Saturday, May 19, 2012


Wednesday, May 15 – So what's Corkhopping you ask? It's defined as wine tasting at multiple wineries. We had numerous wineries to choose from in the Sonoma Valley area, so we looked for those offering free tasting and picked several that would be easy to get to without long drives.

We headed North on CA-101 from Petaluma, CA, to Healdsburg and the Alexander Valley Vineyards.

alexander sign

sin zin

We enjoyed a little tasting and then was invited to take a tour of the Cave where the aging wine is stored. The cave totals 25,000 square feet and holds 6500 barrels of wine.


Scott our Wine Steward did an excellent job!

In the cave we were treated with tasting unfinished wine directly from the barrel. Interesting, but we like the aged and finished wine better.

Marsha tasting wine

Marsha asked why they only till every other row. Scott explained that the rows with the grass/weeds attracted the insects needed to keep the unwanted insects away. Also, it helped enrich the soil. Next year they will alternate the mowing.


The winery was in the process of moving barrels out of the cave and into the bottling process. They will be bottling over 60,000 bottles of one of their award winning wines.


Since 1975, the Wetzel family has produced handcrafted estate grown and bottled wines at the Alexander Valley Vineyards with distinctive varietal character. Acclaimed for their elegant Cabernet Sauvignon, crisp Chardonnay, the iconic Sin Zin and CYRUS – The First Growth of Sonama. The Alexander Valley Vineyards was named Sanoma's Best Winery in 2011.

We then traveled about a half-mile down the road to visit Johnson's Alexander Valley Winery.


This is a small family owned winery. This was a little strange as a wine tasting experience. As we pulled into a deserted winery that appeared a little run down, a lady climbed out of a trailer and directed us over to an older barn style building for the tasting.

johnston tasting

This winery only makes three brands of Zinfandel wines, non of which we cared for. Much can be said about presentation, and this Wine Steward lacked a considerable amount of public presentation. We simple didn't care for any of the three wines, so we departed with our money still in our pockets.

Our third and final winery was the Sausal Winery.


What stop number two lacked in presentation was captured by the Sausal Winery. Our Steward was an energetic young lady that had grown-up in the wine industry. She was knowledgeable about the wines she served and welcomed us to taste any of the seven wines Sausal produced.


The Sausal Winery specializes in older vines (the oldest vine is over 135 years old). They have become a benchmark for Old Vine Zin. These distinctive, 100% varietal Zinfandels reflect the age of the vines from which they are produced. In addition, Susal produces estate grown, 100% varietal Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, and Petite Sirah.

sausal wine

We enjoyed this tour very much and like our first stop, at Alexander Valley Vineyards, we left with a bottle to enjoy later. Feeling the effects of our tasting, we decided we better call it a day and return to the motor home. There are over 50 wineries in this area alone, so one could spend a great deal of time tasting wine and learning about the wine industry.

paul tasting

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y'all back real soon. Have a great day!


  1. I really couldn't tell good wine from vinegar but thanks for the tour and interesting facts about wine growing.

    That entire area of California is a great place to tour in isn't it. It's always one of our favourite drives either heading south or coming back home.

  2. Might be interesting to see the effects of a 50 winery tour on driving skills. Probably be pretty hard to find the last few.

  3. I knew exactly what you were doing when I read the title to this blog. I bet after a while all the flavors ran together.


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