What is your favorite backroad in all of wine country? We have many that we like on our list, but we think this one certainly qualifies as the best wine country backroad. As you read about the points of interest along the route from Healdsburg to Guerneville, you surely will agree and want to give it a go yourself. This lovely trip begins in the chic wine town of Healdsburg. If you have not been to Healdsburg, you’ll want to spend at least half a day. The town has many boutique shops, art galleries, restaurants and tasting rooms. See more on Healdsburg.
This best wine country backroad will take you through breathtaking views of vineyards, Redwood trees, barns, and historic wineries. From the Healdsburg Plaza, go south on Healdsburg Avenue and turn right on Mill St. Take Mill St. under the freeway. Mill St. will lead you to Westside Road where your journey begins.
The first few miles will take you through the western edge of the Dry Creek Valley. The rest of the way you are in the Russian River Valley wine region or AVA. We will highlight a few of the best stops along the way but, if something else strikes your fancy, be sure to stop and take a look.
At Mill Creek Winery you’ll find a water wheel that will fascinate all age groups. The wine is great and so is the view. The next stop, just a short distance from Mill Creek, is the Armida Winery. Armida has one of the top scenic views in wine country, and a Bocce court to boot. A picnic lunch on the Armida deck, a game of Bocce with a glass of wine, and life can’t get much better.
Continue travels along Westside Road and stop at any winery that strikes your interest, but four miles after Armida are two wineries that should not be missed. Hop Kiln Winery is a hop kiln barn built in 1905. New owners have taken the wines up a couple of notches. Next door to Hop Kiln is Rochioli Vineyards, famous for its Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. The Pinot is so good, there is a long waiting list to buy their vineyard-designated wines.
The meandering road will take you past Porter Creek Vineyards and the MacMurray Ranch. You can visit Porter Creek and taste delicious Pinot Noir. MacMurray Ranch is not open to the public, but as you drive by, you can catch a glimpse of where movie and television star Fred MacMurray and his family would come for rest and relaxation.
In a few miles you will come to River Road at the end of Westside Road. Turn right on River Road and drive two miles to Korbel Cellars. Korbel Cellars is the home of sparkling wine and beautiful gardens. It is one of the oldest California wineries, with a starting date of 1872. Drop in to taste and, if you have time, take a tour of this amazing winery.
Korbel has a nice deli and terrace to enjoy a snack or lunch. A few miles ahead is the resort town of Guerneville. It is an interesting town that has changed little over the past 50 years. It is a very nice change of pace for wine country travelers.