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24 Hours Of Food And Wine In Healdsburg With Award Winning Aperture Cellars

Northern California has an outstanding reputation for wine and food. Healdsburg, located on the Russian River, may be less well known than its notorious neighbor, Napa, but not for long. Enter Aperture Cellars founder, and winemaker, Jesse Katz who is putting another feather in Healdsburg’s cap. Katz, who is emphatic about the quality of wine and food available in Sonoma, the largest wine producing area and some of the best in the world. He explains, “the focus always begins with the vineyards—more specifically, the terroir. Aperture Cellars controls 140+ acres of vineyards in the Sonoma Valley, specifically sourced for their unique terroir and soil composition.”

That unique terroir contributes to some of the most complex and well received bottles around. Not surprising for Katz who is a winemaker with over 15 harvests under his belt from some of the most noteworthy and internationally renowned wineries including, “Pétrus in Bordeaux, Screaming Eagle Winery, Lancaster Estate and Robert Foley Winery in California, and Viña Cobos and Bodega Noemia in Argentina.”

The newly designed Aperture Estate incorporates the best of the wine region with local and international art including many from Jesse’s father, Andy Katz. His work graces most of Aperture’s signature bottles and ties in the origin of the winery’s namesake as the camera function that opens and closes the lens. This feature, or aperture, allows differing degrees of light exposure for the image. Which is, of course, the ultimate function; to shine a light on Sonoma’s natural abundance.

The tasting room and estate was built to highlight this lens with “dramatic angles, clean lines and a focus on natural light. The new 4,000 sq. ft. hospitality space has been constructed to include a seated tasting bar and collection of private rooms for elevated experiences; outside, the space features an outdoor terrace overlooking the estate vineyards facing west towards the Russian River.”

All this being said, Katz knows Healdsburg and it’s offerings well. The recent growth in the downtown and surrounding areas, like the newly opened Montage Healdsburg, signals a massive surge in tourism. So, where should visitors begin? See below for Jesse Katz suggestions on where to stay, where to eat and, of course, where to taste wine.

Montage Healdsburg

The newly opened space is a bastion of all things Healdsburg with 130 bungalows scattered across 258 acres of land. Each room has 1/3 of the space dedicated to outdoors living with cozy lounges and a fire pit. For those seeking activities, hiking trails through the towering oaks and rolling vineyards are scattered throughout the property while the 11,500-square-foot spa and pool are great ways to unwind during any stay. A seasonal poolside restaurant offers frozen drinks and always changing bites while the brunch is a daily ode to local produce. Dinner is idyllic with a rotating seasonal menu offering at Hazel Hill or take some products to go from the on site Country Store.

The Matheson

This locally sourced haven for all things food and wine is helmed by Dustin Valette, a generations old Healdsburg resident. The newly updated restaurant space has multiple floors, a stunning rooftop space, private dining options and a wine wall with 88 wines on tap. So why did Vallette pick this space?

His great-grandfather used to bake bread there.

While the menu has expanded significantly from crusty loaves of sourdough, the dining options include a rotating micro-seasonal selection from house cured caviar to heritage tomatoes, foraged mushrooms, local duck and beyond.

Butterfly Aviation

The picturesque hills of Healdsburg lend themselves to Sunday drive but a helicopter provides an entirely new perspective. The team at Butterfly Aviation crafts custom tours of Healdsburg and surrounding areas from Bodega Bay to the Golden Gate Bridge which makes the most of any afternoon or day trip. With options from 30 minute tours to full on wine tastings, nothing is as visually stunning as a view from the top. Pilots are fully vetted with, on average, over 20 years of experience and offer some of the best tours around.

Aperture Cellars

No trip would be complete without a vineyard tour and wine tasting and Aperture Cellars is ready to serve. A total of 42 acres of property includes 10 acres of old vine Zinfandel planted all the way back in 1912. The Estate Field Blend is made from those almost hundred year old vines making for a perfectly paired bit of history with every sip. Aperture Cellars is known for their single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon but don’t sleep on the Malbec, red Bordeaux Blend, Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin Blanc.

Newer vines on the remaining 22 acres of the property include plantings from some of Katz’s most treasured wineries and regions such Merlot clones from Pétrus, Sémillon, d’Yquem and his favorite cool climate Cabernet.

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