Posts Categorized: Winery Spotlight

In the Vineyard with Richard Rued

In honor of upcoming Father’s Day, we decided to focus our In the Vineyard on a man with deep Dry Creek Valley roots, Richard Rued. On a perfectly sunny and breezy morning in June, we sat down with both him and his wife, Dee, at Rued Winery for an update on their vineyards and a deeper dive into his family’s history.

All About the Family: The Rueds

Steve (left), Paul (on tractor), Richard (back right), Tom (center) & Tyler (lab) Rued

Richard’s great-grandfather, Henry, first came to Northern California in the late 1800s from Switzerland, and planted grapes in Russian River Valley. Henry moved his entire family here in 1890 to a property in Alexander Valley. Both of these locations had vineyards, but were uprooted during Prohibition to plant mostly apples and prunes. The Alexander Valley property was also a small working dairy ranch and the perfect place to raise the Rued family.

It wasn’t until 1957 that the Rueds bought their first Dry Creek Valley property. Richard had taken this new property as a venture for FFA (Future Farmers of America) in High School by growing the family’s first Dry Creek Valley grapes.

Richard remembers getting off the bus from school and going straight to work on their ranch. It was his responsibility to bring in the sheep – a task that his father, Paul, would help him with in a slightly unconventional way. You see, on their property was a small airport. Paul would take Richard up in a plane to search for wherever the sheep were that day so that Richard could ride his horse directly to the flock and not have to spend hours searching. Richard still remembers the steep ascent fondly as time well spent with his dad.

Rued WineryRued Wines - Tasting Room

Both Richard and his wife, Dee, still live in Dry Creek Valley. They have two sons – Steve & Tom, who were both raised in the Valley and now work in the wine business. Tom works in the vineyards with Richard and Steve is the winemaker for the Rueds’ family label – Rued Winery. The label is relatively new with their first vintage in 2000 with their winery and tasting room opening just 10-years ago in 2006. Their wine is a testament to the family’s history of working the ground for many years and are true to the vineyard the grapes were grown in.

In a world of corporate wine – Richard and Dee believe that it’s just as important as ever to keep family wineries around. They both feel pressure as land values increase. The Rueds feel that small production, family style wine has a better value and tastes more authentic. Dee feels that it’s important for guests to see families with a deep history, someone who is living their passion as a way of means, and has been for years. “Most wineries in Dry Creek, when visitors show up, they can almost always talk to an owner, compared to Napa, where you’ll hardly ever see it,” says Richard. “People seem to enjoy talking to us.”

For more Dry Creek Dad’s – check out our Father’s Day blog!

In the Vineyard

In the Vineyard April to June

In Dry Creek Valley, the Rueds have 70 acres including: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, and Zinfandel which according to Richard are seeing a great year so far. This year the vines are really growing due to the increase of water they received during winter and the spring rains. The previous drought years were a means for concern, but this year’s growth is a great sign and gives Richard hope for the 2016 vintage.
“Vines are doing good. They look good!” states Richard. Blooms came a little quick this year, but Rued feels that the timing standard has been consistently inching earlier.  His Chardonnay vineyard, planted in 1990, just behind the tasting room, must be nearly 7-feet tall. Bunches of grapes are full and are starting to get tighter.


What’s next for these vines? The Rueds are anticipating an early harvest in August, but have fingers crossed for September. For these Sauvginon Blanc & Chardonnay grapes, they are harvested first and earliest in the day. White grapes due better when picked in cooler temperatures.

A very big thank you to Richard and Dee for taking the time to sit and talk with us about their family and vines. It’s members like these that make the Dry Creek Valley rich and rooted in values that we hold near and dear. And a very Happy Father’s Day to all!

For daily updates on all of our Dry Creek Valley wineries and vineyards, follow us on Instagram at @drycreekvalleywines and be sure to like us on Facebook @drycreekvalley to keep up to date on all that’s happening!



Passport to Dry Creek Valley Raffle

Join us in raising money for the Healdsburg Unified School District! This year we’re hosting a raffle to win amazing prize packages from our Passport wineries

100% of our donated dollars support two programs – training preschool teachers in the Healdsburg Unified School District and supporting Pasitos, which helps Spanish speaking children to be successful in school and provides parents with the tools to help maximize their impact on their children’s education. Last year, we raised more than $20,000 through our fundraising efforts and believe Passport is the perfect gateway to our biggest fans.

