Food + Drink, Sonoma Wineries, What's New in Sonoma County

First Sonoma Winery Reopens After Coronavirus Shutdown

A Healdsburg winery is set to welcome visitors to its 1,200-acre estate for guided hiking excursions with wine picnics to go this Saturday.

More than two months into the coronavirus shutdown, local wineries are eagerly awaiting approval to reopen to the public. On Monday, Sonoma County’s top health official submitted a reopening plan to the California Department of Public Health, which would allow wineries, as well as breweries and restaurants, to offer patio service. In the meantime, Healdsburg’s Jordan Winery has found a loophole within the latest loosening of restrictions announced last week and will reopen its grounds on Saturday, May 23. 

Taking advantage of Sonoma County’s relaxed coronavirus closure rules for public and private parks, allowing locals to drive to parks, Jordan Winery will welcome visitors to its 1,200-acre estate for guided hiking excursions by appointment — with wine picnics to go — making it the first winery in Sonoma and Napa counties, and possibly the state of California, to legally reopen to visitors.

“As a business that has this much private open space surrounding us, we just felt like this was the right thing to do,” said Lisa Mattson, director of marketing and communications at Jordan Winery. She added that the winery’s loop trail will allow hikers to spread out. “You never have to worry about passing anybody and there’s plenty of space.” 

Jordan Winery has offered hiking experiences for several years now with picnic lunches on the estate terrace. To comply with Sonoma County health orders and guidance, the new hiking excursions will not include a post-hike meal on the terrace. Instead, winery chef Todd Knoll will pack up a picnic to go, featuring four salumi selections from Healdsburg’s Journeyman Meat Co., two artisanal cheeses, salad greens sourced from the winery’s garden, and accouterments like house-made estate mostarda, marinated olives, and spiced nuts. Each party will also take home two bottles of Jordan’s estate wines for pairing, the 2018 Chardonnay and 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Offered on eight days between Saturday, May 23, and Sunday, June 7, the moderate four-mile hike will traverse woods, meadows, vineyards, olive orchards and circle a lake. Hikers can take a water break at the Jordan Point Vista, a panoramic hilltop, and will also pass by cattle pastures, the chef’s garden and an apiary.

The hiking experience, including picnic and wines, is $220 (for two people) and will take place at 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Maximum capacity for each time slot is 10 people (five groups of two). Additional hikes may be added to the calendar soon. 

In compliance with Sonoma County’s health order, masks must be carried throughout the hike but only have to be worn when it’s not possible to maintain six feet distance. Mattson said guests should only need to wear their masks when they meet at the winery chateau at the start of the hiking excursion, but anyone who wants to wear a mask for the duration of the hike can of course do so. The winery also encourages hikers to bring their own water, though individual glass bottles will be available at the water stop. Hand sanitizer stations and thoroughly cleaned, luxury porta potties are positioned at the beginning, middle, and end of the trail. 

The winery plans to resume picnics on the terrace at individual tables as soon as they are allowed to sell food and alcohol on site again. Mattson said they also plan to add some picnic days to their schedule of events — the winery’s expansive lawn can accommodate up to 50 people with social distancing protocols in place.

To make a hiking reservation, visit Jordan Winery’s website: jordanwinery.com/visit/tours-and-tastings/nature-hike.

Editor’s Note: Travel, dining and wine tasting can be complicated right now. Use our inspirational ideas to plan ahead for your next outing, be it this week or next year. If you visit restaurants, wineries, and other businesses during the pandemic, remember to call ahead, make reservations, wear a mask and social distance.

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