In a region just loaded with wineries and wine making tours, Korbel is a must stop. The sparkling wine maker lives in a beautiful and historic building with beautiful gardens and landscaping. Gaze across the road at the vineyards, stretching out across to the Russian River.
The tour starts with a brief film about sparkling wine making and then you will join a real person who will take you through the wineries and past displays and demonstrations.
You'll finish your tour in the tasting room where your guide may take you out into the garden and lead you in the tasting of 5 or 6 different bottles of sparkling wine.
Some visitors eschew the tour and go straight to the formal tasting room. There you can taste, and purchase, the wineries offerings. The gift shop has a host of interesting and clever items for purchase. You can also purchase picnic supplies and there are picnic areas on the grounds.
Tours are free and offered daily from 10 am until about 4 pm.
"Jazz on the River"
I love destination Jazz festivals and have been to some of the best; Montreux, Winter Park.... But to me, the best of the best is "Jazz on the River" , or what we commonly refer to as The Russian River Jazz Festival.
Imagine floating on an inner tube in the cool cool river among the redwoods, listening to Dave Koz and his cool group? Dig your toes in the sand, sip a Pinot Noir and sway to the cool vibes of Craig Chaquiso. Or jump up and dance to Jeff Golub and Mindi Abair!
The festival also has craft and vendor booths and an area for wine tasting. My only complaint is that no glass is allowed into the closed off beach area. So it's necessary to "decant" that Pinot Noir into a plastic bottle.
Parking can be tricky but there are frequent shuttles that run from the distant parking lots.
There are two levels of tickets: Gold Tier and regular. Gold Tier buy you a reserved seat in low beach chairs right in front of the stage. Regular means you bring your own seat and find a place wherever. We got gold tier seats for one day of the weekend performance and found it was a little to loud up their in the front. We had a lot more fun the next day when we mingled with the concert goers and met fun people.
If you like to fish, this is a great place for it. You'll need to have a California fishing license, which you can buy at the sporting store in downtown Guerneville. You can buy licenses of varying length, from one day to a year.
Once you have your license, you just have to know that all year round, you may only use barbless hooks (crimp any barbs on your hooks) when fishing in the Russian River. And at certain times of year, you may only use lures -- no bait -- for fishing.
This little guy was caught on a canoeing trip, where Mark was just idly casting his line and lure. It's a small mouth bass. And yes, we caused as little pain and released him.
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