A Brilliant Idea

This past week, I was once again a guest up in the Dry Creek Valley for a bit of tasting and a bit of bike riding. More on both of those later, I hope. Shortly after I received my initial itinerary (and approval from my lovely wife), my good friend Donald Goodkin (of Goodkin Vineyards in Dry Creek and member of the Board of the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley–WDCV) asked if I would be interested in coming out a day earlier to attend the launching of a new WDCV initiative.

As many of you know, my in-laws live relatively close to Northern Coast Wine Country (approximately 1-2 hours away depending on destination and traffic), and going out a day early would be another day subtracted from the time I would be able to spend with my wife’s family.

After consulting with my wife, it was a difficult decision, but I agreed to come out a day early for the event and limit the amount of time spent with the in-laws–yes, a tough choice.

The event in question was the Dry Creek Culinary Cooperative Special Media Preview. That is a really long title for a rather simple (yet brilliant) idea, the premise of which is rather straight forward: buy a bottle of Dry Creek wine from one of the 60+ Dry Creek Wineries, take the voucher (provided by the winery at the time of sale) to a participating Healdsburg or Geyserville restaurant, and the corkage fee for that first bottle is waived.

A Brilliant Idea.

And it was completely mine!

OK, not really.

Actually, not at all.CC_Logo

The idea came from the aforementioned Donald Goodkin, a neurologist in a former life (I am not really sure what a neurologist does, but I know it is infinitely more complex than anything I ever do), who is now a grape grower in Dry Creek Valley and a member of the WDCV board. He had the idea for this program some time ago, and when he asked me my opinion (he may be brilliant, but might fall just short of “genius” given his choice of preferred consultants), I could not provide a single example of a similar program in any wine region worldwide.

Thus far, there are seventeen participating restaurants in Healdsburg and Geyserville, with the hope of adding more (the participating restaurants are at the bottom of this article). This past week, I, along with a few members of the local media and my blogging buddy Bill Eyer of Cuvée Corner, went to five of the participating restaurants where we sampled specially prepared dishes that were paired with a Dry Creek wine.

At Madrona Manor we had no fewer than four amuse bouches (one included pop rocks!), paired with the Dry Creek Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc.

At Madrona Manor we had no fewer than four amuses bouches (one included pop rocks!), paired with the Dry Creek Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc.

At Spoonbar, there were bodega red potatoes, beet boudin spring rolls, and pork riblets, paired with Cast's Grey Palm Estate Zinfandel.

At Spoonbar, there were bodega red potatoes, beet boudin spring rolls, and pork riblets, paired with Cast’s Grey Palm Estate Zinfandel.

Mateo's presented Muscovy duck breast paired with Papapietro Perry's 2009 Pauline's Vineyard Zinfandel.

Mateo’s presented Muscovy duck breast paired with Papapietro Perry’s 2009 Pauline’s Vineyard Zinfandel.

At Café Lucia, there was stuffed pork tenderloin with 2010 Collier Falls Hillside Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.

At Café Lucia, there was stuffed pork tenderloin with 2010 Collier Falls Hillside Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.

Our last stop was Taverna Sofia, where we had Sofia's signature baklava and bougatsa paired with Peterson's 2011 Muscat Blanc, Lipton-Daniel Vineyard.

Our last stop was Taverna Sofia, where we had Sofia’s signature baklava and bougatsa paired with Peterson’s 2011 Muscat Blanc, Lipton-Daniel Vineyard.

It was a wonderful evening of great food and wine and more than the occasional laugh.

Birgitt Vaughan of Sonoma County Tourism, Barry Collier of Collier Falls, and Bill Eyer of Cuvée Corner.

Birgitt Vaughan of Sonoma County Tourism, Barry Collier of Collier Falls, and Bill Eyer of Cuvée Corner.

So the next time you are in Dry Creek, buy a bottle, grab a voucher, and head to one of these restaurants for dinner where the corkage fee on that bottle will be waived. The program officially starts September 1st, but the vouchers are in the tasting rooms and dozens have already received free corkage.

Really a brilliant idea.

Barn Diva                                            Healdsburg Bar & Grill

Bistro Ralph                                        Madrona Manor

Bravas Bar de Tapas                           Mateo’s Cocina Latina

Cafe Lucia                                           Pizzando

Catelli’s Restaurant                              Restaurant Charcuterie

Chalkboard Bistro                                Sake O

Diavola Pizzeria                                    Spoonbar

Dry Creek Kitchen                                Taverna Sofia

Willi’s Seafood & Raw Bar

 

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About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley, Sauvignon Blanc, Wine, Zinfandel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to A Brilliant Idea

  1. Tom Riley says:

    Loved the photos — a number of labels, I have to admit, that I’ve never seen before.

    Like

    • Dry Creek Vineyard does a really nice job with that Sauv Blanc (and it’s $10!). Cast is new, but their Zin was fantastic. Papapietro Perry does mostly pinot, but that Zin was great, Collier Falls is tiny (less than 1000 cases) but makes nice big reds, and Peterson has been around for a while and Jamie has really done a nice job.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Truly a brilliant idea! And a win/win for winery and restaurant. Wish more participated in this. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

    • It really is a win/win–as we were talking about this a bunch over the last few days, it really is remarkable that there is not a more concerted effort across the board: wineries, restaurants, hotels, (bike shops), etc.

      Like

  3. Love it! Great piece 🙂

    Like

  4. Kendall says:

    drinking great wine or spending time with the in-laws….. I can understand why you had difficulty making that choice. 🙂

    Like

  5. I am just now getting to know the wines of Dry Creek, last night I opened a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon “Fritz” from Fritz Underground. Very nice. I want to try some others, thanks for the recommendations and it is a brilliant idea.

    Like

    • I have not had any Fritz, but I really enjoy all the wines I have tried in the Valley. Here are a few more names for you: Kokomo, Del Carlo, Collier Falls, Pasterick, Rued, Unti, Frick, Nalle, Pachina, I could go on for a while!

      Like

  6. dwdirwin says:

    Nice! I like how they provide a united front. I’m surprised not all the restaurants are on board.

    Like

    • What I heard was that they were a bit cautious. Those that are on board represent most of the more highly perceived restaurants in the area, though. I hope to help them a bit with their data collection and analysis to see the impact. Once other restaurants get those data, I am sure more will sign on….

      Like

  7. foxress says:

    Another great example of the ‘rising above petty competition and lifting each other up’ mentality in the wine community. That’s progressive thinking and in the end, beneficial for everyone, including the consumer! I love it! Great post, Monsieur!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know it might sound cliché, but the people in Dry Creek really are all in it together. Sure, there might be an outlier or two, but I am continually amazed by the generosity and unity of the people there.

      Like

  8. That is such a great idea! I’m surprised it’s not something that hasn’t happened before now, it seems like a perfect way to sell your wine and please your customers.

    Like

  9. Whaaat?!?! Dry Creek Vineyard does a really nice Sauv Blanc for $10! I’m on the hunt. Glad you got some great food in with the wine while in Sonoma Co. – another magical thing we have here. Great post – looking forward to heading back out to Dry Creek for more discoveries. Cheers!

    Like

  10. Lynn Millar says:

    A great adventure! Have to check this out. Oh, it’s Sept 1st!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Interesting concept! Merci for following 24/7 in France!

    Like

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