The Traveling Steve's

Platypus Tours thru the Russian River Valley

On our first full day in Sonoma (Friday) we took another Platypus Tour, this time thru the northern part of Sonoma thru the Russian River Valley. As this area is a bit further and rural than most people visit and the demand is less than the closer vineyards, Platypus only offer this tour on the weekends, which worked out well for us this trip as we were here over Super Bowl weekend.

We had a small breakfast at our hotel, The Inn at Sonoma, which was included with the room rate. While I had yogurt and berries, I didn’t care for the freshly made quiche and breakfast potatoes or similar each day. I don’t eat eggs, and didn’t want to “carb out” on the potatoes and pastries, but fortunately brought a couple granola power bars with me each day. I think the Inn’s breakfast was trying to be California wine country trendy like at a bed and breakfast, but it wasn’t for DOS or me. DOS wrote on the comment card to the Four Sister’s owners, that ‘Sister’s have Brothers too, and the men like breakfast meats and not so much girly quicker! ? The coffee and orange juice were good though!

Anyway we got picked up a bit earlier than normal for Platypus, 9:30am, as the drive up to Healdsburg and beyond was at least a 1/2 hour drive. We were the first pickup (our group today was for six people) and our driver arrived 10 minutes early. We were ready to go due to the small breakfast, and when we went out to meet the driver, we saw that it was Jason, our driver from one of the other Platypus trips we took last week in Napa! Jason was a lot of fun, and of course remembered us from just a few days ago.

We traveled on up towards Healdsburg to pick up the other two couples, and were ready for our day of wine touring and lunch. We had not been to any of the wineries we visited today, and as always, Platypus does a great job in their choice of wineries to visit; typically boutique wineries were you get a much more personal touch, many times with the owners themselves or family members.

Our first winery was Due Ruscelli. The owner-wife had studied wine making in Italy, and the wines they make are Italian inspired from the primitivo grape. I was not familiar with that varietal, but it’s actually in the Zinfadel family, and is a full-bodied grape with lots of tannins, and the wines usually yield a higher alcohol content. It is sometimes referred to as California Zinfadel. Here is a gallery of our visit to Due Ruscelli.

The next winey we visited was Notre Vue. Notre Vue sat up on the mountainside in the Chalk Valley region of Sonoma, and like its name, really had a speculator view. We enjoyed our wine tasting outdoors overlooking the valley below, and had a picnic lunch as well, courtesy of Platypus. Here is a gallery of Notre Due winery and vineyards.

Our final stop of the day, was Campana Ranch Winery. This rustic winery sits on an outdoor ranch, where in addition to making wine with her husband, Steve, the owner’s wife, Sher, is a horse trainer by profession. On arrival to the winery, we were met by the owner, Steve, and one of his friendly dogs. The tasting room was an a covered outdoor venue, and we enjoyed our wine sampling at an umbrella-shaded setting overlooking the ranch. Like the other wineries we visited, we had an enjoyable tasting here, and even got to meet one of the 10 horses they have on property there as well as another one of their dogs. Before leaving, we purchased 1/2 a case of red wine, and arranged to have it shipped home. Here is a gallery of Campana Ranch Estate Winery.

We then took our Platypus tour bus for the journey home to our hotel in Sonoma, dropping off the other passengers along the way.

Back at the hotel, we gathered our belongings and purchases from the day and relaxed a bit at the Inn before walking to dinner at the nearby The Red Grape Restaurant in the Square. DOS and I each had our own nice and hearty pizza, although we ended up boxing the remainder we obviously couldn’t finish to go.

After dinner, we then walked back to the Inn, and slept well after yet another fun-filled day touring with Platypus Tours.

To close out this post, here’s a photo of our driver Jason with us taken earlier in the day. Thanks Jason for such a wonderful tour today, as well as last week in Napa!

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