It’s time once again for one of the more enjoyable times you can have swilling wine up in wine country: the 34th Annual Barrel Tasting weekends on northern Sonoma’s Wine Road. The event takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. over two weekends, March 2 to 4, and March 9 to 11, and allows visitors to roam around, glass in hand, and taste unfinished wines still in the barrel at some great wineries like Quivira, Ridge, and Soda Rock. The only catch comes when you want to buy any of the stuff you taste.
You’ll likely have the opportunity to taste wines currently for sale as well, but if you want to buy any of the stuff from the barrel, you’ll be buying futures only. That means you get a discount, which is nice (usually about 25%), but you generally have to buy by the case and you won’t receive your wine for another twelve to eighteen months.
Not every winery around the Russian River, Healdsburg, and the Alexander Valley is participating for both weekends, so check the roster here to see where to go when. Wristbands are available at the door of all the participating wineries for $40. They’ll also give you a glass, which you’ll keep with you, and the wristband will then get you in to all the other wineries.
Also, we’d recommend getting up there early and bringing a picnic — you’ll want to take a break and eat something right as things get crowded, in the afternoon, and the growing popularity of this event with limousines full of drunk bros and their female companions means you’ll want to avoid some of the larger and more obviously located wineries. Thankfully, this year’s roster is coded with asterisks next to every winery that refuses limos and groups over eight people, so that’s handy.
34th Annual Barrel Tasting [Wine Road]