Oct. 11th, 2010

Winery Reviews: Fritz Winery in Cloverdale, California

Wineries in California: Barbara and Jay Fritz were actually ahead of the game when they started Fritz Winery in 1979. They had been farming their 100-acre vineyard on the edge of Dry Creek Valley since 1971. From the beginning, majestic redwood trees offered ideal microclimates, and a fresh spring was utilized for simple irrigation.

Eight years later, when they decided to build a winery, the Fritzes dug deep—two stories underground into the side of a hill. Their ingenuity allowed them to employ a natural gravity-flow system for the juice and an ideal, cool temperature for aging their wines, decades before the green movement came into being.

Since then, the couple has never wavered in their commitment to quality and conservation. They have been joined by their son Clayton, who now manages the winery with the same passion and keen eye for sustainability and excellence. In 2007, Winemaker Brad Longton, a native Australian, joined the winery to apply his gentle touch in handcrafting the wines. His efforts have already earned praise and enthusiasm from wine critics all over the world. Wine News repeatedly awards Fritz wines with ratings above 90 points, and the 2006 Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon recently won Double Gold at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. In short, Fritz Winery’s energy-efficient wines have a devoted following.

The winery, a monumental Gaudi-style masterpiece, blends function with style. Visitors are invited to have a seat at the tasting room bar. Here, they can choose to sample from a flight of estate or reserve varietals featuring Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Malbec, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon. For those who’d like to see the wine caves, a reservation for a weekend tour (including a rare barrel tasting) can be made.

At a time when going green is a goal for many, Fritz Winery is already enjoying the fruits of its eco-conscious efforts that began more than 30 years ago.

  • ’06 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve, Dry Creek Valley Fresh cherries, plum, cola, floral, redwood sorrel $50
  • ‘08 Zinfandel Estate Reserve, Dry Creek Valley Blackberry, black cherry, cocoa, subtle cedar $48
  • ’08 Estate Malbec Bing cherries, plums, cola, chocolate $35
  • ’09 Estate Sauvignon Blanc Mandarin orange, floral, white peach, crisp apple, Meyer lemon $22
707.894.3389; info@fritzwinery.com
24691 Dutcher Creek Rd
Cloverdale, CA 95425
Tasting Room Open Daily 10:30–4:30

From Hwy 101N, north of Healdsburg, exit at Dry Creek Rd. Turn left. Follow Dry Creek Rd for 9 miles. Turn right on Dutcher Creek Rd. The winery is on the left.
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