Raffle tickets are only $5 for 1 ticket, and $20 for 5 tickets. We’ll select winners on 4/27.

Prize packages feature large format bottles from your favorite wineries, bottles for your cellar and even tasting experiences and are an estimated value of $300! As more wineries donate items to the cause, we will add in more packages to accommodate our raffle demand. You do not need to attend Passport to purchase raffle tickets.

Buy your raffle tickets today!


Check out below for themes from our donating wineries and be sure to schedule a stop during your Passport Weekend:


Forchini Vineyards & Winery

Nothing is better than an Italian experience!  Your travel destination is Italy–welcome to “Under the Forchini Sun!”  In our garden enjoy stunning views and Italian melodies while sipping Papa Nonno, our Tuscan Red.  Chef Muir will serve Cannelloni stuffed with spinach and meat topped with two sauces.  End your Tuscan visit munching glazed chocolate bites, delicious with our Zinfandel and Cabernet.  Special Passport pricing.  Benevenuti a Forchini!


Collier Falls at Family Wineries

Join us for our Four Course Mediterranean Wine & Food Pairing. Zinfandel with Canneli Bean and Rocket Salad (Vegan) – Primitivo with Pasta with Sweet Italian Sausage, Artichokes, Roasted Garlic and Tomatos – Petite Sirah with Rustic Italian Braised Short Ribs – Cabernet Sauvignon with Blackberry Gelato and Collier Falls Raspberry Chocolate Sauce.  More Mediterranean wine selections from our 5 co-op wineries in our tasting room.


Seghesio Family Vineyards             

Get your Passport stamped at Seghesio Family Vineyards where you will be transported to the largest island in the Mediterranean… Sicily!! Just off the toe of Italy’s boot. Celebrate with us in our historic grove with live music, bocce ball, and of course a Sicilian inspired food and wine extravaganza!


Rued Winery                

Step back in time and experience Dry Creek Valley as it once was. The Rued Family invites you to join them in celebrating the rich agricultural history forged by the early settlers. Stroll through our country store, step up to the bar and sip our handcrafted wines, chow down at the cookhouse, tap your toes at the hoedown and enjoy our famous ice cream treats.


Pedroncelli Winery          

Pedroncelli is Bistro 1220 this year. Chef Brian Anderson, Bistro 29, will be creating Brittany-inspired fare to complement our wines. Bistro 29 hearkens to the Finistére, Department 29 in France, and is translated as Land’s End. Pedroncelli hails from the eastern-most area Department 1927 (our founding year). A perfect pairing. Featuring our favorite wines where you’ll enjoy a feast for all five senses!


West Wines

Grab your Passports and cruise back in time to the 60’s. American Graffiti comes to West Wines with fabulous cars, fun clothes, memorable rock ‘n’ roll and more! Savor our European-style wines next to our Certified Sustainable vineyards. Our small family winery specializes in Cabernet Sauvignon, French and Italian style red blends, crisp white Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier and dessert wine.


Comstock Wines 

As our estate vines begin to wake and the growing season begins, Comstock Wines celebrates all that is new this spring with fresh farm-to-table bites paired with special new release wines.  Fantastic food, fabulous wines and new friends – Comstock Wines can’t wait to celebrate spring and share our new winery with you!


Fritz Underground Winery

Ye outlanders are in for a treat.  Follow the bagpipes to the highlands of Dry Creek Valley and Fritz Underground Winery. Hidden away in the hillside of our 112 acre estate is our unique subterranean facility. Join the lads and lassies of the winery clad in their finest tartan as you feast on potato cakes with smoked salmon and herbed creme  fraiche with our Estate Sauvignon Blanc and a hearty beef stew with our  bonnie Estate Zinfandel. Aye. Ye Ken ye don’t want to miss it.


Cast Wines

Take in stunning views from our outdoor tasting terrace at one of Dry Creek’s newest wineries. Taste wines hand crafted by Mike Gulyash. We will be pouring our signature Sauvignon Blanc and Estate Grey Palm Zinfandel, followed by our robust 2013 Watson Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel. Pause for a moment in our relaxing setting, an oasis from the hustle and bustle of the day.


