08 May TumTum Tree Foundation Winner’s Circle Trip
Last year, the TumTum Tree Foundation auctioned off several “wine experiences,” which included accommodations and meals in Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Santa Barbara County and Oregon. The Curtin family was the lucky winner of one of the trips through wine country. Read more about their experience in the recap below!
Mendocino Anderson Valley
Our three-day adventure began with a beautiful bus ride through the snow-capped hills of Anderson Valley (a rarity, weather-wise) to Penny Royal Farms. In addition to a great portfolio of wines, Penny Royal runs an amazing sheep and goat cheese operation. We got a tutorial on the milking operation and the unique styles of corralling sheep versus goats into their individual milking stalls. As with any group, there is most certainly a pecking order of who goes in first and who brings up the rear. From there, we got to walk into a large barn to see all of the new lambs and kids. The term adorable does not quite measure up; these little ones are seriously cute and wanted attention from everyone in our group. Upon exiting the barn, we were treated to a wine and cheese tasting in their beautiful tasting room.
Penny Royal Cheese and Wine Tour – Karen: (707) 895-2410
From Penny Royal, we headed over to Goldeneye Winery’s tasting room (an offshoot of the Duckhorn brand). In addition to their standout Pinot Noirs, we tasted some excellent Rose Champagne and got a great walkthrough of the brand by Scott Hart, the label’s head of hospitality.
Goldeneye Wine Tasting – Scott Hart: (707) 895-9140
Our lunch destination was a lovely hole-in-the-wall called Stone and Embers. With a wood fired oven cranking out amazing pizzas (including one with a ghost pepper sausage topper), home grown produce in all of the delicious salads and a deep list of local craft beer, there was something for everyone to enjoy.
The last stop of the day allowed for two tasting room visits as they are located across the street from each other. The first of the two was Witching Stick Wines, where owner Van Williamson poured an assortment from his portfolio. Afterwards, we crossed the road to visit with Claire Baxter of Baxter Wines and taste through a few of her offerings.
Witching Stick Wines – Van and Anne Williamson: (707) 895-3454
Baxter Wines – Claire Baxter: (707) 895-3173
Dry Creek Valley
Day two took us up to the Dry Creek Valley with our first stop being Preston Farm & Winery. Run by a local legend, Lou Preston, their operation boasts a bit of everything from fresh-milled grain (utilized in their on-site bakery) to olives to moveable chicken coops. They also make some lovely wine and work hard to partner with the land for a low environmental footprint, even going so far as removing planted vineyard acreage and returning more natural flora to the property.
Our next stop was Dutcher Crossing where owner Debra Mathy and wine maker Nick Briggs tasted the group through a number of standout Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. Debra grew up in the Midwest, but always felt called to California to make her home there. She brings an easy-going, Midwestern vibe to match the California cool of her property.
Dutcher Crossing Winery – Debra Mathy & Nick Briggs: (707) 431-2700
From Dutcher Crossing, we made our way back down the road to Arista Winery for a fantastic lunch/wine and food pairing. Chef Tim Kaulfers walked us through each course with many ingredients sourced from the vineyard garden, which could be seen from the tasting room. Michael Kaulfers and Tome Escobar handled the wine side of things (both being sommeliers) for an all-around standout event.
Arista Winery – Chef Tim Kaulfers, Michael Kansbergs, Tome Escobar: (707) 473-0606
Russian River Valley
Moving into day three, the slate remained strong. Our first stop was Kosta Browne Winery, which is located in a large walled off industrial complex in Sebastopol, CA. Our host Lauryn took us through the beautiful winery and storage facility highlight a number of different unique aging containers (including a number of different shaped and sized concrete eggs). A nice tasting of their world-famous Pinot Noirs followed in their hospitality suite.
Kosta Browne Winery – Lauryn Mitrovich: (707) 823-5776
Being a sunny, spring day, we stopped into a local favorite Handline, which is located within a repurposed Foster’s Freeze. They’ve traded ice cream cones for a delicious seafood menu, including raw oysters, ceviche and even a mean burger for those interested in some land-sourced fare.
We finished our Sonoma tasting with a flight of amazing Chardonnays and a single Pinot Noir at the Trenton Roadhouse (aka Kistler’s tasting facility). Marge lead us through their approach of identical vine stock and wine-making process based around a wide variety of terroir styles. It certainly shows up in the glass.
Kistler Vineyards – Marge Truter: (707) 657-7665
Honorary Chairs in Napa Valley
Following the disbanding of our merry band, the Curtins drove over the hill to visit with our two honorary chairs for the 2017 TumTum event. Both wineries boast stunning facilities and views, not to mention some world-class wines. We tasted through portions of their offerings over the next two days and went on a walking tour of the facilities. We are honored and delighted to have them supporting our auction this year!
Vineyard Seven & Eight – Wes Steffens: (707) 963-9425
Arkenstone Vineyards – Sue Krausz (Jake’s Mom), (707) 965-1020
Day-dreaming of a luxurious wine country vacay yet? During the 2017 TumTum Tree Foundation Wine Auction, there will be more opportunities for you to win a trip just like this! Stay tuned for this year’s auction lots to be announced!