Updated: Jan 12
Through the Redwood forest, over the troll bridge, past the gum drop meadow, under the twirly-swirly grape vines, hitch a ride on a fairies back, then knock three times on the hobbit door, drink the red potion and BAM! You’ve arrived.
So maybe you’ll want to double check my directions with Google Maps…but really…the drive to this appointment only Guerneville Winery is a must.
Located about 10 minutes from downtown Guerneville, 9 miles east of the ocean.
Enjoy the pretty drive on Mays Canyon Rd. before arriving at this small family owned winery.
You’re in coastal Russian River Valley wine country.
In 1980, the Bass family purchased the rundown century old 25 acre vineyard.
Surrounded by dense Redwood forests.
They arduously restored eroded, depleted soil overgrown with blackberries and poison oak.
Luke, with dad, Dirck, and mom, Sue, launched Porter Bass production in 2001.
Most of the original Zinfandel was replanted; only a small block of original Zin vines were kept.
To enhance the soil, biodynamic and organic farming boosts the health of the vines.
Daily tastings by appointment only
The tasting sanctuary is under a beloved walnut tree in front of the family home.
Sipping views include lush vineyard, shiny wine making equipment, and Redwood groves.
Tasting fee: $10 pp, waived with purchase of a bottle of wine.
Kid friendly and dog friendly.
Unable to accommodate groups of 8 or more.
All wines, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Zinfandel are produced from the estate vineyard.
Wine Prices: Average in the $40 range.
At a very young age Luke Bass was introduced to winemaking.
With his UC Santa Cruz economics degree, he worked in the wine industry world wide.
Now Luke Bass, makes the wine and farms the Porter-Bass property.
Farming challenges include thin soil over blue shale and also scarce water.
Dedication to the complex system of composting brings animal energy for soil fertility.
He prides himself in using minimal machinery in the wine process and gravity flow method.
French Oak rather than American Oak, and he prefers indigenous yeast.
Red grapes are not crushed, the whole berry is fermented slowly, to preserve freshness.
Grapes are picked earlier for lower alcohol.
Luke says, “The wines should be about the place, not the process.”