Don’t expect much nightlife on Dry Creek. And the winemaking region’s “daylife” isn’t much livelier.
When Napa Valley thrust itself into the international wine conversation in the 1980s, Sonoma County winemakers enjoyed playing country rubes to Napa’s nouveau riche.
“Over in Sonoma, we’re just farmers,” they would say. Thirty years later, Dry Creek is still that way.[related]
The only thing hot on Dry Creek, it seems, are their wines — and they are just sizzling good.
Exhibit #1: zinfandel.
Exhibit #2: sauvignon blanc.
Exhibit #3: You’re invited to come check it out yourself.
And even though Dry Creek is certainly down-home country, hectare-for-hectare, there are probably more ex-techie winegrowers — who once carried electronic passes in Silicon Valley – now owning those homes than there are in Napa.
From mom-and-pop shops to palatial showplaces, there are about 71 wineries open for business on Dry Creek. Recently, I packed my camera, trip journal and tasting glass and headed west to knock on a few of those doors.
Like most Dry Creek wineries, West Wines — my first stop — has lots of vines on the valley floor. Owner Bengt Akerlind opened several bottles and gave me the keys to his guest house.
A tributary of the Russian River, Dry Creek is now a steady stream because its flow is controlled by Lake Sonoma, carved into the hills of Sonoma’s Coast Range.