We were looking for a diversion from our wine tastings this week so we headed out to the coast. It’s a great change of scenery and attractions. There are tasting rooms along the coast, seafood restaurants, hiking, and cool water sports, but the area has expanded more recently to include cheese tastings, farm visits and something we tried that is completely different – tasting mead.
Mead is an old, old alcoholic drink. It pre-dates wine and beer and is made in a diversity of ways with honey as its base.
There is a meadery called Heidrun on the coast highway just outside Point Reyes Station. They have been making sparkling mead since 1997. We decided to give it a try.
Heidrun took over an old dairy farm a decade ago. They produce their mead here in a new facility but the tastings are held on the sprawling farm grounds and in the old, rustic milking barn. You tend to get the feeling of being transported back into the late 60s hippie era as you wander about the place.
The tasting flight was clearly the best introduction for us. Each mead is made from honey sourced from different regions in California, Oregon and the Island of Hawaii. The California Orange Blossom was my favorite. The aroma of the orange blossom was intense and lingered in the glass even after it was empty.
The Madras Carrot Blossom had to be the most unique. It’s honey is a secondary crop from a farm in Oregon where carrots are grown to produce carrot seeds. The taste was dryer and quite different than the other three.
The relaxed atmosphere at the meadery is special. The staff suggests you wander the grounds and explore with your tasting. There is an amazing willow “fort”, fire pits and dozens of picnic tables available to encourage you to spend more time with them. And, I was told in the spring the wild flowers on the grounds are a showstopper.
After Heidrun we made a stop at the Giacomini Dairy Farm – the home of Point Reyes Cheese. Be warned, the sign for it is quite small. Use your GPS and keep your eyes peeled to catch their driveway.
It is truly a working dairy farm. Just driving up to it gives you a sense of what a dairy is all about. Their “Marketplace”shop is open during the week to pick up cheeses and accessories. On the weekends they offer cheese tastings and tours by appointment.
They are making an aged gouda cheese now that has become one of our favorites.
It’s great to have some options beyond tasting wine when you visit Sonoma’s Wine Country. Check out our Local Favorites page for more ideas & resources to enjoy your time here.