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Two Local Wines You Need to Have on Your Radar — Plus an Essential Accessory for Your Bar Cart

Napa? Sonoma? Take your pick. Here are two wines you should check out on your next journey to wine country.

Neal Family Vineyards

A hidden gem in Napa Valley, Neal Family Vineyards has been handcrafting certified organic, small production wines from its estate Howell Mountain and Rutherford Dust vineyards since 1998. Neal Family Vineyards is a rarity as it’s one of a few family-owned, farmed, and operated wineries in the region. Second-generation Napa winemaker and grower Mark Neal handcrafts exquisite cabernet sauvignon that expresses each vineyard’s unique terroir. As it’s family-run, you will likely be greeted by a Neal when you visit the winery. Their Estate Tasting room sits high atop Howell Mountain and is open daily, except Sunday, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. by appointment. 707.965.2800

Bricoleur Vineyards

The estate produces two families of wines: Bricoleur, and Flying by the Seat of Our Pants. Bricoleur’s brood is extensive (think Brady Bunch) with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé of Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. The Flying by the Seat of Our Pants label offers Rosé of Grenache and Brut. All are available at the winery’s Russian River Valley retreat, which offers vineyards, olive groves, and a honey farm. The public is welcome to stroll through rose garden and fruit orchards, relax on the Pavilion lawn or compete on the bocce courts. The adventurous can even enjoy fishing on the idyllic pond. Planning a corporate, philanthropic, or social gathering? Check out their well-appointed Wine Barn.

Upgrade Your Glasses

It’s official, Marin County is the epicenter for creative [and practical] oenophiles. First we introduced you to Marin resident Jeannine Fradelizio, who introduced the Wine Glass Writer onto the Bay Area market in 2010 as the first product of its kind and was named Wine Accessory of the Year by the Wall Street Journal in its first year. 

And now, during the pandemic, these friends and business partners Corinne Golden and Maya Pacheco, have come up with a Glass Tats, for wine and cocktails. Both moms of young girls, Maya has a background in product management and design, and Corinne in fashion and retail, however this is the first business venture for both. Good luck ladies!

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Mimi Towle is a Marin-based writer and editor. Currently the editor of Marin Magazine, she enjoys the various perks of her job, which include meeting chefs, winemakers, and inspiring characters. As a volunteer philanthropic advisor for the EACH Foundation, she focuses on needs in her home state of Hawaii. Some of her favorite nonprofits include City BeatHawaii Land Trust, and University of Hawaii Cancer Center.

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