A. Rafanelli Winery

Take an early spring picnic with the Rafanelli Family into the countryside of Umbria.  Here you can “Pic Nic a Trevi” where  the olive and olive growing traditions are celebrated in this hillside town.  Delight in this spring time festival that fuses the flavors of olives and herbs with local foods.   Enjoy Italian inspired dishes prepared with our own olive oils and deliciously paired with our new wines.


Wilson Winery

Get your passport stamped at Wilson Winery as you travel to New Orleans for Mardi Gras!  Join the Wilson Krewe led by our Queen of Carnival, Diane, in a parade of gold medal-winning Zinfandels.  The party continues with authentic Cajun cuisine provided by Lisa Boisset of The Cook And The Drummer, and of course, musical entertainment from DJ FizNik Rick.  Laizzez les bons temps rouler!


Kachina Vineyards

Calling all foodies! We are serving up grilled cheesy goodness-Raclette and other specialty cheeses! Blissful days spent creating and perfecting THE best grilled cheesy goodness that pairs with our Bubbly and Cabernet! Unveiling our new Charbono release as well! No foodie experience is complete without dessert! Decadent dark chocolate port-infused truffles paired with out Zinfandel Port. A sweet ending to a foodie experience!


Mauritson Family Winery  

Winemaker Clay Mauritson’s superb Rockpile Zinfandels + chef Charlie Palmer’s sublime cuisine = a weekend of perfect wine and food pairings. Plus, don’t miss the highly anticipated release of our 2014 Charlie Clay Pinot Noir. Want signed bottles? Clay and Charlie will be happy to oblige.


Göpfrich Winery

Visit Göpfrich Winery ! This is one of the few times in the year that we are actually open to the public. We will be pouring our Dry Creek Valley Estate wines which are only available at the winery since there is no outside distribution of our wines. Enjoy the relaxing ambiance of a small family winery. Why not visit a little piece of Germany this weekend!


Nick Goldschmidt’s Salmons Leap Vineyard – Sunday Vineyard Tour

650 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg – begins promptly at 9:30a

Join Yolyn Goldschmidt, owner and president of Goldschmidt Vineyards, along with international winemaker Claudia Del Rio from Chile and Phil Enzenauer, a well-known Dry Creek Valley vineyard manager, for a tour of Salmons Leap Vineyard.

Along with the tour, Vineyard Manager Phil will discuss a variety of topics including establishing and managing vineyards throughout Dry Creek Valley, water shortage issues, the growing lack of farm labor, and the move to sustainable vineyard practices. Phil will talk about pruning on VSP versus split canopy, water usage, best practices during the growing season, the importance of berry size, and how proper viticulture practices can influence berry size.  Winemaker Claudia will compare and contrast grapes grown on this site to similar sites in the Alexander Valley. She will discuss wine differences from the two Sonoma County appellations (Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys) that Nick Goldschmidt and she oversee, and include a tasting of Nick’s wine produced in these appellations. Salmons Leap is one of several vineyards Nick and Yolyn Goldschmidt own throughout the world, giving Claudia a global perspective of viticulture and winemaking. With this view in mind, Claudia will discuss how the team produces the best possible fruit from this vineyard. To conclude, Yolyn will offer a special tasting of other Goldschmidt wines.

To sign up for this international perspective on the Goldschmidt’s Dry Creek Valley vineyards, please RSVP to Karen at [email protected]


Download 2016 Passport Map, Themes & Vineyard Tour Information.


Current prize packages* (each is an estimated $300 value):

#1 – For your collection a 2002 Hillside Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Magnum from Collier Falls, a bottle of Forchini Pinot Noir & a bottle of Rued Sauvignon Blanc.

#2 – A 2013 Old Vine Zinfandel Magnum by Seghesio Family Vineyards, Forchini Cabernet Sauvignon, Rued  Cabernet Sauvignon,  Mother Clone Zinfandel from J. Pedroncelli, a surprise bottle from Kachina Vineyards & a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from Comstock Wines.

#3 – A Magnum of 2013 Three Vineyards Cabernet from J. Pedroncelli, a bottle of Rued Zinfandel, Zinfandel from A. Rafanelli, a surprise bottle from Kachina Vineyards and a box set of 3 Wilson wines.

#4 – A Magnum from Cast Wines, a bottle of Rued Cabernet, Zinfandel from A. Rafanelli, a surprise bottle from Kachina Vineyards and complimentary tasting for 8 people at Fritz Underground Winery.

