Attention: Wine Roadtrippers: This weekend and next is the 34th Annual Sonoma County Barrel Tasting.
For Press Democrat coverage on the event, click here.
At the barrel tasting event, the focus is on tasting the newest vintages in barrel and - at most wineries - buying futures - i.e. buying the wine before it's ready to be released.
The key phrase here is FUTURES in which "discounts apply."
For Porter Creek, for instance, we're talking 23-33% off the retail price.
You can taste certified futures in organic and biodynamic wines at just three wineries: DaVero, DeLoach and Porter Creek. [Here's the complete list of all participating wineries.]
Personally I would head straight to Porter Creek, one of my all time favorite California wineries - Alex Davis was one of the top 5 "Winemakers to Watch" by Chronicle wine critic Jon Bonne in 2011.
The 4,000-case a year winery has been featured in many, many fine restaurants (the estate Pinot has been at French Laundry and Chez Panisse for instance) - but they haven't let it go to their heads at all, as you'll see when you stop by to see the rustic, humble, intimate tasting room (in a shed).
Here are photos I took at Porter Creek about a year ago.
Read more about them:
• Chronicle article - a tasting room visit
• On Yelp (reviews)
• Video of Porter Creek Vineyards
• NYTimes review of Porter Creek Zin
• WSJ Article: Rock Stars of Pinot Noir
So for lovers of Pinot, Chardonnay, Syrah, Carignane and Zin - yes, you can get 23-33% off retail prices by buying this weekend or next.
(The estate Pinot will not be available, because it's in short supply, but there will be plenty of Fiona Hill and Hillside Pinots on offer.)
Last year I bought about ten cases of their wine (and have more coming from buying futures last year.)
In previous years, I have been able to call and place an order over the phone, so I believe it is not necessary for you to actually show up to take advantage of the futures pricing.
Here's what else will be available for (organic or biodynamic) barrel tasting:
• DaVero (certified biodynamic)
Sagrantino (Italian native)
Sangiovese Rosato (rose)
Maboroshi Pinot Noir (certified organic)
Estate Pinot Noir (certified biodynamic)