Wine Lovers: It’s Ok To Drink Straight From The Barrel

At least, during Healdsburg’s annual Barrel Tasting festival it is. The first two weekends in March, an hour north of San Francisco, over 130 of Healdsburg’s award-winning wineries will open their doors and their casks, allowing visitors to be the first to taste the year’s new releases, a full 12 to 18 months before the bottled wine will be available for sale.

Celebrate upcoming vintages from nationally known heritage wineries (such as Clos Du Bois and Rodney Strong), progressive boutique wineries (Bella), cult favorites (Hawkes) and biodynamics (Quivira), March 4-6 and 11-13. Guests will have the opportunity to taste “futures,” speak with the wine makers, take in stunning scenery and explore Sonoma’s notoriously indie charmer, Healdsburg. Stay at a Healdsburg Lodging Coalition member inn or hotel and the Barrel Tasting Weekend Pass is FREE.

Here is some information for your easy reference:

33rd Annual Barrel Tasting
When: March 4-6 & 11-13, 2011
11:00 am – 4:00 pm each day, with some wineries open the preceding Fridays as well
Weekend Passes: $20 before Feb 28, $30 at the door – or FREE if staying with a Healdsburg Lodging Coalition member
Lodging reservations:

Designated drivers are always encouraged, as are post-tasting lodging reservations. Stay the weekend with the Healdsburg Lodging Coalition, a collective of diverse independent hotels, inns and cottages, and Barrel Tasting passes are FREE (just let the innkeeper know you are attending Barrel Tasting at the time of reservation). There are options to suit all tastes and budgets (Bella Villa Messina for sweeping views, Healdsburg Inn on the Plaza for downtown life, etc). See