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Barrel Tasting Weekends Offer Tradition, Education and a Glimpse into the Future of Sonoma County Wine


Taste the Future, from Our Cellar to Yours

Healdsburg, CA, February 5, 2016—Presented by Wine Road, Northern Sonoma County, the 41st Annual Barrel Tasting offers two weekends of barrel sampling and the opportunity to purchase “futures” at over 100 wineries in the beautiful Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys. The event, which is Wine Road’s longest running, will take place March 2 – 4 and March 9 – 11 from 11am to 4pm each day.

During the event, weekend wine tasters may purchase “futures,” essentially a chance to buy, often at a discount, a wine that is still aging in the barrel now, then come back to the winery (or have the wine shipped) when the wine is bottled, typically within 12-18 months. Many wines are so limited, buying futures is the only chance to purchase them. In addition to sampling wine from the barrel, most wineries also provide pours of a limited number of current release wines.

“Barrel Tasting is a time-honored tradition in Sonoma County and was one of the first of its kind in the United States,” says Beth Costa, Executive Director of Wine Road. “But more importantly, it really is an educational weekend where you learn about the work winemakers put in to their wines after harvest, but before the wine is bottled. This is your opportunity to invest in those hard to find, limited production wines, by buying futures”.

The event traces its origins to 1977 when the nine founding Wine Road wineries were searching for a way to bring visitors to the region during March, a typically slow month in the hospitality industry. The idea was hatched when they realized that much of their cellar work in the month of March was related to Barrels, and the rest is history. Even 41 years later the event continues to be successful, which speaks to its appeal amongst serious wine drinkers, as well as newbies looking to learn more about wine.                  

Tickets to the event can be purchased via Eventbrite and are $50 for the weekend, $40 for Sunday only, and $5 for designated drivers (plus taxes and fees).  Tickets to the Winemaker Breakfasts on Saturday, March 3 and March 10 are $20 and offer a casual morning of Q&A along with breakfast before heading out to Barrel Tasting. 


The Wine Road is a travel resource for those looking to visit the region, which is famous for its renowned wine producers and cuisine, scenic beauty, and wine country lifestyle. The association hosts three celebrated wine events throughout the year, “Winter WINEland” in January; “Barrel Tasting” in March; and “Wine and Food Affair” in November. Made up of 200 wineries and 54 lodgings throughout the Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River valleys in Sonoma County, something is always going on along the Wine Road. To plan your next trip, please visit: www.wineroad.com. For additional information, or to request a free map, call 800.723.6336 or via e-mail at [email protected], or visit the Wine Road on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

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