Day Trip to the Russian River Wine Country


Written by:

Joe Becerra

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Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards & Winery and the Field Stone Winery
December 2003

Nestled in the beautiful hills of the Chalk Hill Wine Appellation is one of California’s most spectacular wineries, the Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards and Winery. This winery sits on 1200 acres of hillside terrain overlooking the Russian River Valley. This is truly a hidden gem in the wine country backroads of northern Sonoma Country.

We have arranged a tour and tasting at this winery for 11:00 am. The winery is open to visitors during the week by appointment only and closed on weekends. The moment you enter the winery’s gate you get a sense of something very different. All staff members are cordial. The grounds are well maintained and the vineyard plots small and nicely manicured. The buildings are beautifully designed and fit in perfectly with the rolling hillsides.

Following a tour of the estate and winemaking facilities, we tasted five very delicious premium wines. The wines are the product of careful vineyard management and winemaking. The winery has identified thirteen growing areas of microclimates and soil types on its estate. Each varietal of grape is grown in small vineyard lots in the environment best suited for that varietal. The emphasis at Chalk Hill is on high quality wines, so the grape yields for each varietal are kept small to intensify the flavors in the grape. A total of 300 acres are planted with grapes and another 100 acres will eventually be added. Among the wines we tasted, the Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, and the Chardonnay were our favorites. All of these wines are complex, but the word that best describes them is elegant.

After leaving Chalk Hill we head along Chalk Hill Road toward the Alexander Valley Road. This lower section of Alexander Road that leads towards Healdsburg is one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the California wine country. There are several small wineries along the way and any of them are a good choice to visit and taste wine (see our Lower Alexander Tour for details). We stop at the Field Stone Winery. This winery makes only 9000 cases of wine a year. We enjoyed the Petite Syrah and a very excellent port wine. This winery is rather unique in the fact that its tasting room and winery have been constructed into the side of a small hillside.

Our next stop is the Oakville Grocery in Healdsburg. We usually like to pick up a lunch and picnic at a nearby winery. Today, we choose to eat our lunch at one of the outside tables at the Oakville Grocery. The town of Healdsburg is bustling with shoppers. There are many small and interesting shops, including several tasting rooms, where you can taste wines from local wineries.

If you are interested in visiting the Chalk Hill Estate, check their website for appointment information and directions to the winery. Check our Lower Alexander tour if you are interested in visiting this area.

  • Joe Becerra

    Joe Becerra has been traveling to wine country and enjoying wine since 1965. He is a retired educator, and now have the time the opportunity to share his wine travel experiences through this Website.

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