Experience delightful wines paired with breathtaking vineyard views in Sonoma County.
Nick Briggs just might be one of the hardest working winemakers in Sonoma County. Dutcher Crossing, where Briggs oversees four vineyards within 75 estate acres, and 15 grape varieties, offers more than 30 different bottlings, making harvest “season” a quarter year venture that keeps Briggs and his team on their toes.
Dutcher Crossing’s current offerings include two sparklings, two Sauvignon Blancs, a Grenache Rosé, a Riesling, five Chardonnays, five Pinot Noirs, eight Zinfandels, five Cabernet Sauvignons, two Syrahs, two Petite Sirahs, a Carignane, a Red Wine blend, and a Port Zinfandel.
Nearly all of the 12,000 cases produced are sold direct to consumer, with the exception of a small distribution in Wisconsin, proprietor Debra Mathy’s home state. A handful of Sonoma County restaurants also carry the brand, such as Baci Café and Wine Bar, Valette, and Catelli’s.
Each wine is well priced (within a $35 to $70 range) and each more than delivers on quality and flavor.
Sample Dutcher Crossing wines at the winery, via a choice of three tasting formats:
Private Seated Tasting: Enjoy five popular Dutcher Crossing wines while enjoying vineyard views. 90 minutes; $40pp
Bar Tasting: A casual tasting of current wine selections, enjoyed at the bar. 60 minutes; $20pp
Private Seated Tasting + Cheese: Enjoy a selection of five limited production wines accompanied with local artisan cheese and charcuterie. 90 minutes: $65pp
Mathy purchased her Dry Creek Rd. property in 2007 and has slowly increased her empire from its original 35 acres to more than double that. In addition to her premier vineyards within the Dutcher Crossing estate, she sources from vineyards in Napa and Mendocino counties, providing Briggs with optimal fruit for his minimal intervention style wines, each of which can age well, but can easily be enjoyed upon bottling.
Briggs enjoys the varietal variations that are derived from each unique vineyard site, and he celebrates differences in vintage years, though his wines are commonly denominated by balance, fruit flavor, and acidity.
Mathy’s love of wine was realized during a high school trip to France—the sole reason she opted to study French. Her wine exposure to that point had been nonexistent, and she reveled in the sites, the smells, and the culture of France’s wine scene, vowing one day to make wine her life’s work. It was when her beloved father was diagnosed with skin cancer that she realized her dream, led by a “life is too short” philosophy.
While her father sadly did not live to see her dream fulfilled, Mathy, who shared a love of cycling with her dad, celebrates his memory via the winery’s penny farthing bicycle logo found on most every label.
The actual bike resides in the winery’s warm and inviting tasting room, where Mathy’s charming Labrador Retriever Lady can be found entertaining guests. (Dogs are more than welcomed at Dutcher Crossing.)
The winery’s architecture reflects a classic 1900s style farmhouse. Warmed by a flickering fireplace, the tasting room features a long bar, as well as wing-backed chairs.
A large patio, flanked by a petanque court, looks southwest over vineyard and mountain views. This patio and the adjacent breezeway are the venues for frequent member events which draw fans from around the country.
Dutcher’s membership roster is robust, likely due not only to the delicious wines, but also to the familial vibe engendered by Mathy and her team.
That same sense of family and community can be experienced by partaking in a tasting at the winery’s classic barn structure, where sunsets are particularly striking; a late afternoon tasting is recommended.