Find Your Happy in Mendocino County, sssh, the wine is talking in Mendocino County, California, Taste of Mendocino County

Find Your Happy in Mendocino County

By John Sundsmo.

The catchy logo of Mendocino County, “Find Your Happy,” was on display at the recent Taste of Mendocino  held at San Francisco’s Fort Mason. With vintners, fresh press olive oils, craft whiskey, goat cheeses, gourmet appetizers, coffee and luxurious resorts all competing for my attention, I soon found myself feeling quite happy. The venue provided a good opportunity to review some fine Mendocino County wines and upcoming events. In the interest of sharing the Mendocino “Happy” vibe, what follows is a list of some Taste of Mendocino participants (with links), along with wine tasting destinations and a short calendar of upcoming events in Mendocino County.  Hopefully, with the following tips, you too will “Find your Happy in Mendocino County.”

November 1, 2019. Mendocino County 100% Open for Business

Fresh press small lot olive oil

Stella Cadente in Fort Bragg offers handpicked Tuscan-style award-winning organic olive oils that rival the best Italian olive oils.

Stella Cadente Olive Oils, Mendocino to find your happy, Taste of Mendocino, Mendocino County, California
Stella Cadente Olive Oils

Mendocino Wine Tasting:

Bara Vineyards, Mendocino County, California, Redwood Valley AVA
Bara Vineyards

Barra Vineyards of Redwood Valley – Farming organic grapes since 1955, with Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Muscat Canelli vines on 175 acres at the headwaters of the Russian river.

Bee Hunter Wine -From those who will “always be huntin’ for organically grown, sustainable and biodynamic vineyards” with 2015 Docker Hill Pinot Noir, 2016 Mariah Vineyard Chardonnay and 2014 Oppenlander Pinot Noir.

Bee Hunter Wine, Mendocino County, California, Russian River Valley AVA
Bee Hunter Wine: Find Your Happy in Mendocino

Edmeades Vineyards of Anderson Valley  -Renowned mature vineyards on Mendocino Ridge offer up unique high quality Zinfandel for more than four decades from their Shamrock, Gianoli, Perli and Piffera vineyards.

Fathers + Daughters Cellars, Mendocino County, California, Anderson Valley AVA
Fathers + Daughters Cellars

Fathers + Daughters Cellars  -The family vineyard of patriarch Kurt Schoeneman, owner of Anderson Valley’s Ferrington Vineyard, with wines recognized by Wine Enthusiast in the February 2018 issue.

Greenwood Ridge Vineyards  -This small family owned winery in Philo, CA specializes in late harvest Riesling and Pinot Noir with annual production of less than 1500 cases; featuring an octagonal tasting room designed by Aaron G. Green, an associate of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Handley Cellars -Offering balanced distinctive wines with the varietal characteristics of the northwest Anderson Valley, the vineyards produce a special edition 2015 Blanc de Blancs as well as Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.

Harmonique  -A small lot vineyard with a tasting room in the John Hanes Art Gallery in Boonville,  serving gold medal winning Mondial du Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Artevino Maple Creek Winery -Located in Yorkville Highlands, making small lot wines in the French style with Bordeaux blends; 2015 Estate Chardonnay; 2009 Estate Merlot; and 2013-2014 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir.

Murder Ridge Winery  -Located on Mendocino Ridge with a distinct micro climate. Vines on Murder Ridge’s rugged steep hillsides produce unique Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.

Seebass Family Vineyards, Mendocino County, California
Seebass Family Vineyards

Seebass Family Vineyards  -Now nearly three decades under grape, the former 1800’s pear orchard boasts old vine Zinfandel grapes from the era of fine family-nurtured Mendocino wines in the Italian style. The 2014 Grand Reserve Syrah, 2011-2012 Grand Reserve Chardonnay, 2014 Grand Reserve Merlot all competed for my attention, but the 2011 Old Vine Zinfandel won.

Theopolis Vineyards  -A hand-crafted small lot winery in Yorkville Highlands of Anderson Valley with award winning Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir and “Symphony” a blend of Muscat and Grenache Gris.

