If sitting on a chair lift while sipping on some of Sonoma’s finest wine, all while wearing sandals, is on your bucket list than I have a winery for you. Welcome to Pech Merle, located in downtown Geyserville, where you can do just that and so much more.
Walking into Pech Merle you’ll immediately notice two things—a chair lift and a longboard sitting in the corner. While most wineries have the gift shop immediately upon entering, at Pech Merle you get a relaxed lounge atmosphere, complete with comfortable chairs and a couch. Yes, a couch. Who has a couch in a tasting room? Oh, right. Pech Merle does.
If you can make it past the ski lift chair and living-room atmosphere, the main tasting counter is right ahead. Pech Merle has two levels of tasting: a basic and a reserve. The tasting fees are nominal for both and they are waived with purchase of a bottle.
It’s at the tasting counter where you can choose whether you want to sit or stand. It seems as if at most other wineries you get one or the other. There are enough chairs at the counter, but not so many that you can’t decide for yourself whether to choose one or the other. While I was there, I decided to stand, while a tasting part of four to the left decided that the chairs looked mighty comfortable.
The couple immediately next to me went 50/50, with him choosing the chair and her deciding to stand (though interestingly enough, she initially went with the chair). After all, ice cream shops have a swirl option since why would one really want to decide between chocolate and vanilla when you want it all? Life is sometimes just too short to pick just one option. Thankfully the tasting room staff won’t judge you for any flip-flopping on your sitting or standing preference.
While you’re wine tasting, try not to be distracted by the various completely random items in the tasting room (I wouldn’t be surprised if Waldo was here somewhere). The cow horns behind the bar struck up a conversation on biodynamic farming (for the record, Pech Merle is not a biodynamic winery). One of the practices of biodynamic farming is to plant a cow horn at a specific time of of the year. But alas I digress. Back to wine tasting.
Oh look. A really big California flag with “California” replaced for Pech Merle and a US postage stamp with the zip code of Geyserville—95441. Oh yes, wine tasting.
Their wine showcases great regionally specific locations—from the Russian River AVA to the little AVA on the top of the hill—Rockpile. I once took a drive up there to see what that AVA was all about. True to form, it’s a little AVA on the top of a hill. Great soil, but I think the grapes appreciate that more than your Instagram account.
If you find a bottle that tickles your taste buds and you get to thinking, “I’d love to open this bottle up and sit outside,” you’re in luck. There’s a small courtyard outside in the back of the winery, complete with a fountain.
Bring your own food as there is nothing to graze on at the winery. There is a great cafe right next door to the winery and you’re welcome to bring back the food to the tasting room. While the counter has a total tasting feel, the rest of the winery feels like a lounge. Kick back on the couch with a glass of Zinfandel while looking at the fireplace (yes, they have a fireplace too; it goes with the ski lift chair).
Waiving tasting fees for the purchase of a bottle is slowly becoming less of a commonality in the county so it’s great to see it being observed here. After all, you’re coming in to taste and hopefully pick up a bottle you enjoyed. If sitting on a ski lift chair while drinking wine from Sonoma County is on your bucket list, then…bucket list, check, at Pech Merle winery.