Last Saturday was the annual Permaculture Festival and Potluck at the Zeni Ranch. Located 15 miles down Fish Rock Road and high up on a ridgetop between Mendocino and Sonoma Counties, the Zenis have been working this land for well over 100 years. One of the great things about this continuity is that a discussion with any Zeni about sustainable farming and perennial agricultural systems is usually bolstered by stories of moonshining and revenuers.
One of the tedious tasks of being an innkeeper is selecting the wines to pour during the evening wine hour. This involves sampling countless wines at numerous tastings. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
This past weekend, the 11th annual Pinot Noir festival was held in the Anderson Valley. The only festival of its kind to celebrate a single varietal from a single appellation, the event kicked off with a technical conference and a barbecue at Standish Vineyards on Friday. On Saturday, a Grand Tasting featuring over 30 wineries was held at Goldenye. Following that event, 6 separate winemaker dinners were held at venues throughout the region. The festival concluded on Sunday with open houses at most of the vineyards throughout the valley.
The spectacular weather, combined withe the opportunity to sample close to 100 different pinots, made this a memorable weekend. I thought it was interesting that there were winemakers from not just Anderson Valley, but from Napa, Sonoma and other regions pouring wines they produced from grapes grown in our valley. In talking with a number of these wineries, I learned that Anderson Valley yields some of the finest pinot grapes in the world.