The weekend of October 22nd-23rd I will be visiting the town of Hopland located in Mendocino county where they are holding the 20th annual Hopland Passport Festival. I got to do a little Q&A with John Cesano, Secretary of Destination Hopland (and Manager of McFadden vineyards) to learn about the region and what it has to offer wine-lovers. Q1.Is Hopland an American Viticultural Area?
No, Hopland is in the larger AVA of Mendocino, but is in the Sanel Valley which is pending AVA approval.Q2. What is special about the terroir and growing conditions of the
Hopland features diverse topography, and is home to the highest concentration of certified organic and bio-diverse winery tasting rooms anywhere.Q3. Which varietals do the best in Hopland?
A3. Because Hopland has a diverse topography with grapes grown on the
slope of Duncan Peak to the banks of the Russian River, and a climate not
too hot and not too cold but just right, many varietals grow great in the
Hopland area. From Bordeaux varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet
Franc and Sauvignon Blanc to Burgundian varietals like Chardonnay and
Pinot Noir, and Rhone wines like Syrah and Grenache to Mendocino County's
flavorful Zinfandel, Hopland is an area with great, medal winning, wines
for lovers of all different varietals.Q4. Why should wine-lovers visit Hopland?
101 miles up Hwy 101 from the Golden Gate Bridge, Hopland is the antidote to living and working in city cubicles all week. Organic, sustainable, unexpected, real farmers, rural, small town, and genuine all describe Hopland.
It is in this environment that people can relax and enjoy the taste of honest wines, wines with varietal correctness and sense of place.
It makes no sense to escape to wine country if the wine country you run to
has been overtaken by the shops of the malls and cities. There aren't
men's suit shops, ladies dress stores, and half a dozen antique shops
wedged in between Starbucks and Banana Republic in Hopland. We have
everything real people need and nothing they don't here in Hopland.Q5. What is not to be missed while visiting Hopland?
As the manager for McFadden Vineyard, I would say McFadden's tasting
As the secretary for Destination Hopland, I would say all of our wineries.
As a really large man with a really large appetite, I would say the $1.25
pastor tacos (ask for grilled onions and peppers - at no additional
charge) from the taco truck parked on Hwy 128 just 50 yards off Hwy 101. I
get three and give up a $5 bill, with the change as a tip.
Here's an itinerary:
Breakfast at the Bluebird Cafe, taste wines, lunch at a taco truck, taste wines, maybe buy a wine-themed cap or shirt or sweatshirt, join a wine club, check in to the Lawson Station, Campovida, or Hopland Inn. Play and wine at Sho-ka-wah Casino, and enjoy a really great buffet dinner. Two days in Hopland is great because you haven't caught a garden tour at Campovida, played Bocce, walked a vineyard row, or visited the Solar Living Center yet.
Thank you John. Wow, taco trucks, casinos, bocce and a Solar Living Center, who knew! I hope this has picqued your curiosity so check out the Hopland Passport Festival at www.hoplandpassport.com for a list of participating wineries and to buy tickets. I hope to see you there!