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Amista Vineyards

Amista Vineyards
June 23, 2023 | The Amista Blog | Amista Vineyards

Dry Creek Wineries and Amista Vineyards Mark Milestone Anniversaries

Overlooking Dry Creek Valley by Amista Vineyards

Amista is fortunate to be among the incredible array of Dry Creek wineries that came together to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Dry Creek appellation at a special tasting high above Lake Sonoma. Dr. Liz Thach, Master of Wine, professor, and wine writer was in attendance on a beautiful day in June and writes about the virtues of Dry Creek in Forbes magazine.

“If you enjoy food and wine get-aways with magnificent vineyard views, the Dry Creek Valley AVA of Sonoma County may be the next wine region you should visit. And the timing couldn’t be better, because Dry Creek Valley wineries are celebrating their 40th anniversary of being an official AVA (appellation) this year,” declares Dr. Thach.

Why Dry Creek Valley is Special to Us

We are grateful every day of every year that we found this incredible valley and the town of Healdsburg on our first visit in 1984. We eventually decided to make it our home in 2002. A lot has changed in that time, but the sense of community, the pioneering spirit and love of the land remains. We are humbled to be surrounded by pioneering wineries. Dr. Thach identifies them in her article, “The two oldest existing wineries in Dry Creek Valley are the Frei Brothers and Pedroncelli, but other famous wineries, established in the 1970’s include A. Rafanelli, Dry Creek Vineyards, Mill Creek, Preston, Lambert Bridge and Lytton Springs.”

The other special aspect of Dry Creek is that it is small – just 16 miles long and 2 miles wide – and rural – just two stop signs. The views of the tree-studded hills from the valley floor are as spectacular as the views of the vineyards from the hills. There’s something about gazing out at acres of vines that is both calming and uplifting at the same time.

What Makes Healdsburg So Charming?

“Located 70 miles north of San Francisco, and just outside the charming town of Healdsburg, Dry Creek Valley is one of the oldest wine regions in California, settled just after the California Gold Rush of 1849,” writes Thach. But what makes it charming is the combination of an authentic sense of community where people know and care about each other and the exhilaration of welcoming visitors from all over the country and the world. Together we share the enjoyment of incredible weather, a diverse selection of Dry Creek wineries to visit, world class cuisine and lots of outdoor activities.

Dr. Thach’s mentions several restaurants, “The 3-Michelin star restaurant, Single Thread…along with other popular establishments such as Barndiva, Dry Creek Kitchen, the Matheson, Valette, The Madrona, and many others.” Among the many others we also love are Baci, Willi’s Seafood, Bravas Tapas, and Guiso Latin Fusion plus Diavola and Catelli’s in the nearby village of Geyserville. Yes, there are lots of great dining options! And can you believe that a town of under 12,000 would have three fantastic bakeries – Downtown Bakery, Quail and Condor, and Costeaux French Bakery?

For locals and those fortunate enough to visit at the end of May, there is the quintessential small-town event, the Healdsburg Future Farmers Fair and Twilight Parade. It is truly a celebration of Healdsburg’s roots in agriculture and community. Next year the event will celebrate its 75th anniversary. The tractors, flatbed trucks, fire trucks, 4-H clubs and school bands have a great time “performing” in the parade while the onlookers pack the streets and front yards along the route complete with picnics, barbecues and plenty of local wine.

How About the Dry Creek Wines?

The early Italians who originally settled Dry Creek planted and produced primarily Zinfandel and field blends. But the pioneering spirit generated other varietals that expanded the diversity of Dry Creek wines, from Sauvignon Blanc to Bordeaux blends and Rhône-style varietals like Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. At Amista, we make all three of those Rhône-style wines plus a blend of the three we call Tres.

Is There Sparkling Wine in Dry Creek?

Yes! “During the reception, Amista Winery shared one of their sparkling wines, made from mataro grapes. ‘We have become known for making sparkling wine from unique varietals,” stated Amista Estate Director, Brian Shapiro.” In fact, at Amista we currently produce six sparkling wines, all made using the traditional Methode Champenoise, the same process used to make French Champagne.

Next year we will introduce a 7th sparkling wine to mark our 20th anniversary. We are far younger than the original pioneers and half the age of the Dry Creek AVA, but we are committed to upholding the pioneering tradition and the friendly spirit of Dry Creek Valley. After all, Amista, roughly translated, means making friends.

Read Visiting The Dry Creek Wine Region Of Sonoma County by Dr. Liz Thach in Forbes.




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