Gary Farrell Makes Staying at Home Bearable

Photo courtesy of Gary Farrell Winery

As millions of us find ourselves currently ‘sheltering in place,’ working remotely, home schooling, or caring for loved ones, we seek normalcy and comfort in the smallest of joys. For many, a beautiful glass of wine is one of those joys. During these trying times, all Northern California winetasting rooms are temporarily closed to visitors, and wineries are offering novel ways for consumers to purchase, taste, and commune with others while enjoying a glass (or two) of wine - virtually of course. From Instagram live feed tastings, to Zoom happy hours, to doorstep delivery and shipping discounts, vintners and wineries are unleashing a bit of creativity, and in doing so, are doing their best to help calm collective nerves.

Gary Farrell Winery, the Healdsburg, California crafter of small-lot artisan wines that capture the balance and stylistic elegance of some of the finest vineyard sites in Northern California, has introduced a series of virtual tasting experiences allowing wine lovers to enjoy wine at home with guidance from the winery’s estate sommeliers. Three different online tasting options bring the Gary Farrell Tasting Salon experience to customers who can’t visit in person.

Photo courtesy of Gary Farrell Winery

The Russian River Valley Neighborhoods & Virtual Tasting Package features Gary Farrell estate sommeliers Tiffany Kuhn and Kevin Patterson leading guests through a virtual tasting of wines from the vineyard neighborhoods of the Russian River Valley. The package includes six single-vineyard Gary Farrell wines, selected by the sommeliers to showcase the breadth of microclimates in different vineyard neighborhoods in the region. The Gary Farrell single-vineyard bottlings include Olivet Lane Chardonnay, Rochioli Vineyard Chardonnay, Bacigalupi Vineyard Chardonnay, Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir, McDonald Mountain Vineyard Pinot Noir and Rochioli Vineyard Pinot Noir, all made by Gary Farrell winemaker Theresa Heredia. The package also includes a virtual, happy hour-style Zoom tasting experience hosted by the two sommeliers, who will discuss each of the wines, explore the vineyard neighborhoods with visual aids, and answer questions. In addition to the six wines and the sommelier-led tasting, customers also receive a Dropbox link with a printable tasting mat, tasting notes on each wine and a Russian River Valley neighborhood map. The cost is $380.

The second experience - Beyond the Russian River Valley & Virtual Tasting Package - celebrates wines from other regions of Sonoma County outside of Russian River Valley. Estate sommeliers Kuhn and Patterson will conduct a virtual tasting of a curated selection of four Gary Farrell wines, including Durell Vineyard Chardonnay (Sonoma Valley), Fort Ross Vineyard Pinot Noir (Fort Ross-Seaview), Gap’s Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) and Grist Vineyard Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley). They will explore the distinctive characteristics of these regions and wines and encourage guest participation in a lively, interactive Zoom format. In addition to the four wines and the sommelier-led tasting, customers also receive a Dropbox link with a printable tasting mat and tasting notes on each wine. The cost is $270.

The Gary Farrell Winery Salon Terrace, Healdsburg, CA. Photo courtesy of Gary Farrell Winery

And finally, Gary Farrell Winery is offering the Cellar Party Virtual Tasting Experience (#openthatbottle), which is a casual, happy hour-style virtual tasting hosted by estate sommeliers Kuhn and Patterson, with a special guest, winemaker Theresa Heredia. For this tasting, participants are invited to open a bottle of Gary Farrell wine from their collection (or order wine in advance), after reserving a spot in one of the Zoom tastings, which are held Sundays and Tuesdays at 4pm (Pacific). Kuhn, Patterson, and Heredia will share stories on wine and welcome questions and comments from guests on the wine they have opened or other wine topics. There is no charge for the Cellar Party Virtual Tasting, although reservations are required. 

Reservations and additional information on Gary Farrell Winery’s virtual tasting experiences are available at

Photo courtesy of Gary Farrell Winery

Fran Endicott Miller

Fran Endicott Miller is a luxury focused freelance feature writer for a variety of lifestyle publications and websites, editor-at-large for, a Forbes Travel Guide inspector, and a California editor for luxury travel concierge service Essentialist. Prior to her journalism career she held positions in the fields of politics, television, and professional sports, and is proud to have esta...(Read More)

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