After being shuttered for more than two months due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sonoma County wineries are finding creative ways to welcome guests back to their vineyards.
Jordan Winery is now offering guided hiking excursions on its 1,200-acre estate in the Northern California city of Healdsburg. The decision to be one of the first to reopen came after health officials relaxed closure rules for public and private parks in the area.
The moderate, by-appointment-only, nature hike leads outdoor enthusiasts through the estate’s varied landscape - from sustainably farmed vineyards and olive orchards, to cattle pastures and wooded stretches. The four-mile loop trail, with an elevation change of about 300-feet, includes a stop at Jordan Vista Point to take in panoramic wine country views, before heading around the lake to get a look at the chef’s garden and apiary.
“Jordan is all about hospitality. Because we are in the business of bringing people pleasure, I cannot imagine anything more rewarding than providing visitors with a safe, outdoor experience in wine country in the spring after months of being cooped up inside,” said John Jordan, CEO of Jordan Winery.
At the trek’s conclusion, hikers are given a to-go charcuterie picnic lunch including a bottle of 2018 Jordan Chardonnay, and 2016 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon.
Nature hikes last about three hours, and are currently being held on select Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. It looks like they struck a chord too: the first weekend’s hikes sold out in less than 72 hours. More may be added to the calendar after the Sonoma County Health Officer's next announcement.
Hikes are limited to 10 guests, and cost $220 (£180) for two people. Guests must carry a mask, but are only required to wear it when they cannot stay six feet from others, which should only occur at the start of the hike.
“As a winery surrounded by almost 900 acres of open space, we have the ability to offer people a beautiful setting for enjoying fresh air, exercise and beautiful views,” said Lisa Mattson, Marketing Director of Jordan Winery. “We are able to keep groups small, all by appointment, and our trail is a loop without any passing of other hikers, which, in our opinion, makes hikes like this on private land safer than hiking at popular public parks.”
Typically, only club members get the run of the 700 acres of vineyards and protected open space at Notre Vue Estate Winery & Vineyards in nearby Windsor. However, while Sonoma County shelter-in-place orders remain in effect, the winery is opening their property to everyone who purchases three bottles or more of wine. Visitors are welcome to use the property for hiking, mountain biking, picnicking by the lake, or to hike to the 700-foot summit.
“Since we can offer a sense of normalcy to people, why not?” said David McCluskey, Digital Marketing and Communications Specialist at Notre Vue Estate Winery & Vineyards.
Staff cannot pour any wine, but folks can request the bottles purchased at proper serving temperature, and plastic, recyclable glasses are provided. Notre Vue has a scheduling system in place; the number of visitors on property will be limited to allow for proper social distancing.