A Barrel of Fun

By Kate Riley March 8, 2010

With all the rain we’ve had lately, the weekend sunshine convinced us to forget all of our obligations, and get out and have some real fun.  The Mister and I took off for Dry Creek Road in Healdsburg to mix and mingle with friends and the rest of the tourists who journeyed to Barrel Tasting Weekend in Wine Country !

barrel tasting sign

Barrel Tasting Weekend is an annual tradition where visitors are offered a pour straight from the barrel before the wine is bottled.  Many times the winemaker is on scene to educate and answer questions.   Everyone is so friendly and social, smiling from ear to ear.  But I’m thinking that has a lot to do with the scenery and free flowing wine.  :-)

barrel pour

The drive out to visit all these wineries never disappoints, spring through fall.

dry creek vineyard

dry creek valley tree

 vineyards and flowers

 lambert bridge

I don’t know if there is anything more charming than a white farmhouse with a wrap around porch.  I made Mr CG stop just so I could take a picture of this ‘dream’ house.  I think if I lived here, I’d just never leave.  *Sigh*.

white farmhouse

We stopped first at Lambert Bridge Winery in Dry Creek Valley.  Call me crazy, but I really want a truck just like this to call my own – not to haul barrels, but all that furniture from thrift stores !

lambert truck

I made friends with the resident pooches. 

lambert pups Such sweet faces !

Then I spotted this original candelabra – an old vine dipped in silver.  Mega cool. 

silver wine branch

I love how so many wineries have dogs and cats, sometimes chickens and roosters, wandering the property.  There’s something about these critters that feels so welcoming !  I made this feline friend at Rafanelli Winery.

rafanelli kitty cg


We visited one of my top five favorite wineries, Ferrari-Carano

ferrari carrano

I adore this formal French inspired facade. 

ferrari carano and dancer


There is an upstairs tasting room where I spied this beautiful pottery.  I love the urn, and those candlesticks ?  Be mine please. 

fc pottery

Also another grapevine branch candelabra, this time a blanched version.  Such a cool centerpiece ! 

grapevine candelabra

Downstairs is the super chic modern tasting room Enoteca, nothing like the light and bright upstairs tasting room.   

enoteca exterior

Rich wood tones and glamorous black barstools with gold detail. 

barstools at ferrari carano

Arched ceilings, troweled walls, and glossy black paneling and chandeliers. 

enoteca interior

Once you escape the tasting rooms, you must walk the grounds – they’re enchanting.  Ferrari-Carano is famous not only for their wines, but their gardens as well.  

ferarri carano front

Today the tulips put on quite a show !

pink tulips at ferrari carano

The daffodils had their own exhibition. 


Not to be outdone by the magnolia blossoms.



In welcome contrast to the formality of Ferrari-Carano, we ended our afternoon at the locals’ favorite watering hole, the Dry Creek General Store where you can buy sandwiches, sample cheeses, and hang out along the covered porch. 

dry creek general store 

dry creek general store porch

No city slickers here – only loud country music and good times !   

dry creek general store bar

Well that’s not entirely true. . . 

tourists sign

Any place that serves wine and cheese along with beer and chips is our kind of place. 

wine and cheese

James Joyce once said, “What is better than to sit at the end of a day and drink wine with friends?”

To tell you the truth, I’m not really sure.  :-)


  1. I am dying over here! The scenery is gorgeous. Oooh and the white house, I could retire there with a glass of wine near some good friends. I do have to say though, the grape tree branch candleabra would be perfect anywhere in my house. Looks like you had “The Perfect Weekend”.

  2. OMG my heart went pitty patty very fast at the sight of the gorgeous scenery you’ve shown. Plus that farmhouse is oh so beautiful. Like you I’d stay home there all the time. I would be lounging on that porch all summer long with iced sweet tea and a good book.

  3. Okay, so I’m glad that you had fun drinking wine and looking at beautiful decor, but I am seriously jealous of the TULIPS!!! The snow is just finally starting to melt here now. Tulips are a long way off. One of these days I’m going to show up on your doorstep and never leave.

  4. Add “and eat chocolate” to that Joyce quote, and I think he had it right. ;)

    Your photos are just stunning!!! Love the shots of the blossoms. I always make new furry friends too. They make a place seem friendlier, I think. :)

    I love these kinds of posts. I’ve never been to California, but your posts are always so great that I feel like I have visited. :)

  5. MY kind of day! PERFECTION. I love touring wineries…I’ve even got my own grapes growing in my back yard! Have you tried growing your own yet? I bet you’re thinking…aren’t you!? lol

  6. Visiting the wine country is on the top of my to-do list! You’re so lucky you live so close & get to enjoy it often :)

  7. I pretended like i was there with you while and read the post and I think I have a little buzz lol. it looks like you had a great time!