Wilson Artisan Wineries  -Based in the Dry Creek Valley, the Wilsons now have 10 artisan wineries including: Wilson Winery, Mazzocco Sonoma Winery, deLorimier, Matrix, Soda Rock, Pezzi King Vineyards, St. Anne’s Crossing, Jaxon Keys, Greenwood Ridge and Rockpile Vineyards.

Anderson Valley goat cheese

Pennyroyal Farmstead Cheese  -Located near Boonville, the creamery tasting room offers seasonal small batch handmade aged cheeses from proprietary mixtures of sheep and goat milks.The cheeses are naturally low in fat.

Pennyroyal Farmstead Cheese, Boonville, Mendocino County, California
Pennyroyal Farmstead Cheese

Redwood Valley Distillery

American Craft Distillery  -In Redwood Valley, offerings include a clear whiskey, bourbon, Bavarian Hard Wheat whiskey and Russell Henry Gin.

Coffee Company in Fort Bragg

Thanksgiving Coffee Company  -In Fort Bragg since 1972, this roastery features Fair Trade sustainable organic coffees from farmer cooperatives in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Hawaii, Laos, Peru, Rwanda, Sumatra and Uganda. Ethically focused on improving the lives of family farmers, the company’s roasting output from Fort Bragg is about 550,000 pounds each year.

For day trips and weekend planning


Hopland Passport”  – food pairings, winemaker visits, garden tours, live music and award winning wines

Annual Rhododendron Show”  – Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in Fort Bragg

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, Fort Bragg, Mendocino County, California
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens: Find Your Happy in Mendocino

Anderson Valley Pinot Festival”  – winemaker dinners, Grand Tasting, technical conference and food pairings – Camp Navarro

Sierra Nevada World Music Festival”  – at Mendocino County Fairgrounds

World’s Largest Salmon BBQ”  – Noyo Harbor, Fort Bragg – all proceeds go to improve salmon populations on the Northern California Coast

Willits Frontier Days” – old fashioned rodeo, food, 1926 to 2020 – (see also “Willits Whistlestop Weekend)

Anderson Valley Barrel Tasting” – barrel tastings along Highway 128 at participating wineries with a chance to purchase wine futures for yet to be released vintages

Art in the Gardens” – Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, Fort Bragg

Winesong Weekend” – Pinot Noir Celebration.

Places to stay on Highway One near Fort Bragg

The Inn at Newport Ranch  -Located on the beautiful Highway One Coast overlooking the ocean, with coastal redwoods, horseback riding, spa, hiking and whale watching,  this small inn has recently been recognized by Conde Nast Traveler, the Wall Street Journal, Travel & Leisure. Plan ahead and book well in advance.

Inn at Newport Ranch, Fort Bragg, Mendocino County, California
Inn at Newport Ranch

Noyo Harbor Inn  -Overlooking Noyo harbor in Fort Bragg, the inn features walking trails to Noyo River and harbor; and dining at the Noyo Harbor Inn Restaurant.

Noyo Harbor Inn, Fort Bragg, Mendocino County, California
Noyo Harbor Inn

Little River Inn – Just 2 miles south of Mendocino Village on a bluff overlooking the sea at Van Damme State Park, Little River Inn restaurant, bar, and inn offers peace, tranquility, good food, and stupendous views of coastal sunsets.  See more in a companion article on this site entitled “In Mendocino, a Frolic on the Rocks“; and an article entitled “Indulge in a Getaway to Mendocino” by Lee Daley.

Little River Inn, Little River, Mendocino, California
Above, The Inn in the 1940s (Photo courtesy of Little River Inn); Below, a Painting of The Little River Inn

To further pursue your adventures on the northern California coast, visit the Mendocino County website for a complete list of events and activities.  Live large and have a “happy.” Click here for more articles by John.

For more California travel options see our California-Travel page. See this link for other Weekend Getaways. For more articles by John see his link.


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