The River Road Wine Trail continues to expand with merry destinations, bringing more places to explore, and more ways to visit the wineries you already know and love. Over the years, it’s been gratifying to see all the winery signs popping up along this bucolic byway that bisects the benchlands of the Santa Lucia Highlands mountains as they give way from grapes to row crops.
It wasn’t all that long ago when there were barely enough wineries to qualify as a “trail,” but the stalwart pioneers, including Hahn, Paraiso, Pessagno and Scheid still remain, more recently joined by Manzoni, Puma Road and Odonata. Time certainly flies, and change is inevitable, many times for the better. Remember Hammond Cellars? Ventana? You never know what might come to pass.
Speaking of changes, according to newly appointed River Road Wine Trail president, winemaker Denis Hoey of Odonata, there are two new trail members to explore as well.
“We now have both Michaud Wines and Chalone Vineyards as part of the trail now,” says Hoey, who was serving as vice-president of the Trail when former president Laura Lee Anzivino decided to move on, inheriting her position. “We are very pleased to have them, as they are an important part of the local Monterey County story.”
Hoey says both new members will participate in the upcoming Valentine’s Passport event, a crowd favorite for going on 12 years now. Michaud will be pouring at Scheid, while Chalone will be hosted at Hahn.
The River Road Wine Trail invites you to purchase tickets early for this much-loved “sweetheart of all wine tastings,” which will be held the Saturday before Valentine’s Day, February 9th, 2019, from 11am—4pm. This event will sell out, so secure your tickets now, to avoid disappointment.
At $50 per ticket, this unparalleled event provides attendees with a souvenir glass, a baguette from Bakers of Paris and chocolates from local favorite, Marich Chocolates. Each winery location will have special discounts and some small bites to pair with wines. Some locations may have food for purchase as well.
Visit all 7 locations, get your passport stamped at each one, and turn in your completely stamped book at the last winery you visit and be entered to win the annual raffle, for a valuable and coveted prize.
Valentine’s Passport winery locations for 2019 include: Odonata, Pessagno, Manzoni, Puma Road, Hahn, Smith, and Scheid. Chalone will be at Hahn, and Michaud Vineyard will pour at Scheid.
Specify which winery you wish to check in to begin your Valentine’s tasting adventure when you purchase your tickets at Cellar Pass. Designated Driver tickets are also available for $25. Please note that groups must choose the same check-in location. Buy Valentine’s Passport here.
The Roving River Road Wine Tasting Pass Is the Perfect Year ‘Round Gift
But wait, there’s more! Introduced a year ago, the Roving River Road Wine Tasting Pass lets you visit any of the wineries that are members of the Trail for one year, beginning with date of purchase. Passes may be purchased for only $55, now through the end of December, 2019. That’s right, it’s a pass you can use any day at Hahn or Scheid, and any day the other trail member wineries are open throughout the entire year.
Each Roving Pass entitles the bearer to one tasting flight at each of the 9 wineries of the River Road Wine Trail, including Odonata, Pessagno, Manzoni, Puma Road, Hahn, Smith Family, Scheid, Chalone, and Michaud. Passes are valid at Salinas Valley locations only (i.e., not in Carmel-by-the-Sea or Carmel Valley.) Check each winery’s website for hours of operation. There is no cash value, and all sales are final and cannot be returned or exchanged. Pass is valid for one year from purchase date.
The Roving Tasting Pass is a great way to give the gift of delicious wines, gorgeous scenery and plenty of girls or guys days out in a single package. Each pass is a $150 value and on sale for only $55! Buy Roving River Road Tasting Pass here.
Holiday Gift idea! Buy a Valentine’s Passport or a Roving Passport for that special someone. All Passports can be purchased using Cellar Pass. Don’t forget to buy one for yourself, too. Giving is the best revenge.
Laura Ness is a longtime wine journalist, columnist and judge who contributes regularly to Edible Monterey Bay, Spirited, WineOh.Tv, Los Gatos Magazine and Wine Industry Network, and a variety of consumer publications. Her passion is telling stories about the intriguing characters who inhabit the fascinating world of wine and food.