Winery Walks: Preston of Dry Creek

I love a place to walk and if a glass of wine comes with it. Great.

Last week, we visited Preston Winery in Dry Creek Valley near Healdsburg. A place with so many features to recommend.

Preston Winery arbor

The place invites you from the gracious picnic grounds

Preston admin and picnic or funky dining areas

Preston dining al fresco

to flower gardens

Preston flower garden

or vegetable gardens

Preston vegetable gardenor chicken coops to explore.

Preston winery chickens and kidsOh, the grapes? the wine? you ask.

We did taste several wines – whites and reds – in a pleasant tasting room. The people pouring were welcoming and helpful. They were informative without condescension. (I mention all this because we are often treated like ___, as if, not bright, good looking or rich enough to buy wine.) Our server let us taste the components (some only grown on this property) of a red wine call L. Preston. An unusual insight.

A viognier (a white) was bought to accompany our picnic lunch and a bottle of L. Preston for later.

Preston picnic

With directions given to us in the tasting room, we walked through the gardens shown above and then past the warehouse down a road to a creek. Olive trees (they also press olive oil and cure olives) surrounded an open field – where they grow wheat for the bread they make. (Also, very good.) More vegetables and fruit trees lined the road. Oh yes, and a vineyard.

Preston vineyard orchard

The general atmosphere here is calm, even on a busy Mother’s Day – as I ate my lunch, I kept seeing more and more people arrive. We had this road practically to ourselves until we turned back.

Preston Winery uses this mix of plants and activities with a real choice to care for the environment. Lou Preston has been the lead to encourage other vineyard owners to care for the land as well as the grapes. This includes not using pesticides and practices that help maintain the health of the creeks. You know, creeks that fish can live in. (Read more about the land on the Preston website.)

Vineyards are often an exercise in mono-culture. Anyone with a lawn knows that nature abhors a single plant environment (think crabgrass and dandelions). Hedgerows with a mix of vegetation at the edge of a meadow or vineyards help provide and environment for bees, butterflies and small animals. We saw these last year at Lynmar Winery and on our visit to Hedgerow Farms near Davis.

Preston hedgerow

Preston Winery is on W. Dry Creek Road, more of a country road, unlike the wannabe freeway of Dry Creek Rd where the big wineries live. The Farm Store will be fuller as the season progresses with more variety in fruits and vegetables, eggs, olives and walnuts. (We bought bread at the tasting room.)

Preston Farmstore

Preston reds are mostly Zinfandels, Petite Sirah, and Syrahs and whites are Sauvignon Blanc and variants from the Rhone family. But you have to visit the winery to appreciate the range of the place and all it has to offer.

Preston farmstore flowers
The winery’s website discusses the change in Dry Creek Valley when the dam went up to form Lake Sonoma. We made a brief visit to the overlook. (The facilities at Lake Sonoma are open again.)

overlook Lake Sonoma

If you’re headed to Dry Creek Valley, make sure you take off and follow W. Dry Creek Rd to Preston Winery. Open 7 days a week, 11 am to 4:30 pm.

See you on the trail!

Words by Lynn Millar, pictures by Lynn or Mike Millar

Preston watering cans

For a list of our other winery visits, click Wineries.

On our trip to Oregon (August 2014) we ate at Spice in Florence and in the bathroom was this poster.

Preston at Spice in Florence

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