From the highest lookout on Jordan Winery’s 1,200-acre estate—the Jordan Vista Point—vineyards surrender to successive mountain ranges through the open spaces beyond the property, beyond Alexander Valley, to other wine regions in the far distance. After weeks of confinement to close quarters, taking in the stunning panorama will be a huge pleasure. Jordan is about to offer the experience again—probably the first winery in Sonoma to invite visitors back, in their case to the spectacular ranch surrounding the much-loved and photographed château. Starting Memorial Day weekend, Saturday, May 23, and continuing on Sundays and Thursdays through June 7, Jordan will be offering three-hour educational hiking excursions, by appointment, to a small number of guests who will once again be able to revel in the views along with the woodlands, lakes, meadows, olive groves and gardens that regulars to the winery near Healdsburg remember well.
Just don’t expect the picnic with wine tastings yet. That part of the fun will be provided to-go at the end of your hike, in the form of a picnic lunch and two bottles of wine to enjoy at home. A feast of salumi, cheeses, crostini, spiced nuts, olives and salad greens from the garden—plus the 2018 Chardonnay and 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (Jordan’s 40th vintage)—are a rich extension of the adventure for now.
To offer these hikes, Jordan is jumping on the recent Sonoma County park and trail reopening health order. But marketing director Lisa Mattson points out that by keeping groups small (the “by appointment” part) and using a one-way loop trail on private land, they’re able to “offer people a beautiful setting for enjoying fresh air, exercise and beautiful views … more safely than hiking at popular public parks.” For owner and CEO John Jordan, this is part of the winery’s DNA: “Jordan is all about hospitality. Because we are in the business of bringing people pleasure, I cannot imagine anything more rewarding than providing visitors with a safe outdoor experience in wine country in the spring after months of being cooped up inside.”
With a talented chef, stylish dining room and those culinary gardens, Jordan is fully equipped to open for onsite dining and wine tasting, per California Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent announcement that restaurants and wineries able to offer full meals can open again (albeit with strict safety measures). But that permission hinges on the county meeting the state’s six “readiness criteria,” and at the time of this writing, Sonoma is still missing one. County officials are pushing hard, though, and you can be sure that Jordan is monitoring developments and will expand as it can, as will other wine country venues.
For the time being, tickets for the moderate, four-mile nature hikes, including the picnic and wines to-go, are $110 per person, $220 per couple.
It’s a start. Can full-on wine travel be far behind?