BYOB and barrel tasting at foothills wineries

Italy is a wine-lover’s paradise and locals buy it on tap (“alla Spina”), bringing their own bottle and filling it themselves at the winery.

Sierra Knolls’ Bear River Tasting Room offers a “refillable bottle” option for red (a blend of Primativo, Barbera and Sangiovese) and white (a blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc) in one litre bottles. Customers return their empties to the tasting room, and Sierra Knolls exchanges them with bottles filled at the winery.

Pilot Peak now has a BYOB wine called “Zamore.” It is refillable in Peak “Prowlers” (for growlers). The red wine is a blend of Barbera, Syrah, Primitivo and Cabernet Franc.

Barrel Tasting
This is a unique opportunity to sample wine straight from the barrel before it is finished. It gives you a chance to learn how wine ages. The wine is drawn from the barrel with a long glass tube, or “thief,” and poured into your glass by the winemaker.

Barrel tasting is fun. Try Bent Metal, Montoliva, Nevada City Winery, Pilot Peak and Solune. We recommend calling ahead to make arrangements. The harvest season is an ideal time to enjoy a barrel tasting experience. Bring a picnic to the winery.

A Vineyard Rises
Sierra Starr is expanding its estate vineyards in Grass Valley. It has planted Semillon, Rielsing, Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah and Alicante Bouchet. The winery expects to begin harvesting the newly planted grapes in about three years. The original vineyard was planted in 1979 and 1980 and additional acreage was planted in 1998, 2000, 2006 and 2007. The Starr family farms about 12 acres of fruit.

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