POSTED ON September 4, 2008 | IN Russian River Wine Country - Sonoma Cty. | BY joe

On Old Redwood Highway just off Highway 101 near Healdsburg is where Foppiano Vineyard and J Vineyards are located, just a couple of miles of each other. Even though they are very different from one another, we enjoyed our visits to both of them.

Foppiano Vineyards was established in 1896 and that makes it the oldest winery in the Russian River wine country. Today the family owns 140 acres of prime vineyard property in the Russian River Valley. The best part is that the family owns the land outright. That is one reason why their wines are priced at a value point. Their signature wine, a Petite Sirah, sells for $25 a bottle and that is a great price for this excellent wine. The Cabernet Sauvignon is also nicely priced at $17.50. Many years ago Foppiano was a pure jug wine producer but in the late 1960’s evolved into a premium wine producer. Recently, the winery changed winemakers and the prospect look rosy for the Foppiano wines now under the direction of the fifth generation of Foppianos.

There is nothing fancy about the winery operation. There is no fancy wine equipment that we could see and the tasting room is rustic and appointed generously with the Foppiano family history. There is a fabulous black and white photo that is worth asking the wine server about. The photo tells a great story about prohibition when the Foppiano winery was forced to dump thousands of gallons of wine. There is no tasting fee and visitors can taste a wide selection of wines.

Another great feature at Foppiano is their self-guided vineyard tour dedicated to the late Margot Patterson Doss. You may remember that Margot wrote a column in the San Francisco Chronicle encouraging people of all ages to walk and explore the San Francisco Bay Area. Pick up a brochure at the tasting room and take the walking tour that is probably a mile at the most. There are nine stations on the tour, each explained in the brochure. It has to be a good tour because our grandchildren had a grand old time walking through the vineyards.

Next blog on J Vineyards down the road from Foppiano.

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