In the past year, just a few blocks east of Main Street, a spectacular 220,000-square-foot culinary and art center opened. Called the Barlow, and created in part from repurposed apple processing warehouses, the development is striking and beautiful. Think of San Francisco’s Ferry Building, only with more artwork. It is home to winemakers, brewers, distillers, artists, a community market, street fairs, farmers markets and a soon-to-be-opened hotel.
There are four wine tasting rooms open; La Follette, Wind Gap, MacPhail and Marimar. We tasted Greg La Follette’s acclaimed chardonnays and pinot noirs for the first time, and that alone will get us back for a visit. Two breweries and a distillery are open for tasting. The Woodfour Brewing Co. has an excellent restaurant that serves lunch and dinner. Unfortunately for us, Zazu Kitchen + Farm was closed. It’s considered to be one of the best restaurants in Sonoma County and we missed it. Well, we’ll be back to taste, eat and maybe even stay in the new hotel. To find out more about the Barlow go to www.thebarlow.net.
Taste Route 116
I suggest you pack a picnic. If you forgot, look for Andy’s Produce Market, just north of Sebastopol on 116. In business for 50 years, it’s the only produce market I’ve seen with five checkout registers. They carry everything, and I mean everything. All the wineries have beautiful picnic spots, but Hanna Vineyards on Occidental Road would be my first choice. I’m happy we spent a day wine tasting on Route 116. I think you will be too. Just don’t tell anyone.
What’s on our table: The 2012 Waterbrook Sangiovese Rosé is a steal at just $5.99 at the Grocery Outlet. A new G.O. will be opening soon on West Main in Turlock. Cheers!