Saturday, February 18, 2012

Vineyard Vacation Rentals in Organic Vineyards, Part 2: Mendocino County

If you want to have that real wine country experience - you know, the one where you wake up and look out the window and are surrounded by vineyards - there are few places you can go that are organic. This post takes a look at where to stay in Mendocino in the Hopland/Ukiah area - an area that has many hotels but few B and B's. A vacation rental offers a charming way to be in wine country here.

Unlike Napa or Sonoma, where there are fewer organic vineyards (and consequently you may find the vineyard being sprayed while you're renting it), Mendocino has a high proportion of organic vineyards - and now the number of rental properties located in a vineyard has grown from one to three. There's also a fourth option.

As I've written about in the past, Italian heritage winery Testa has a great place to stay. It's a lovely old house on the grounds of this historic, rustic winery, complete with a beautiful old bard, and a cellar that produced through Prohibition. (Ken Burns Prohibition series fans: this place is a Must!)

The only caveat about Testa: it's located a little too close to 101 to be considered a rustic getaway. However, the historical aspect of the place is a big plus, plus the home interior is tricked out in vintage  furnishings and ambience - it's a sweet place for a gathering - and it has a pond where kids can play.

Now there are two other options in Ukiah/Hopland area - a mere two hours from the Bay Area, straight up 101 - one is luxe (and priced accordingly - but might be a good spot for a wedding party or Big Event) and one is a sweet spot on a fourth-generation vineyard run by the Milone family. Both are surrounded by certified organic vineyards.

A third alternative is Spirit Canyon, a beautiful vineyard setting, priced very reasonably, adjacent to organic viticultural expert Glenn McGourty's 1 acre Arneis vineyard overlooking the Russian River and a nearby cattle grazing pasture. (Although Spirit Canyon is not 100% organic, it is a gorgeous place to stay and the use of herbicides is minimal.)

1. Terra Savia - Sweet Hopland Home Overlooking Vineyards

Terra Savia's vineyards have been in the Milone family for four generations. On this property, you can stay in the 1,600 square foot home with two bedrooms and two baths. It sleeps four.

The nightly rental rate is $150-250; it rents by the week for $1,050.

It's located in Hopland, near 101.

While Chardonnay is by far their most grown varietal, the winery itself (located in an industrial structure nearby) also incorporates an olive oil production facility. You sample and buy artisan olive oil here as well as sample their award-winning wines. They are best known for Chardonnay and for their Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine, produced at nearby Rack and Riddle. Their wines are widely available at Whole Foods.

Enjoy the pictures below. And here's the link for full details.

2. Jeriko Estate - A True Luxe "Estate" Experience

Having a wedding or Big Event? Jeriko's six bedroom estate may be the place for you.

The 6 bedroom, 6 bath house - with 7,000 square feet - features a pool, billiard room, indoor pizza oven, to living rooms, and many other amenities. It's surrounded by 180 acres of vineyard. You can easily sleep 12 in the house.

It's owned by Danny Fetzer, the youngest brother of the Fetzer family offspring. The family started nearby Fetzer winery (before selling to more than a decade ago) but retained acres and acres of their original vineyards. The Fetzer family has played a major role in organic viticulture in the U.S., starting the largest organic brand Bonterra and continuing to farm organically or biodynamically on their family-owned properties.

Staying at Jeriko will cost you - the daily rental rate for this estate is a hefty $1375 to $1975  - but that works out to be about $230 to $320 per bedroom per night - or the same price as a luxury hotel (where there any in the area). But what you get is a truly memorable experience. If 12 people all chip in, the per person price would be around $115-$160 per person per night - just a little more than the price you'd pay to stay at a mid range chain hotel in the Ukiah shopping mall district.

Here you'll have the experience of feeling like a wine baron, enjoying the private pool with your friends, and gazing out at the beautiful vineyards and rolling hills across the Sanel Valley. Next door you can also visit Saracina (one of my favorite area wineries - with a cave tour and some of the best wines in the region.)

Jeriko Winery is within walking distance as well. It has recently received biodynamic certification.

Here are the posted photos from Trip Advisor - or go see all the photos there.

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