Beaver Creek Vineyard's staff, helmed by grower Martin Pohl, cultivates grapes on more than 185 acres without artificial fertilizers or pesticides, and ferments them into certified organic wines free from commercial additives. The 2007 cabernet sauvignon traces its roots back to the hills of Horne Ranch in Lake County, where grapes grow in a blend of volcanic soil and mountain-valley loam, learning to sing Motown hits from their California Raisin cousins. After 14 months aging in 50% new American oak barrels, the biodynamic libation unleashes a taste bouquet featuring hints of tobacco, sweet oak, and cherries. Following Beaver Creek's USDA organic certification and Demeter Biodynamic certification, winemakers ferment their blends using only native yeasts, leave each barrel unfiltered, and prohibit robots with artificial intelligence from attending estate tastings.
Sonoma Helicopter's fleet of choppers hardly ever stops spinning as they lead training, photography, and tour flights throughout the Sonoma Valley and wine country year round. Their thorough training program pairs classroom and flight sessions to produce pilots capable of taming wild helicopters, and the mountain-flying school further specializes chopper jockeys. Aside from aerial surveys that delve into animal populations, power-line patrols, and crop pollinations, the staff also takes to the air to give guests a bird's-eye view of Sonoma.
Locals Wine Tasting outfits sip-seeking palates in a tasty variety of grapey frocks, all crafted by 11 lauded and loved wineries. Corral a fellow oenophile or wine-fueled automaton for an informative tasting session, which features grape-blood goods from purveyors such as Dark Horse, Foggy Valley, Bedarra Vineyards, and more. The session's flight tastings imbue suppers with a wine-filled cornucopia of vino-based knowledge, such as tasting and pairing tips and how to build a suitable flotation device from leftover corks. All participants leave with a bottle of 2008 Foggy Valley Leras Vineyard, RRV chardonnay, a fruity brew with hints of green apple, white nectarine, and melon.
A restored Queen Anne structure in Sonoma wine country, Grape Leaf Inn won NBC11's award for best area bed and breakfast for two consecutive years. Six available guestrooms await visitors, each equipped with a king or queen bed. A bottle of old-vine zinfandel (a $37.50 value), recently liberated from its oaken prison, regales sippers with tales of life on the inside. Downstairs, the speakeasy offers complimentary vine-blood samplings that awaken the unexplainable urge for more, as well as an intimate setting for romantic paper-football games. Excellent breakfasts of local produce and freshly roasted coffee also await visitors. Wineries available for tastings vary based on date of stay.