# 5 – A 2005 West Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Magnum, Rued Zinfandel, mystery bottle from Kachina Vineyards, a bottle of Zinfandel and tasting for 4 from our newest winery Comstock Wines.

#6 – A collectors magnum from Gopfrich of their 2007 Cabernet Reserve, 2 bottles from Kachina Vineyards with complimentary wine and truffle tasting for 4, a bottle Grey Palm Estate Zinfandel from Cast, and a bottle of Forchini’s Beausierra Bordeaux blend.

#7 – A Vineyard Tour Inspired Prize Package: A magnum of Mauritson’s Rockpile Zinfandel, a bottle of West Wines West Crest Cuvee, a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from Cast and a large format bottle of 2011 Cabernet from Forefather’s Wine (Goldschmidt’s Vineyards).

Each prize package is an est. $300 value. Packages may vary slightly and will be updated to include new donations.


Tickets are $5 for 1 ticket and $20 for 5 tickets.

Visit Raffle River to purchase your raffle tickets today!


*Actual Prize Packages may vary slightly from description but will still hold an estimated $300 value.

Winery Spotlight – Michel-Schlumberger Winery

There is no shortage of stunning wineries to visit in Dry Creek Valley. Located just 10 minutes from downtown Healdsburg, Michel-Schlumberger Estate and Winery is one of the most visually striking, with architecture reminiscent of the Old World and the Spanish architecture of early California history.


Winery Spotlight: Stephen & Walker Winery

Stephen & Walker Winery

One of the pleasures of visiting Dry Creek Valley is that several of our more than sixty wineries are located right in downtown Healdsburg, in walking distance of many local hotels. Since 2004, Stephen & Walker Winery has wowed visitors in town with their premium artisanal wines.


Winery Spotlight: Rued Winery

Winery Spotlight: Rued Winery

Rued Winery
Dry Creek Valley’s Rued Winery is a family operation through and through; the Rued family has been farming in Sonoma County for six generations, since 1876. The Rueds were a grape growing family in Switzerland, so it was a natural fit when Henry Rued moved to Northern California and began working for the Beringer Brothers in Napa Valley. In 1882, Henry Rued planted his own vineyard.


Winery Spotlight: Geyser Peak Winery

Geyser Peak Winery


It’s been just over a year since Geyser Peak Winery moved from Alexander Valley–where it had been since 1880–to its current location on Westside Road. We are thrilled that they have chosen Dry Creek Valley as their new home.


Spotlight: Lambert Bridge Winery

Lambert Bridge Winery

Lambert Bridge Winery is named for C.L. Lambert, who in 1915 built a ranch and the trestle bridge you take today if you traverse from Dry Creek Road to West Dry Creek Road via Lambert Bridge Road. The winery opened in 1975, during the first wave of premium post-Prohibition wineries in Dry Creek Valley. Today it is owned by Patti Chambers, whose family acquired the winery in 1993. The tasting room is a majestic-yet-welcoming room with a high ceiling made from local redwood and a stone fireplace that ensures a cozy environment year round.


Get to Know Rancho Maria Family Vineyard


Rancho Maria Family Vineyard is an 18-acre estate in Dry Creek Valley with 13 planted acres of zinfandel and petite sirah. Monty and Stella Hansen bought their property in the early 1960s, which sits on a western-facing hillside next door to Maple Vineyard, but the land had been home to grapes long before the Hansens settled there.


New Video – Dry Creek Valley’s Women of Wine

New Video – Dry Creek Valley’s Women of Wine

Dry Creek Valley is pleased to celebrate the many talented women in our winemaking community.  Check out our latest video below, featuring women from 15 wineries in our AVA.  To see all our latest videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel and be sure to follow us on Facebook!

Dry Creek Valley Spotlight: Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery

Dry Creek Valley Spotlight: Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery

winemakers and owners of Ferrari Carano winery

Late fall and winter is a great time to visit Dry Creek Valley. The air is crisp and the bare grapevines provide starkly beautiful scenery. A hearty zinfandel or a juicy red blend tastes as delicious as ever when it’s cold outside. Perhaps best of all, tasting rooms are quieter than in summer months, which means visitors can count on a highly personalized experience. Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery, one of the busiest tasting rooms in the Valley, is an especially great stop to make on your journey. This month, we’re putting the spotlight on a Sonoma mainstay. (more…)