Field Stone Winery Tour - August 24, 2013
  by Joan and Mark Campagna, Redwood Region Members

Field Stone Winery: A Cool Summer Destination

Several hands shot up toward the brilliant morning sky in answer to the question: Any new members here today? You bet! Welcome to the Redwood Region Porsche Club and our August Field Stone Winery run!

Rounds of applause greeted new members as well as old friends as we worked our way through the Drivers' Meeting and prepared for our ride. A hallmark of this club is the thought and preparation that goes into making club runs as smooth and pleasant an experience as possible. Today would prove this once again as we adapted to more than one detour in our plans.

Detour #1 was before we even started. The Freeway exit to our meeting place, Kaffe Mocha on Airport Blvd., Santa Rosa, was closed. Not to worry, though...we were as prepared as a troop of boy scouts. We pulled out the "detour alert" we had printed from the Club website and continued on to the meeting place.We didn't know it yet, but it would not be very long before we hit Detour #2.

Club business completed, our convoy of 26 sleek machines pulled out of the parking lot and headed east and south, down Old Redwood Highway, and east on Mark Springs West Road, where we hit Detour #2. This short wait worked in our favor, though, as trip leader Scott Buchanan talked up the signalman, who ushered all of us through as a group.

We hit the "high point" of our route as we continued to travel east on Porter Creek and Petrified Forest Roads through the Mayacamas Mountains that span the Sonoma/Napa county lines. Our pace picked up as the roads rose and fell in curve after curve before us, slipping by in that special way time moves when you're "in the moment." And nothing can put you in the moment like driving a Porsche on a road like this!

Field Stone Winery
 Panoramic view of the vineyards and our Porsches (photo by Paige Gaines) 

Dropping down out of the forest, we followed Foothill Blvd. to Tubbs Lane to CA-29 S., crossing the floor of Napa Valley to regroup on the eastern side on Silverado Trial. From here, the halfway mark on this 50-mile jaunt, we rode south for several miles, turning right onto Deer Park Road to make our way back to the western side of the valley.

As lunchtime approached, we joined the stream of Saturday traffic moving north on CA-128 W. We passed our entry point into the valley again - Petrified Forest Road - but continued north for several more miles. Field Stone Winery was fast approaching!

For those not familiar with this Healdsburg winery, it is renowned as much for its architecture as for its wine. To quote the Field Stone website:  "....the winery is a fascinating, small, underground facility carved into a picturesque oak knoll in the midst of its rolling vineyards...." And - lucky us - waiting there in the shade of a 100-year old oak tree was wine and a catered lunch and an afternoon yet to be filled.

We gathered round the oak for introductions and a few tastings before splitting up into two groups for a tour of the winery. We walked through fields with vines as old as that oak out front and sampled the unpicked grapes, so different from the grapes on our market shelves. The underground rooms were delightfully cool after the day's ride.

Lunch was served beneath the oak tree shortly thereafter: a buffet of BBQ tri-tip, sausages, ranch beans, a salad, and brownies or chocolate cake for dessert. As our party relaxed around the tables (a few of us going back for seconds) we had the chance to catch up with our new members and find out what they thought of the run.

And we hope we do see each of them again, along with the friends and colleagues we already know. Party season is coming up and you know what fun that always is!

Editor's note: Joan asked some new members for feedback about their first Redwood event. Paige and Eileen Gaines' reply is reproduced below.

Hi Joan,

As newbies to the PCA- Redwood Region, this was our first event... and we thoroughly enjoyed it!  Meeting friendly folks, touring twisty roads in the 911, wine tasting and eating BBQ is pretty much my idea of a perfect day.

When we pulled up at Kaffe Mocha, Eileen was a little bit bashful about being thrown into a group of strangers only to realize (as is usually the case at any given affair) that she already knows more people than I do. It was nice to see that we weren't the only first-timers, though, allowing any deer-in-the-headlights expressions/confusion to be shared!

The printed instruction and route sheet was clear. The mileage points were a little out of whack for our old '85er, opening a small can of worms. Does this mean I have the wrong size wheels? A bad speedo sensor? Did someone replace the gearbox in the past? Does this mean I'm really not exceeding the suggested speed limit by as much as I've thought?

The route was great. The Silverado Trail, Hwy 128 and Hwy 29 are some of my favorite roads in that area. Taking Mark West Springs is the preferred road to Calistoga. It was fun playing the game of "keep the Porsche behind you in sight while you watch the taillights in front" along the way!

We were dutiful lemmings and followed the small group that made that final left turn a bit too early. About a half mile down the road I conceded that there was no winery entrance to be found. I believe this eventually made us the very last car to arrive at the correct parking area. This, in turn, allowed us to park in the very most scenic spot next to the vineyard (as was my plan all along) for taking pictures.

Eileen loved the wine (I don't drink) and joined the Field Stone wine club. I loved the BBQ and have begun searching for those Bar-M beef sausages. We both loved the winery, vineyards and the area. I managed to meet my photo quota with my little camera. As I frequently say as I get older, "Sudden stops for photo ops" has replaced "I don't care where I'm going as long as I get there fast!" Here's a link to some pix.  

After a nice afternoon in the company of our new friends and fellow Porsche enthusiasts, we finished the Hwy 128 ride to 101 and headed home.  We're looking forward to the Sept. 28th, Oktoberfest for our next event!