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Visiting an Organic Winery

November 30th, 2011 • by Sandy Zimmerman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 (Photos by Sandy Zimmerman)

Whenever you are near Northern California’s wine country it is time to visit one of the 350 wineries!

I stayed at the Farmhouse Inn, in Forestville, a great location for a quick 15- minute drive to the Michel-Schlumberger Benchland Wine Estate close to Sonoma.  Michel-Schlumberger is an organic winery with an entirely different approach to growing grapes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Morris, Vice President of Marketing and Direct Consumer Sales, walked with me on a tour of the vineyards. “In organic farming everything is about building soil health and building nutrients in the soil naturally. Instead of using pesticides or herbicides, our winery uses nature in planting, farming and a lot of different ways.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  


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Visiting an Organic Winery (Continued)

 

Jim Morris, Vice President of Marketing and Direct Consumer Sales, walked with me on a tour of the vineyards. "In organic farming everything is about building soil health and building nutrients in the soil naturally. Instead of using pesticides or herbicides, our winery uses nature in planting, farming and a lot of different ways.

In the spring we bring in a herd of about 30 sheep, they are our lawn mowing crew and never complain. The sheep eat about an acre-and-a-half a day. They are amazing at fertilizing and aerating the soil and keeping the lawn down in the cover crops. Even the cover crops we plant in the middle rows are all nitrogen rich row crops that break down naturally and add nutrients to the soil. We have 15 varietals planted in the hills behind us on 87 of 100 acres."

I enjoyed tasting a few of the Cabernet grapes right off the vines just two weeks before the harvesting. 

We entered the wineries' beautiful hacienda and into the Tasting Room. Instead of standing at a bar as many of the other wineries did, their red Tasting Room had paintings and looked more like a fine restaurant.   

 Winery, vineyard tours and Wine Tastings are held every day from 11 am to 2 pm. As Jim explained,  "Michel-Schlumberger winery is known for our tours and tastings.

We like people to see what we do and consider ourselves the white linen table cloth of wineries. You can choose wines from a menu. 

Organic farming is more difficult working with the soil and animals than the traditional way."

Call the Michel-Schlumberger Wine Estate for information, (800)-447-3060.  www.michelschlumberger.com 

PLACES TO STAY

The Farmhouse Inn is near Napa (30 minutes) and Sonoma's (20 minutes) Wine Country and arrange Wine Tours and Tastings. They are 30 miles from the Santa Rosa Airport and 2 hours from the San Francisco airport. For information, call (800)-464-6642.     www.farmhouseinn.com

VISIT CALIFORNIA

Perhaps no other state has a greater variety of outdoor activities for kids than California. From the endless coastline to the state's extensive state park system-and of course, more national parks, monuments, and wilderness areas than any other state-California will keep your active child on the go.

Start, like many people do, at Yosemite National Park. Yosemite is full of family-centric activities, from Yosemite High Sierra Camps to Yosemite Trails Pack Station trail rides. Or if your kids are fond of the ocean, you won't need to coax them in the water at one of California's best swimming beaches.  

Make sure to visit some of the state's unique outdoor attractions, Fort Bragg's Skunk Train, which wends through the majestic North Coast redwoods.

Find yourself amid the nature preserves, forests and rugged trails of California's North Coast and you'll also discover artist enclaves, fine dining and music festivals. The giant tree you can drive through near Redwoods State Park is one of the area's most famous landmarks, as are the wineries of Sonoma County.

Save on your next family-fun vacation with California Fun Spots, offering downloadable coupons on attractions throughout the Golden State, from theme parks, zoos, aquariums and museums to all sorts of other adventures!     www.visitcalifornia.com