Mendocino County Events for Spring & Summer 2015
VERITABLE VINO: It’s a 10! Long known for its Alsatian varietals and corner pocket of sparkling wine producers, Mendocino County recently received a new American Viticultural Region (AVA): Eagle Peak. Situated 10 miles northwest of Ukiah, the petite wine-growing region is home to four commercial winegrowers and one tasting room (Masút Vineyard and Winery) featuring artisan Pinots crated by Jake and Ben Fetzer; www.masut.com. The AVA encompasses nearly 21,000 acres of rugged terrain with vineyards on east and south-facing slopes adjoining two other hard-to-find, easy-on-the-palate neighbors: Redwood Valley and Potter Valley AVAs.
WALK WITH THE ANIMALS: Fort Bragg’s Lodging and Llamas offers a new Russian Gulch Waterfall Trek – a guided llama hike and gourmet lunch through the coastal forest – for adventurers seeking an inside slice of Mendocino wilderness with a unorthodox escort; www.lodgingandllamas.com. Get up close and personal with a cache of creatures just two hours north of San Francisco via Highway 1 at B. Bryan Preserve, a 110-acre outpost in Point Arena. Founded in 2004 as a preserve for rare and endangered African zebras, antelope and giraffes, the sanctuary recently welcomed two new additions to the family: two rare Grevy’s Zebras, a critically endangered species native to East Africa. Daily tours; www.bbryanpreserve.com.
SWIRLING NEWS – NEW TASTING VENUES:
- Lichen Estate: The Pinot Noir producer opened their new Boonville tasting room in December 2014, in the site of the former Breggo Cellars tasting room; lichenestate.com.
- Witching Stick Wines: With a tasting room recently opened, Philo’s Witching Stick specializes in structured, firmly built wines that are ready to drink and pair well with food; witchingstickswines.com.
- Lula Cellars: The small production label opened a new tasting room in Philo, with a 14-acre Pinot Noir vineyard and winemaking facility and events venue; lulacellars.com.
- Seebass Vineyards: In September 2014, the winery introduced their new tasting room in Boonville, located directly across the street from the Boonville Hotel; seebassvineyards.com.
- Phillips Hill: The Anderson Valley-based winery recently debuted their new tasting room, located in an old apple drying barn in Philo; phillipshill.com.
- Lazy Creek Vineyards: One of the oldest vineyards in Anderson Valley announces the opening of a new tasting room, a few miles west of Philo; lazycreekvineyards.com.
SOME CHEESE WITH YOUR WINE: The hotly-anticipated Pennyroyal Farm Tasting Room and Milking Parlor is slated to open in Boonville in Spring 2015 and will feature a winetasting venue, tours and farmstead goat and sheep cheese produced by cheesemaker Erika Sharfen and owner Sarah Cahn Bennett (of the Navarro Wines family); www.pennyroyalfarm.com.
OUTBACK TRACKS: All aboard for a train adventure deep into Noyo River Canyon, paired with kayaks and wood-fired showers. April 3 marks open season for the Skunk Train’s annual Camping on the Noyo excursions, located 17 miles east of Fort Bragg in a remote logging camp. Originating in 1907, this eight-site slice of paradise is the ultimate unplug. Reserve the River View Cabin ($200/per night; sleeps four) if tenting it is too rustic. Starting at $100/per night., two-night minimum. http://skunktrain.com/camping-noyo.html.
GOOD EATS: Now open in Ukiah, Ritual Restaurant and Lounge (housed in the historic Marks Building) takes the place of the former Ukiah Brewing Company and offers two different settings: a gastro pub on the main floor and a fine dining room on the mezzanine level, for a seasonal menu featuring locally-sourced ingredients served at their peak; www.ukiahritual.com. Opening Spring 2015 in Ukiah, 110 W. Standley, a casual counterpoint to the more upscale Patrona, will offer flavorful and affordable global street food, sourced locally with the added bonus of a full bar.
WALK ON THE WILD SIDE: It’s trash to treasure at Fort Bragg’s Glass Beach, where years of pre-1967 auto taillights, apothecary bottles and broken windows have been naturally sanded and reinvented as sea glass gleaming in the sunlight. Leave it to Mother Nature and years of pounding surf to deliver a stunning beach lined with colorful sparkling glass and tide pools now accessible to day trippers. Stepping up with 4.5 miles of new turf on 82 acres of the old Georgia-Pacific Mill site, Noyo Headlands Park offers four areas that were inaccessible for over 100 years. Get up close and personal with a custom kayak tour via Liquid Fusion Kayaking out of Noyo Harbor.
HAUTE HOTEL UPDATES: The historic Heritage House Resort (of Same Time Next Year fame) continues renovations to its 70 guestrooms with a full-service spa and infinity pool on tap. Contemporary updates to the resort, a stalwart in Little River since 1877, include streamlined décor with floor-to-ceiling windows, luxury granite bathrooms featuring rainfall showers, soaking tubs and heated floors, L’Occitane amenities, fireplaces and Frette linens; www.heritagehouseresort.com. In Mendocino, heli into Brewery Gulch Inn, a contemporary luxury escape which celebrates its recent designation as one of the “Top 25 Hotels in the United States,” by Travel + Leisure readers; www.brewerygulchinn.com. In Anderson Valley, The Madrones welcomes the addition of a ninth cottage — formerly the owners quarters — to round out the Mediterranean-style compound’s cozy and tastefully-appointed Estate Guest Quarters, just a short walk away from the four onsite, diverse tasting venues; www.themadrones.com. For an east/west escape, both properties offer a combination package.
ARTISTIC ADVENTURE: Always on the edge, Unbeaten Path Tours, key in guiding visitors to the new Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands National Monument, recently launched a walking tour in October 2014. Get up close and personal with new trails and a knowledgeable guide. The Barking Rocks Studio Tour, another new option, spotlights the home and studio of artist Susan Routledge. Known as the “Hearst Castle of Northern California,” Routledge’s coastal oasis is the former estate of famed architect Millard Sheets. A one-of-a-kind experience for parties of six to 12 includes a two-hour exclusive tour of the estate, viewing of Routledge’s personal art gallery and working studio, as well as some of Sheets’ inimitable collections and an expert-led nature discussion on coastal ecology. Beverages and light bites included; www.unbeatenpathtours.com.
FROM FAMILY FETES TO WHITE WEDDINGS: New event and wedding spaces abound throughout Mendocino County, including the recently-opened Yokayo Ranch in Ukiah. The secluded ranch is flanked by enchanted gardens, fertile pastures and Douglas Firs and can host up to 25 overnight guests in onsite houses and cabanas (pool and hot tub included), and up to 100 guests for weddings and events at the outdoor venue; www.yokayoranch.wordpress.com. New in Spring 2015, the 21-acre Highlands Estate Wedding and Events Facility will provide a breathtaking outdoor venue set against the vines of the Yorkville Highlands, as well as a fully-heated and air conditioned barn, beautiful meadows, a serenity forest and pond; www.thehighlandsestate.com.
- May 2, 2015: 19th Annual Boonville Beer Festival; avbc.com
- May 28 – May 31, 2015: Countywide 10th Anniversary Mendocino Film Festival; mendocinofilmfestival.org
- June 7: Mendocino Monster Bike Ride; visitmendocino.com/mendocino-monster-bike-ride.com
- June 19-21, 2015: A Taste of Redwood Valley; atasteofredwoodvalley.com.