766 Westside Rd, Healdsburg, CA 95448, USA
Italian wine and olive oil tasting Da Vero strays from the norm in Sonoma by specializing in everything Italian. About 93 percent of grapes grown in California are French varietals, but DaVero uses California’s Mediterranean-like climate to its advantage and grows Italian grapes like Vermentino and Dolcetto. The farm is beautiful and it’s clear that everyone involved cares deeply about the process. At DaVero, the vineyards are wild, the yeast is natural, and the barrels are old and neutral. “There’s no word for winemaker in French or Italian,” says Andrew Hock, telling me about DaVero’s approach. “There is only a term for ‘tender of the vines,’ because after the vines, the winemaking is done.” This approach to winemaking, one of harvesting by flavor and not analysis, and relying on wild yeast, is old world, but one that is working well for the vineyard. The best part? Wine tastings come with olive oil pairings made from olives grown on the farm. The lipids in the oil trick you’re brain into thinking you’re eating, opening new flavor palettes, so dry reds become more rounded, for example. The olive oils alone are worth the tasting, especially the Meyer lemon emulsion oil.