Tour to Delectus Winery - July 30, 2011

Vern Rogers  by Vern Rogers, Redwood Region Vice President

The day started as many do this time of year: overcast and a little misty. The temperature was in the mid-60's as we gathered at Kal's Kaffe Mocha in Windsor. A good crowd was present when I arrived at just past 9:00am. I had come out from my weekend home in Forestville, and driven to Kal's by back roads from there. As I drove eastbound on Airport Blvd toward Kal's, I noticed CHP officers setting up a shade tent and putting out cones.  Unbeknownst to me, the bike route for the Vineman Triathalon followed the part of Airport Blvd directly passing Kal's.

The CHP/Vineman connection was to provide some creative route (re)management, and cause some of the attendees a bit of confusion. Highway Patrol officers closed off our exit onto Airport just before we left the parking lot. A few of us at the end lost sight of the main group just as we circuitously found our way back onto Airport. Four cars in front of me, Holger and Martina Seibert took the onramp for southbound 101 instead of continuing across the overpass to Old Redwood Highway.

Figuring that it was better to make sure they could get back on route, I followed them onto the freeway. Holger must have figured out the mistake soon afterward as he took the Mendocino Ave exit a couple of miles down the road. At this point, we had all figured out that actually reading the route directions would be a good thing (Kurt constantly reminds me of this fact). A quick trip back over to northbound 101, and the exit at Mark West Springs/River Rd had us on track again.

After nice ride over the hills between the Sonoma and Napa valleys, we made our way to the beautiful Silverado trail and headed South with a gorgeous blue sky revealing itself at last. Several miles further, we took a left up into Sage Canyon and onto Pope Valley. On our way through Pope Valley, we encountered two bicycles and a small pickup truck block the road around a blind turn. 

This is an appropriate time to mention risk management. Every time we start our engines and pull onto the road, we are at some risk. We can mitigate this risk by knowing our cars very well, and by being present, alert, and aware of our surroundings. Paying attention to speed limits also mitigates risk. We try to stress these facts at each and every driver's meeting, and yet even doing everything right does not remove all risk.

Almost every single car managed to come around that turn and get past the obstruction without incident. Two cars did not. No one was injured. What did happen was that a third car came around the turn when two others were already stopped behind the pickup, and there was not enough room left to stop behind the second car. The driver of the third car was able, due to his skill level, to pull to the right of the stopped vehicles. Unfortunately, this left his Boxster sideways on a very steep, rocky hillside. Traction and gravity fought. Gravity won, and he
slid down into car number two from directly above its passenger side. Both vehicles had some mostly cosmetic damage, and were able to continue on for the rest of the tour.

I was greatly impressed by the calm, understanding, even friendly manner with which the owners of the two cars handled this incident.

Back to the tour....

After a brief and welcome rest stop a little farther down the road, we continued on over Howell Mountain and Deer Park roads back down to Silverado once more, then on up to Hwy 128, where after a short while we made a right onto Ida Clayton Road. Sometimes the best things await at the end of a long journey. This is certainly the case with the new location for the Delectus Winery. The view over the hills toward the coast was stunning, and we arrived not only to this, but also to a very warm, friendly welcome from winery owner Gerhard Reisacher, who
had prepared a feast under the tree-shaded hilltop area where he is about to construct the new winery buildings for Delectus.

Club members were treated to a complimentary tasting of 6 different (and excellent) red varietals prior to and during a very relaxed meal, with tri-tip and chicken provided by the winery complimented by a tasty assortment of potluck items brought by Club members. Discounts were offered for wine purchase and many of our brethren took full advantage with some joining the Delectus wine club as well. Great drive, beautiful weather, fantastic food, fantastic view, and excellent company... it doesn't get much better.



Delectus Winery

Club members enjoying great wind and food in a beautiful setting
(photo by John Jackson)