Today, a visit to a winery can offer so much more than a wine tasting. There are vineyard tours, reserve tastings, meeting the winemaker, food pairings and barrel tastings. Each of these experiences enhance the wine tasting experience, leaving a lasting memory. On my visit to Soter Vineyards in the Willamette Valley, my friend and I sat down for the Provisions Tasting, which offers a sampling of the current release wines paired with small plates crafted from the produce and meat grown on their biodynamic farm. From the moment we pulled up to Soter Vineyard until the moment we drove away, the Provisions Tasting at Soter Vineyards was extraordinary and that is why it is the Please The Palate pick of the week.
Mineral Springs Ranch is a 240-acre oak savanna in the heart of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. Soter Vineyards is the 32 acre estate vineyard and the entire property is a biodynamic estate owned by Tony and Michelle Soter.
We drove up the long driveway to the top of Mineral Springs Ranch.
At the top of the hill is the Soter Vineyards Tasting Room. The rectangular wood barn looks rustic from the outside but is anything but rustic on the inside.
Last November on a trip to Sonoma County, I visited Rodney Strong Vineyards in Alexander Valley. Touring the property with winemaker Justin Seidenfeld, we stopped by a The Boneyard, an area of the winery that had once been a storage area for founder Rod Strong's items, including his old piano. Justin was telling me that he had converted this space into a state-of-the-art winery for his newest project, Rowen Wine Company. This week the wines were launched and Rowen Wine Company is the Please The Palate Pick of the Week.
Rodney Strong Vineyards was established in 1959 by dancer Rod Strong and purchased by the Klein family in 1989. They own 12 estate vineyards in Sonoma Country. In 2002, Rodney Strong Vineyards signed a long-term lease for the Cooley ranch, a 20,000 acre property north of Dry Creek Valley. Actually, 16,000 acres sit inside Sonoma County and 4,000 of the acres are in Mendocino. The Rodney Strong Vineyards team spent seven years studying microclimates, charting elevations and digging 200 test pits in order to determine the best spots to plant vineyard blocks. By 2010-2011, they selected 200 acres that sit on top of metamorphic, iron-rich greenstone and volcanic soils and began planting.They planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Syrah and Viognier, which is inter-planted with the Syrah.
We must all take care of the communities that we live in. We should live sustainable lives. We should do good in our lives. These are challenges that we can undertake as individuals and as businesses and one business doing that is Long Meadow Ranch in Napa Valley. You can read about the family-owned business that does all of things in my recent column in the Napa Valley Register, and republished below.
On Main Street in St. Helena is Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch. From a coffee in the morning to a tasting in the afternoon to a dinner at night, it’s a one-stop shop. And with it comes sustainability and health, supporting the community and doing good.