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Porter Bass Winery

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

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.”

  • Biodiversity is important to the balanced ecosystem of the farm so…..

  • Critters on the farm include chickens, pigs, sheep, and ducks and geese like the pond.

  • The wine label design honors the farm habitat.


  • Luke’s dad, Dirck, an architect and artist, created the label design.

  • Luke’s mom, Sue, is represented by the busy bee.

  • She can be found driving the tractor in the vineyard.

  • Dirk represents the creative, musical grasshopper.

  • It depicts the balance needed in winemaking “ between hard work and creativity.”’

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