. The San Francisco Chronicle ran a very positive story on the Hopland Inn and its bar, bistro, and restaurant. The article attracted many visitors to the Hopland Inn, but after a falling out among the partners, the Hopland Inn closed. Since then another group or two have purchased the Inn and it seems to have gone steadily downhill. The best thing that could happen to Hopland is a complete remake of the Hopland Inn. If that were to happen, Hopland would have the potential to become a chic and exciting wine destination town.
In the meantime, Hopland can be a great one-day destination for wine travelers. Our suggestion is to stay and dine in Geyserville and explore the many wineries there and then take another day to travel 20 minutes to Hopland. Pack your lunch and explore the many fascinating wineries of Hopland.