From Mendocino, exploring Anderson Valley is a fun day trip. Getting there on Highway 128, you drive through some incredible California redwood trees. Once there you will find charming towns, many wineries and tasting rooms, attractive shops, wonderful restaurants and some lovely hotels and guest houses.
According to Sunset Magazine, it is a growing wine producing area “known for its small-production Pinot Noirs, but its Alsatian varietals—Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, and Riesling—are worth exploring, too.” There are several wine festivals throught the year by the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association. Their website also lists all of the wineries and tasting rooms in the area.
Boonville is the largest city in the valley. It has a small main street, with shops, galleries, tasting rooms, restaurants and a great boutique hotel.
My top finds include:
Boonville General Store – Cafe, Bakery & Deli: This small cafe offers organic food for breakfast and lunch. They offer sandwiches, soups, salads and pizza. I enjoyed lunch of a Moroccan chicken dish with two salads. 14077 Highway 128.
Mosswood Market, Cafe and Bakery: At 14111 Hwy. 128, this is a fun cafe for a coffee or bakery treat.
Paysanne: This is a small cafe featuring great organic ice cream, tea, coffee drinks, bakery items, candy, crepes and more. 14111 Hwy. 128. It is the perfect spot for a break from a day of wine tasting in the valley.
Lauren’s is a fun casual restuarant that gets good reviews at 14211 CA-128. They feature American comfort food and local wines.
Boonville Hotel: This is a small boutique hotel with 15 rooms in the heart of downtown Boonville. They call themselves a Rural Roadhouse. The rooms are charming and the restaurant is considered the best in town. Perry Hoffman, who earned critical acclaim while chef at Shed in Healdsburg and Domaine Chandon’s former restaurant Etoile, is back to work at the very place he started out cooking 20 years ago. They also have a lovely garden for outdoor dining and have several cottages for use. There are also rooms in the renovated roadhouse. Another project is underway. Cooking classes are now being offered. 14050 Highway 128.
Farmhouse Mercantile: This is a store with great design in the heart of Boonville, at 14111 Highway 128, featuring items for the home and body. They are owned by the same people as the The Apple Farm, where you can stay in one of their cabins or guestrooms. They offer Stay & Cook Weekends and Mid-week Dinners, where you can stay and enjoy participating in the preparation and enjoyment of the meals. 18501 Greenwood Rd. northwest of Philo.
Foursight Wines: This is a small, family owned winery in Boonville. They are known for their pinot noirs. The tasting room was closed when I was in town, but it is open Friday to Monday for most of the year. 14475 Hwy 128.
Anderson Valley Brewing Company: Just outside of Boonville is this large microbrewery where you can take tours and visit their large taproom. They produce a number of ales, IPAs and stouts. I thought the best was the Boont Amber Ale which is their signature beer. 17700 Hwy. 253 just north of Hwy 128.
On my next trip I want to visit Pennyroyal Farm, a winery, creamery and farmstead. Here you can taste their wines, visit the farm and the creamery and then have a food and wine pairing or have lunch. 14930 Highway 128.
A short distance from Boonville is the Yorkville Highlands Appellation which is situated between the Anderson Valley and the Alexander Valley in Sonoma County. If you have time, you might try Maple Creek Winery and Meyer Family Cellars which are both recommended. Meyer is opening a new tasting room in February, 2020.
West of Boonville is the small town of Philo.
Here you will find:
Roederer Estate: At 4501 Highway 128 in Philo CA, this is a winery specializing in sparkling wines. They also feature a pinot noir rose, a chardonnay and a pinot noir. I really enjoyed their award winning Brut Rose MV. Nearby is their sister winery Scharffenberger Cellars, which also specializes in sparkling wines from 1981. 8501 Hwy 128.
You might check out the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival held in May featuring tastings, wine dinners and other events. I am excited to try it on my next trip!
The Madrones: This is a lovely complex of nine elegant guest rooms, wine tasting rooms and restaurant. The tasting rooms include Drew, Bink, Knez Winery and Signal Ridge Vineyard. 9000 Highway 128. They recently opened The Brambles which offers four rooms inside a Victorian-style home along Indian Creek.
At the Madrones is Drew Family Cellars: This is a family owned winery that specializes in syrahs and pinot noirs. I enjoyed their Gatekeepers Pinot Noir and their Valenti Ranch Syrah. Their home and winery is near Elk, southwest of Philo. 9000 Hwy 128. They also have the Smith-Story Wine Cellars and the Long Meadow Ranch winery.
Signal Ridge Vineyard: At 11051 County Rd 151is the Signal Ridge Vineyard tasting room. Here you can try a local cider as well as their sparkling, white and red wines. I enjoyed their Watchtower pinot noir.
Other tasting rooms nearby include:
Balo Vineyards: They are known for their pinot noirs. They have lovely grounds and a tasting room. I thought the pinot was excellent. 9001 Highway 128.
Lula Cellars: They are known for their pinot noirs and zinfandel. Their award winning Mendocino Costa Vineyard Pinot was very good. 2800 Guntley.
Handley Cellars is a small family-owned winery in Philo at 3151 CA-128. They produce a number of reds, whites and sparkling wines.
If you are in the area in May, then Cinema in the Vineyards is a fun event in several of the Philo wineries and tasting rooms.
A Chicago friend in the wine business also recommends Toulouse Vineyards & Winery and joined their wine club. 8001 Highway 128. They enjoyed the wines and did the same at Navarro Vineyards located at 5601 Highway 128.
Also getting good press is Bee Hunter Wines for their Pinot Noir and Witching Stick Wines for its Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. The later has a tasting room in downtown Philo.
The recently read about The Bewildered Pig at 1810 Highway 128 in Philo. This is a local restaurant, getting great reviews, that features seasonal cuisine and using ingredients from local farmers, ranchers, foragers and fisherman.