Footloose in Wine Country

Footloose in Wine Country

A winemaker’s work begins long before the harvest. By "walking the rows" of the vineyard, they observe and can optimize growing conditions for the vintage ahead. Likewise, visitors of Wine Country can twine among the vines at several vineyards as well as nearby trails and preserves.


Bartholomew Park Winery (Sonoma, CA). In 1857, this property was purchased by Agoston Haraszthy, a Hungarian nobleman and California wine pioneer. It now belongs to the Bundschu family, also proprietors of nearby Gundlach Bundschu. Three miles of marked hiking trails wind past oaks, manzanita, madrone and redwood-shaded fern grottos, with views extending to San Francisco. The winery is known for estate-grown organic Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel.

Tolosa Winery (San Luis Obispo, CA). From hills above the Edna Valley, vistas sweep from Pismo Beach to Morro Bay. Because of proximity to the Pacific Ocean, cool-climate varietals such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay perform well. Guided by the winemaker and winery owner, visitors learn about the appellation and afterwards enjoy a picnic lunch. Astronomy buffs can join Tolosa for nighttime viewing of the Perseid meteor showers (August 13, 2011), with commentary from a Cal Poly professor.


Castello di Borghese (Cutchogue, NY). Established in 1973, this was the first vineyard on the North Fork of Long Island. Owners Marco and Ann Marie Borghese lead short rambles from the tasting room to the winery, explaining viticultural practices along the way. He’s especially proud of the winery’s Pinot Noir.

Martha Clara Vineyards (Riverhead, NY). Bring your furry friend on "Vines and Canines" strolls led by winemaker Juan Micieli-Martinez and his dog Satchmo. If you prefer horsing around, they offer carriage tours on weekends. The winery is known for Riesling, Viognier and its red blends.


Afton Mountain Vineyards (Afton, VA): Hike the Appalachian Trail, then visit this nearby winery. Mountains soar in every direction, dotted with magnolias, dogwood and evergreens—those misty pines give the Blue Ridge Mountains their distinctive color. In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon and Gewürztraminer, Afton produces Sangiovese and Pinot Noir—unusual varietals for Virginia.


Tinhorn Creek (Oliver, BC). Set in the South Okanagan Valley, the Golden Mile Trail is the brainchild of Tinhorn Creek employees who mapped paths and created signposts. Showcasing stunning views, the route heads to ruins of a stamp mill used to crush metallic ores in this former gold-mining region. Reward your efforts with lunch—Tinhorn Creek opened its new Miradoro Restaurant in April 2011. Pair Mediterranean-inspired cuisine with Tinhorn Creek Merlot, Cabernet Franc, or Rosé.

For more wine country activities, click here.

Published on May 24, 2011