An oasis from Napa’s glitz and glamour, this is the wine region to visit for unpretentious dining, redwood forests and excellent Pinot Noir, says Stephen Brook, who shares his Anderson Valley travel guide.
Anderson Valley travel guide: My perfect day
Awake at the Boonville Hotel, grab a coffee at the bar, then head for a more substantial breakfast at the General Store over the road. Head south to visit the Foursight tasting room then the Pennyroyal Creamery for excellent goat and sheep cheese that you can taste with Pennyroyal’s own wine. North of Boonville visit the four tasting rooms at The Madrones (open from 11am).
Continue to Philo to lunch at Libby’s (open Tuesday to Saturday), a long-established Mexican restaurant that’s popular with the locals, especially for its carnitas. Alternatively you can head back to Boonville and eat salads or sandwiches at one of the many cafés such as Mosswood Market.
Just south of Boonville, on the corner of the road to Ukiah, is the Anderson Valley Brewing Co. Aim to get here by 1.30pm when a tour is offered (no reservations required), plus a tasting of its large range of beers, from IPA ales to heavier Belgian-style and flavoured brews. To walk off any excess consumption, drive past Philo, then left on Greenwood Road to the Hendy Woods State Park. Walking trails take visitors to imposing stands of ancient redwoods, and the Navarro River flows through the park so you can take a dip in its bathing holes. Then continue north on Highway 128 to the Navarro tasting room to sample its splendid wines. Close by, you can relax in the gardens at Roederer with a glass of fine fizz.
Evening and overnight
Continue north on Highway 128 another 25km through magnificent redwood forests until you emerge onto cliffs overlooking the Pacific. Continue to Albion for happy hour at the Albion River Inn. The hotel has a magnificent Californian and international wine list, but head back to Boonville for dinner. Table 128 is a prix-fixe dinner at the Hotel Boonville, but the generous, locally sourced plates at Aquarelle over the road are a less formal alternative. Sleep either at the hotel or a bit further north at The Madrones, tranquil and luxurious suites at affordable prices.