After the holiday travel rush, visiting family in all the different cities, lugging present-hyped children from one sugar-rush to the next, it is time for the parents to take a well-deserved break from the kiddos and relax with a glass of wine. One of the benefits of hosting the Lucky Bend Lookout vacation rental is that we get to take advantage of the Russian River off-season. The Russian River in the winter is a much more mellow experience than you may be used to during the summer months. Outside the wineries, the parking lots have space for you. Inside the wineries, the bar has room for you. The hosts behind the bar have time to linger with you and chit chat about wine or whatever. There is even a good chance that you will find the owner or the wine maker behind the bar during the off season.
The only downside is that pesky cold weather with a chance of rain. Fortunately, Russian River specializes in Pinot Noir and nearby Dry Creek specializes in Cabs and Zins to warm your insides. Also fortunate, there are a number of wineries that bring the hygge to the tasting room with cozy fireplaces to warm the rest of you. Read on for our favorites.
This is part 4 of our 4 part “Off-Season Russian River” series.
- Part 1: Six Great Fall Family Adventures on the Russian River
- Part 2: Six Best Winter Activities Along the Russian River with kids
- Part 3: Wine Events at the Heart of Russian River Winters
- Part 4: Winter Warm-up with Russian River Wine
Cozy up with Wine by the Fireplace
Baby it’s (probably cool and rainy) outside; time for a big red wine by the fireplace to warm you up! Among many of great qualities of wine tasting is that it is as fun when the weather is warm and sunny as it is when it is cold and drizzly. Here are a few special wineries that dial up the coziness with fireplaces in the tasting room.
With fireplaces on every level of their three-story estate tasting room, you are practically guaranteed a spot by the flames. The loft and wine club lounge are especially cozy with a heavy timber ski lodge vibe and wood burning stove.
Lambert Bridge Winery
From red Bordeaux varietals through to a big zinfandel and two big cabernet sauvignons, Lambert Bridge will warm you right up. While the wines warm your palette from the inside, the all wood tasting room and stone fireplace will complete the cozy from the outside. This tasting room is a bit more exclusive and requires reservations or an appointment.
Paul Hobbs Winery
If the ski chalet feel of La Crema or the all wood warmth of Lambert Bridge is too much for you, Paul Hobbs Winery has a decidedly more cool modern feel with a nice linear gas fireplace in a bright tasting room. Paul Hobbs is all about honoring the unique qualities of the individual vineyards. Check out their five Cabernet Sauvignons; each sources fruit from a different vineyard so you can taste the differences the terroir imparts to each.
While Benovia specializes in the classic cool weather Russian River varietals, check out their Zinfandel and Mountain Grenache. They also have a sparkling if you are feeling a bit more celebratory. The best place is next to the fire in this ranch house with a touch of modern elegance.