I’m the last person to ridicule any man for drinking wine instead of beer, or heading up to “romantic Napa Valley” for a day with the bros or fam. But I know that sipping wine certainly doesn't top the list of tough, "manly" activities. Here are some wine country experiences that won’t drag down any macho egos on Father's Day.
Saddleback Cellars is at the end of a dirt road called Money. The atmosphere is laid back, the wines reasonably priced, and the large pours are served to groups at wood picnic tables in the great outdoors. Owner/winemaker Nils Venge made the first California wine to ever be given a perfect score — a 1985 Reserve Cabernet — while back at Groth Vineyards & Winery, so his wines have some serious cred.
At Prager you'll taste some excellent port (perfect with cigars — they have a case to choose from) in an old house with a heavy door and no frills. Their Chardonnay Port, Aria, is one of the most unique and tasty wines in the valley.
Ehlers Estate is off-the-beaten path but not so far off-the-beaten path that you'll have to ask for directions (something men hate to do). There's a gigantic outdoor area for hanging out under the olive trees. Their tasting room is casual, their wine exceptional, and their artwork and philanthropic history compelling.
Charbay Winery and Distillery makes all of the manliest spirits and a port, as well as a slew of wines. The tastings are at a wood bar in a dark, backcountry-feeling room. Guys love this place but so do the ladies — they make darn good wines and an exceptional green tea aperitif to be mixed with lemonade for a killer summer drink.
There are plenty of wineries having specials on Sunday for Father’s Day. Here are some I recommend checking out:
: Dads and Dogs: 11:30-2:30 Bring your pup and hang in the gardens to eat grilled sausages after sipping at the tasting counter.
Silverado Brewing Co. in St. Helena is hosting a Pig Dinner for Father’s Day where one lucky dad will win a keg of beer. Reserve ahead for a “family table."
Benessere Vineyards is offering fathers a free tasting and 20% off any purchase if you show them a photo of your kid(s).
Robert Mondavi Winery is giving Fathers a complimentary tasting in the Appellation room and 20% off all “discountable wines.”
Vineyard 29 is holding a Father’s Day food and wine pairing with bites from Executive Chef Austin Gallion paired with their Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Cab. These pairings are infrequent and this one is only $29.
Celebrating early? SIMI winery in Healdsburg is preparing special “manly” Father’s Day pizzas at their new Terazzo Pizza Café, opened in celebration of their 135th anniversary, on Friday and Saturday.
For a more complete list of Father’s Day options in the valley check out the NVDC event calendar.