Barrel Tastings in Sonoma, Book in Hand!

What could be better than to have the author of the new book, Back Lane Wineries of Sonoma, talk about under-the-radar small family-run wineries Just In Time for this second weekend of barrel tastings in Sonoma! Tilar Mazzeo's book is the one you want to have in hand for this weekend.

"Passionate amateurs are very much welcomed by winemakers at this special group of wineries," Tilar said during her talk at The Mechanics Institute in San Francisco March 10. "These wineries are run by the same people who grow the grapes and make the wines, and they offer a friendly, intimate atmosphere. This is where to go to get a unique product. Discerning oenophiles know this."

Thumbing through the book, plotting a course, it seems like I can make my way to at least four wineries on Saturday. I'll probably make a stop at Amista Vineyards, in Healdburg on Saturday, March 14th, from 12:00 - 2:00 pm; Tilar will be there with some books to sign. My friends all want one now!

In creating this book, Tilar relied on the generosity and sharing nature of these small artisanal winemakers. "Essentially, I asked each of them for their Top 6 Picks. Many people simply got on the phone and helped me set up the next round of appointments. For three solid months, I visited 4, 5, or 6 wineries a day, always for an hour at least ... and many for some long afternoons."

The openness of the back lane winery owners and winemakers will be well rewarded. This book is going to be an essential guide, and will provide that off-the-Highway-101 wine country experience that many wine lovers will cherish for years. If you want to study up in advance before the barrel tastings this weekend, you can get the book in a rush from Amazon, Tower Books, Barnes &, Powells and others.

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