By Joe Kukura
Wine awards and distinctions are pouring in for Marin County, making the Northern California getaway spot an up-and-coming wine destination.
You may not think of Marin County as wine country, but that might be about to change. In 2018 Marin was awarded with the most prestigious recognition a wine-producing region can receive: the northern part of Marin County was named a distinct American Viticultural Area (AVA) called the Petaluma Gap.
When a wine-growing region is named as an AVA, a much greater pedigree is associated with that area’s wines. And that pedigree is richly deserved among Marin County wineries.
“Local winemakers have long known that grapes grown in the Petaluma Gap ripen more slowly than in surrounding regions, allowing later harvest times, which results in more complex flavor development while preserving natural acidity,” Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance board president Rickey Trombetta said in a press release last December. “With today's finalization of the AVA, wine lovers and members of the wine trade will have the opportunity to become more familiar with the distinctive quality and flavor profile of Petaluma Gap wines.”
Marin County wineries were also awarded in the world’s largest competition of American wines. The annual San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition winners list was just released, and Marin County’s McEvoy Ranch’s 2014 Red Piano Syrah was named a best syrah/shiraz in the $33–$36.99 category. You can enjoy the distinctive notes of brandied cherries, plums and bramble berries in this awarded syrah yourself, as McEvoy Ranch offers workshops, tours and tastings by appointment.
Marin County Wineries
McEvoy Ranch isn’t the only premier winery to tour and enjoy in Marin County. Novato’s Trek Winery has both a tasting room and a full winery estate that’s available for private gatherings, weddings and other large events. Having been named best local winery by Marin’s Pacific Sun, Trek Winery is also an entertainment hotspot with a live events calendar full of music, comedy and “sipping and painting” nights for the wine-loving artist.
In the charming town of Point Reyes Station, Heidrun Meadery will give you a new perspective on what wine can be. Heidrun Meadery makes mead, a sparkling, champagne-style honey wine whose aromatic bee honey is farmed on the premises. Numerous varieties of mead are served in both indoor and outdoor garden tasting rooms, and tours of the estate (and beehives!) are available by reservation on Saturdays and Sundays.
Marin County Dining
Marin County food and wine pair perfectly as the region is a leader in the locally grown, farm-to-table food movement. The restaurants featured here work directly with local farms and purveyors to bring fresh ingredients to prepare in their kitchens, and then to showcase on their menus for their guests to enjoy along with paired wines.
Farmshop Marin is a culinary beacon on the bay sitting a stone's throw from the Larkspur Landing ferry dock offering up a full-flavored experience with style, finesse and comfort. Il Davide is considered one of the best Italian restaurants in Marin, located i nSan Rafael. The restaurant's extensive wine list, primarily Californian and Italian, has received and maintains a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. Novato’s Wildfox Restaurant, with an incomparable California wine country-focused list, specializes in gourmet American cuisine, served in a gorgeous hillside setting. The William Tell House, nestled between the California Coastline's fishing community and West Marin's Agriculture and Dairy Communities, is perched in Northern California's land of harvest and hosts wines to complement any meal.
You can also make your whole day a wine excursion with a Marin County wine tour from West Marin Food and Farm Tours.
You’ll hear it through the grapevine that Marin County is an emerging wine destination with an exceptional bouquet of wineries and magnificent wine restaurants. Uncork a wine getaway to Marin County, where the wine, cuisine and scenery are of an outstanding vintage.
For all you need to plan your Marin County vacation, visit the Marin Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website or Facebook page.