On any given day, rain or shine, MacPhail’s tasting room in the heart of Sebastopol’s Barlow artisan retail district, is your bet for finding an innovative wine tasting experience.
The location can’t be more convenient—set right on the corner looking out toward the center of the creative district that is home to some of the edgiest bars, restaurants and boutiques in West County. Grab a seat on a sunny day on MacPhail’s patio and take in all there is to love about Sonoma County. You won’t be disappointed with the winery’s tasting options, either.
Keeping it Local
As a pinot noir and chardonnay producer, MacPhail sources most its grapes from vineyards all within a 15-mile radius from Sebastopol. Many of the wines come from a single vineyard, and most of MacPhail’s library is available only at the tasting room.
When you come in to the airy tasting room for a visit, you’ll notice the unique tasting bar made from a fallen oak tree, and a sculpture made from red Radio Flyer wagons going up to the ceiling. You’ll notice the winery doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it is serious about its wines.
Enjoy a flight of MacPhail’s current release pinot noir and chardonnay vintages. The flights change regularly depending on what’s new and exciting. This tasting can be as educational as you want it to be and costs $20 per person. A single tasting fee is waived with the purchase of two bottles.
For a little more depth, the Reserve Tasting explores MacPhail’s top tier wines, including the Mardikian Estate Pinot Noir, Vagon Rogue Pinot Noir and the Vagon Blanc Chardonnay. This special tasting is $30 per person.
If you can plan ahead and want to learn a little about dirt, the Terroir Tasting is for you. Through the stories of each vineyard, you will be led through how Terroir, or the environmental factors that shape the wine, creates distinct characteristics of each wine. The tasting takes place in the Tasting Lounge, created with a special soil room featuring soils from the Toulouse, Pratt, Sundawg Ridge and Mardikian vineyards where the wines are sourced. You will take a deep dive into the soil that feeds the vines and its impact on each vintage. This tasting is $30 per person.
Wine and Cheese Pairing
MacPhail is passionate about working with local producers, including local cheesemakers. With that in mind, the tasting room offers a monthly rotation of local cheeses for visitors to purchase by the platter.
There are 12 different cheesemakers the winery works with, and most of them are from Sonoma County, with a few from Marin County. The variety keeps things fresh and fun.
The cheeses are selected to pair well with MacPhail’s wine offerings. This pairing is $20 and can be added on to any tasting.
Best Seat in the House
MacPhail not only offers a nice place to have a glass of wine, the winery prides itself on being part of the Sebastopol community, and sources everything edible in the tasting room from first the Barlow, then Sebastopol, then Sonoma County.
The winery has been in the Hess family for five generations, and it’s not uncommon to see the current proprieters, Tim and Sabrina Persson, in the tasting room. If you see them, make sure to ask them about that stack of red wagons.