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Hook and Ladder Winery - Santa Rosa

The Warmth of Smiles in a Tasting Room

Chaotic, matrix-sweet energy, noise, attentiveness, swirling here and there, happy voices, great wine. 

After driving past rows of grapevines presenting vivid autumn colors and some unusually-shaped open buildings, signs easily directed us to Sonoma County's yellow-submarine of tasting rooms.

The festivities were in a large, clean warehouse stocked with barrels and bottles.

The first time we visited Hook & Ladder, two friendly ladies were "manning" the planks and they welcomed us warmly.

On subsequent visits, staff was different but just as delightful.

Pine boards were stretched across upended wine barrels on one side of the tasting area, and an office area and small counter were across the way. In the middle, we were able to sip, walk and compare wines in a semi-quiet oasis.

Closing time on our first visit was drawing near and only one other customer was there but we felt no sense of being hurried.

The ladies were cheerful and seemed energized by a job that looked a lot more fun than even we tasters were having.

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The ladies seemed energized by a job that looked a lot more fun than even we tasters were having. That speaks of good management.

They made sure to inquire what wines we liked and suggested an order of tasting that would help me decide what Hook & Ladder wine might be the best for us.

The mood at Hook & Ladder's tasting room was, in a word, fun.

A basket of crackers was on another upended barrel nearby for nibbling between wines, and water was also available. No one seemed to notice because the wine was so good.

There was no pressure to buy, no piped-in music, no dour owner with head hung down counting his pennies and no hurry. There was just the rosy good cheer of sharing the fruits of a winery's labor with the public on a sunny California afternoon.

We found out the ladies were nearing the end of a long day of work. Hook & Ladder's crushing party had just come to a close and they had to be tired. However, at no point did we feel hurried or unwanted.

Of course, Hook & Ladder's wine was superb. How could it not have been in such pleasant surroundings. I chose a blend and my companion opted for a Cab. It was a difficult choice for both of us because all the wines we tasted were good. (It tasted just as good at home.)

So we've gone back again and again, sampling the marvels (and buying more wine) created from simple grape juice by a former fireman.

The Hook & Ladder tasting experience is a visit we now recommend to all our friends.

Hook & Ladder Vineyards and Winery
2134 Olivet Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95401


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