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Hot New Places for a Drink in Sonoma County

A collaborative wine tasting space in Healdsburg and a new distillery in Santa Rosa serve up excellent drinks, local bites and a fun atmosphere.

Looking for a new place to sip in Sonoma County? Here are two places to check out.

The Drink

The drink is a collaborative tasting space from Leo Steen Wines and Rootdown Wine Cellars, two brands that share not only a building, but also a thoughtful, intentional style of winemaking. The co-mingled tasting flight pulses with veracity and verve, featuring standouts from each producer, like Leo Steen’s flagship Chenin Blanc from Saini Farms and a zippy Riesling from Rootdown’s Cole Ranch vineyard.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings, the menu expands to include flaky pastries from Marla Bakery and espresso drinks served from a cheeky, vintage ‘Italian Ape’ scooter cart that once served as a tuk-tuk.

The Drink in Healdsburg. (Bonafide Productions)

Through August, drop in the second Friday evening of each month for live music on the patio and bites from local chefs.

Tastings from $30; reservations recommended. 53 Front St., Healdsburg. 707-433-3097,

Elk Fence Distillery

Located in an industrial building off Santa Rosa Avenue, Elk Fence Distillery is an exercise in patience and determination for friends and co-owners Gail Coppinger and Scott Woodson. From ideation to first distillation, the process of launching their new business took about five years.

“You hit one brick wall, you figure out how to go through it, and then you keep going,” says Coppinger.

Gail Carpenter, right, and Scott Woodson, owners of Elk Fence Distillery, make Fir Top Gin, The Briny Deep Whiskey and White Elk Vodka in the only distillery in Santa Rosa. (John Burgess / The Press Democrat)

Elk Fence Distillery produces three spirits: an American single malt whiskey, a botanical gin, and a barley-based vodka. Woodson and Coppinger, both former painting contractors, deftly transformed an office space adjacent to the distillery into a cozy tasting room beaming with character, from the first-growth redwood bar dating to the 1800s, to the antique Steinway piano, to the dark and dreamy flea-market art, collected over time.

Tastings include a complimentary tour of the distillery, and the pair hope to start offering live music and distilling classes.

Fridays, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and by appointment. 464 Kenwood Court, Santa Rosa. 415-497-4338,

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