But Healdsburg’s Peterson Winery, a family-run outfit specializing in sustainably farmed Dry Creek Valley wines, does them all one better. Dozens better.
Each varietal of Peterson wine features a different animal on the label, from owls to hummingbirds, stags to goats. Point of fact, a tiger has not been spotted as of yet – I’ll get back to you about that – but a bear, check, and now a proud mountain lion graces the label of Peterson’s new release, the 2010 Bradford Mountain Zinfandel ($38).
To celebrate that and their 25th anniversary, second-generation winemaker Jamie Peterson has invited Occidental’s Wild Cat Education and Conservation Fund (WCECF) to host a show on Thanksgiving weekend, Friday, Nov. 23, featuring mountain lion Shoshone and bobcat Takoda. WCECF promotes wild cat conservation efforts through outreach education programs.
I’ve seen them and their “ambassador cats” on two occasions, at San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences nightlife program and the Sebastopol Community Cultural Center, where they did a really fine job of wowing audiences – children, and, in the case of the Academy of Sciences nightlife event, cocktail-toting adults, alike – with acrobatic cat antics, while emphasizing the urgent need to protect these animals in their native habitats.
The habitat at Peterson’s tasting room has changed a bit since my last visit. Situated in an enclave of winery buildings on a bluff above Dry Creek Valley Road, Peterson now has a long tasting bar, chairs and table to lounge around in, but remains as homey and unpretentious as it gets. I mean, for goodness sakes, they sell wine in a box here! The cheeky Old School Zinfandel ($19), sold in a hermetically-sealed bag-in-the-box that will outlast any open bottle, is a simple if irresistibly tasty treat equaling four bottles of sweet vanilla and raspberry goodness.
Peterson Winery, 4791 Dry Creek Rd., Bldg. 7, Healdsburg (a little ways north of the Dry Creek General Store). Open from 11am to 4:30pm daily. Free tasting for groups smaller than eight. Wild cat show Friday, Nov. 23, 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Seating is limited; RSVP to friends@PetersonWinery.com or 707-431-7568.