  8. looks like someone had a great and inspiring weekend. Your photos are wonderful and make me long for warmer weather.

  9. What a beautiful post. I don’t drink wine, but would go just for the scenery. Thank you for the magnolia blossom picture, they’re my favorite!

  10. Great post! I loved all the animals! I just thought I should mention that right now Marshall’s (at least in Central Cali) they have a bunch of grapevines and I think some are even candelabras! Shoudl check it out!

  11. Looks like you had a great time. I love that area!! My sister is a member at Ferrari-Carano and we always have a good time there!

  12. I’m going to have to take a drive over there. I’d love to paint some pictures of the wineries. The Ferrari architecture is wonderful! And the flowers are beautiful.
    I’ve never even driven around here (Sacramento). In the outlying counties we have tons of wineries too.
    But a day trip to the coast sounds much more inviting!

  13. Hey I just wanted to let you know that I love your articles. It is so great seeing you make time to do the things I wish I could make time for! As a business owner and mother of two young “active” boys it can be hard. I think I love your articles so much because I see someone like myself who loves all things “beautiful.” Not to mention the thrifter at heart that I am. I love giving things renewed life. And your projects have been inspiring. We are in the process of buying a new home and I look forward to applying all that inspiration to it. Oh and your wonderful articles about the beautiful area in which you live and all those wineries! I love wine! In fact this article has got me all excited about my vacation with my husband next week at the Vino Bello in Napa. Thanks for bringing sunshine to our days w/ your inspiring and beautiful articles!

  14. Oh, I am soooo jealous. And, I LOVED Rafanelli when we were out there. The owner gave us an impromptu tour of the cave and the power went out while we were down there! It was quite an experience. Great pinots too. :) I would so love to move to Sonoma County…

  15. Wow. This is why people live in Cali. Your weekend looks absolutely lovely and reminds me of how much fun I had 2 weekends ago in San Diego (documented on my blog of course!).

    That black chandelier was so dramatic. Not my taste, but really interesting to look at. I love your photos! And I’m totally envious of a bar with good wine and cheese alongside beer and chips. That does not coexist in my world…

  16. I went to the Barrel Tasting too, on Saturday. It was so much fun (and I have the requisite pictures and write-up on my blog), and I’ve fallen in love with a few new-to-me wines. I absolutely must go to Ferrari-Carano next time!

  17. Oh, this post brings back fond memories of my trip to Sonoma with my hubby a couple of years ago. We hit many of the same spots. Glad you had such a lovely weekend. :)

  18. I’ve been lurking on your blog for a few weeks – I love it! Yours is the first blog I check every day. I’m originally from Sonoma County but have lived in Boston since I was 18. This post reminded me of all the reasons I miss the area…so jealous of your weekend…but thank you for posting pics!

  19. Ooh the joy of living in Sonoma county! That’s where we’ll be this weekend =)

  20. That is my kind of day. We do the wine tour in Michigan and there are some beautiful wineries. They aren’t as large or ornate as in CA, but beautiful. I’m drolling over the tulips and daffodils almost as much as the wine. Spring isn’t here yet!

  21. What a fun day – so much to look at and drinking wine while at it. Lucky. Very pretty photos, hope you fun,

  22. Oh how I wish we lived up north! DD is looking at sonoma state! Maybe someday. She is a junior, so maybe I will have an excuse to go up there! Love it!


  23. I am going to scope out a few of these places now that I’ve seen some great photo journalism. My husband and I take a day trip to Napa about once a month and we’re all about exploring! Thanks for your great blog! I am a new fan!

  24. What a wonderful day, Kate! Love your photos and commentary! I was visitng one of your former wine country post…Serindipitious , the photo of your darling daughter “designated driver” made me lol! She is so adorable.

    Thank you for your inspiring makeovers and sharing your world with us. I hope you don’t mind that I took your button and placed it in my side margin under “Fabulous Inspiring Blogs”. You do inspire me daily. As a matter a fact, you should see my recent post. You are, afterall, partly to blame! ha!


  25. What pretty pictures from the wine country! I have never been to California, but from your pictures, it is really beautiful. Glad you enjoyed your wine barrel tasting day! Love & blessings from NC!

  26. You probably passed my husband on the road. He was out tasting all three days. I didn’t realize the tulips were blooming yet at Ferrari-Carano. I’ll definitely have to take a little drive over there this week. Thanks!

Leave a comment!

Keep the conversation going! Your email address will not be published.*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Lately on Instagram (@centsationalstyle)