Off The Beaten Road
To do nothing is sometimes a good remedy – Hippocrates
Apparently, I had taken this quote to heart because I did nothing the last few months. I had thought about writing everyday but couldn’t get my hands on the keyboard. I must have written one day and even that, with huge resistance. Is this what they call writer’s block? 😉 I don’t consider myself a writer nor do I believe in such a thing so let’s just call it what it is – Laziness! Now that I explained my absence, let’s move on to the post, shall we? 🙂
Dry Creek Valley
Sometimes, all it takes is to look the other way to realize what you’ve missed and how beautiful the world is when you take a diversion. I drove up Highway 101N many times before and always visited the towns and wine regions to the east of 101. And that is expected because to the east are the more popular towns of Napa and Sonoma and their world renown wineries. I don’t recall what prompted me to go west on that rainy day in February, but I am so glad I did and discovered the little gem of Dry Creek Valley. Dry Creek Valley is part of Sonoma wine region and is known for Zinfandel wine. Of course I knew that and why did I never think of visiting? I have no clue! Ah well, it is never too late!
Dry Creek Valley is a quiet and laid-back valley nestled between Healdsburg and Geyserville and had been untouched by the fires of last year. You can go wine tasting, olive oil tasting, hiking, fishing or stop by Lake Sonoma and enjoy the gorgeous views of the valley. There are sustainable farms that you could visit and pick fresh produce.
Along the dry creek road are many wineries, most of which are family owned. Here, you get a sense of a true agricultural region and not a wine region. The tastings are not rushed or mechanized like you often see in Napa these days. The Zinfandels here are not the overly jammy, way too sweet and high alcohol styles of Lodi and other warmer areas. The flavor profile is more nuanced and subtle and brings out the best qualities of this varietal. If Zin is not your style, they’ve got you covered as they grow many other grape varieties as well.
I had visited a few family owned wineries like Gustafson, Trattore and Nalle. The level of attention you are given is phenomenal and their passion for wine making is awe inspiring. Some of these wineries’ owners are very hands-on, from pruning to harvesting and wine making. They do a commendable job with their wines and tastings. Stop by Healdsburg for brunch or lunch and you have a perfect escape from the hustle that is Bay Area. I can’t wait to visit this valley again and taste more great wines the region has to offer.
P.S: You are in for a surprise when you venture off the beaten path now and then. Go on then! Take that detour and go wild!
I am Aswani Kurra. I am an engineer, dreamer and part-time wanderlust, writer and wine lover. I always had an urge to write, create and travel. So I created this space to satisfy my creative itch and combine all my skills to help you plan your Charming Escape.