Next Stop: Wine Tasting in Dry Creek


by GinaLisa Tamayo

Photo provided by Jimmy Montenegro

Wine tasting is a wonderful way to enjoy the company of family and friends, especially after the harvest when the scenery is even gorgeous as the red and gold leaves glisten under the sun. This past weekend, I spent the day in the Dry Creek Valley region of Healdsburg, a small and quaint town located about an hour north of San Francisco in Sonoma County. Healdsburg also happens to be where I grew up.

Since I’ve lived in the area all of my life and having just turned 21 years old, I’ve been curious as to what wine tasting is all about.  A group of twelve of my cousins and I hopped in a van and took off to a few wineries just a couple miles from home. There are hundreds of wineries throughout Sonoma County but to savor each wine and still be able to enjoy what every place has to offer, you can only visit a few in a day. I’ve decided to highlight two wineries that you should visit.

Our first stop was Mauritson Family Winery. It is in a prime location, located off Dry Creek Road making it is easy to find.

Photo provided by Jimmy Montenegro

Our group tasting included six wines. Since we were a rather large party, we were escorted outside to a lawn area surrounded by pine trees overlooking vineyards with a gorgeous view of the mountains in the background. I embraced the natural setting of being outside as I sipped on various wines. Though I was impressed with the majority of what we were poured at Mauritson I especially savored two.

The 2011 Mauritson Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley $21, was light and crisp with hints of grapefruit. It was fresh and clean taste on the palette, yet it still delivered a flavorful glass. This is definitely something you could pair with an artisanal salad or a seafood entrée. It was my personal favorite wine from Mauritson.

The 2010 Mauritson Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley $29, was a favorite among the group. One of my cousins exclaimed, “Fantastic!” after taking a sip. Another remarked, “It’s jammy” referring to the pops of raspberry jam, “it coats my palette just right”.

Group Tasting $10,

Mazzoco Winery

Photo provided by Jimmy Montenegro

Mazzocco Winery was conveniently a mile or two away from our first stop as our group eagerly anticipated trying some of Mazzocco’s award winning zins. The Mazzocco tasting room itself made us feel as if we were right at home.

My favorite pours at Mozzacco were wine club exclusives thanks to two members of our party who opted to join the wine club while we were there visiting.

The 2008 Petite Sirah Maria Reserve $45, is hands down delicious. It’s smooth yet decadent and full bodied with flavor. The vibrant flavor of plum shines through.

The 2010 Zinfandel Smith Orchard Reserve $52, is a beautiful wine. My cousin Amanda took one sip, turned to me and said, “I love it”. The taste of wild blackberries and raspberries with a hint of vanilla made us wanting more.

Group Tasting: $10,

Also: Here’s a quick few things to remember before your next wine tasting adventure, whether you decide to go with a small or large group, always have a designated driver! Also, don’t worry about getting a baby sitter for the day since most wineries are child-friendly. Lastly, if you decide to go with a larger party, it’s recommended that you make a reservation in advance.

GinaLisa Tamayo is a senior studying Communication at the University of Southern California. She currently works as a multimedia journalist at Annenberg TV news on campus. GinaLisa interned two summers at KTVU-Fox 2 in Oakland, CA. Prior to her work in broadcast journalism, she worked as an arts and entertainment reporter for an award winning publication called Neon Tommy.  Upon graduating from USC, she plans to move to a smaller market to work as a news reporter. Eventually, GinaLisa would like to report for a news station in the Bay Area, the place she calls home. GinaLisa grew up in beautiful Sonoma County with her parents, little sister Anna, and dog Ricky. Aside from news, she loves to write on an array of topics including fashion, food, and travel.