I stumbled on this winery quite by accident when driving through the Russian River Valley with a friend. We were on a “Guy Fieri foodie road trip” and we were instantly drawn in by the unique grounds that seemingly appeared out of nowhere as we rounded a curve — detour time!
Located in the Russian River Valley area of Sonoma County, Hop Kiln is situated literally on a California historic landmark. This property has been a working ranch since the mid 1800′s.
Hop Kiln was built in 1905 to process hops that flourished on farms in the sunny, cool weather of Healdsburg. In the mid 1950′s, the hops industry suffered due to an invasive fungus, causing Hop Kiln to become idle. Although grapes were grown on the ranch since the 19th century, the wine was only produced for family use until 1975 when the historic barn and kiln were converted to a bonded winery.
In 2006, they introduced a premium label, referred to as “HKG” and began replanting 248 acres, which now house mostly Burgundian style wines — 44 acres of Pinot Noir, 16 acres of Chardonnay, and 6 acres of Pinot Grigio.
Hop Kiln is overseen by vineyard manager, David Smith, and winemaker Chuck Mansfield. Mansfield is definitely one winemaker to watch as he’s achieved some serious results for someone who hasn’t even celebrated his 30th birthday yet!
With the HKG label, Hop Kiln produces two labels now. While the HKG wines are the premium estate offerings, Hop Kiln wines are known for both red and white wines. They have created several proprietary blends like Thousand Flowers, Rushin’ River, and Big Red.
When I was there, they were offering four free tastes of the regular Hop Kiln label wines, but that may have since changed since my visit was quite some time ago.
Aside from all the wines, Hop Kiln features a wide selection of gourmet food items — over 60 items! From unique mustards to creative olive oils, the options are almost overwhelming. Their pestos are among some of the best you will find. Just to give you an idea of what awaits you, here are some of the mustards that were available when I was there:
- Cognac and Pepper
- Crunchy Cranberry
- Merlot and Chocolate (sounds weird but loved this one)
- Raspberry Jalapeno
- Sake Wasabi (excellent)
- Sweet Garlic
- Tropical Mango
- Zinfandel and Garlic
Hop Kiln features Chef Renzo Veronese, who was born in northern Italy, and he oversees the wine and food program at Hop Kiln. He has a starring role at all winery events and can provide recipes to accompany all their artisan food offerings! Chef Renzo also works at their sister property nearby, Kenwood Inn and Spa — a Conde Nast award property.
Make sure to check out their website for various wine pairing recipes from Chef Renzo!
Hop Kiln Winery and Tasting Room
- 6050 Westside Road
- Healdsburg, CA 95448
- Phone: (707) 433-6491
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
HKG Glen Ellen Tasting Room
- 13647 Arnold Drive
- Glen Ellen, CA 95442
- Phone: (707) 938-7622
Website: Hop Kiln Winery