One way to instill this forever-and-ever mood is to choose a wedding site that has its own long, beloved history, to set that first stage of a solid foundation and the mood of cherished memories.
Nearly 150 years is a good start, yes? The mossy stone building where Soda Rock Winery stands today was built in 1869, as one of Healdsburg’s first general stores and post offices. In 1880, it became Alexander Valley’s first bonded winery. Today, it is one of the most beautiful, but off-the-radar locations for a wedding.
For a long time, in fact, the historic property lay very sadly in ruins, all but lost on the curve of Highway 128 leading from Healdsburg to Calistoga. Various owners struggled to keep the winery running through 1973, and then in the 1980s, the Tomka family was able to temporarily revive business.
Soon, though, it closed again, the surrounding vineyard lands were sold off for debt, and it sat as a crumbling stone building until 2000, when Sonoma County winery owners Ken and Diane Wilson purchased it.
After more than a decade of extensive, expensive renovation, Soda Rock is finally complete. And now, it lauds over the Valley as a graceful tribute to Alexander Valley history, complete with a tasting room anchored by a long, dark polished wood bar that had been salvaged from a local tavern.
A huge, airy and natural-light filled barrel room in the back has been converted to private party space for lavish events up to 250 guests, and several new guest suites have been added to the property for honeymooners and wedding party members wishing to stay the night.
Acclaimed Healdsburg painter Wade Hoefer keeps his studio in the building, and room after room features his serene landscapes.
Choose from two outdoor sites, three spacious indoor sites or a combination of both, all with vineyard views. Couples can consult with the winery’s certified wedding planner, to select the Barn and Garden, Courtyard, Tasting Room, Lounge, Ballroom and Annex, or Vineyard Room.
As a thoughtful extra, weddings include a white wine and cheese tray for the bridal party and, when the event is through, celebrants can retire to one of the newly built guest suites, including a water tower above artist Hoefer’s studio, or the “Artist’s Den” which is the private front room of the studio, or three separate suites on the other side of the tasting room.
A memorable time, and first addition to that lifelong scrapbook of wedding bliss, is guaranteed.
Details: Soda Rocky Winery, 8015 Highway 128, Healdsburg, 707-433-3303, sodarockwinery.com.