Boonville is in the heart of scenic Anderson Valley, surrounded by gently undulating hills that are green in the winter and golden in the summer, covered with grapevines and apple orchards. This is unspoiled, authentic wine country, where the person pouring wine in the tasting room is often the same person who grew the grapes and created the wine.
This is the case at wineries like Lichen Estate and Foursight Wines, family-owned and operated wineries. Their wines are estate grown and crafted with an eye to responsible farming and stewardship of the land. The wines are first class and reflective of their unique terroirs.
At Pennyroyal Farms, both their vineyard and dairy are sustainably farmed. The cheeses are handmade and seasonal, made from the fresh milk of the farm’s goats and sheep. Book a farm tour to get a behind the scenes view of making wine and cheese, and enjoy a tasting while you’re at it.
If you’re more of a beer fan than a wine aficionado, stop in at Anderson Valley Brewing, where you can tour the brewery and enjoy one of their many classic or seasonal beers in the comfortable tap room or outdoor beer garden. Several beers are named using the local dialect, Boontling, like Boont (Boonville or Boontling) Amber Ale, Poleeko (nearby town Philo) Pale Ale, or Barney Flats (nearby redwood grove Hendy Woods) IPA. Boontling developed as a secret language among local residents in the 19th century, allowing locals to speak freely (and perhaps not all that kindly) in front of out of towners. It is still spoken among Anderson Valley natives and long-time residents. To learn more about Boontling and the colorful history of this beautiful area, stop in at the Anderson Valley Historical Society, located in a little red schoolhouse just north of town. The museum is generally open from 1:00 to 4:00 on weekends from February to November.
The biggest town in Anderson Valley, Boonville is also big on charm. Stroll the main street and explore the many delights of the eclectic shops and galleries. Stop in at Disco Ranch for a bottle of local wine perfectly paired with a charcuterie snack or treat yourself to an ice cream cone at Paysanne.
But leave room for dinner! This small country town has several excellent restaurants whose chefs use, and sometimes grow, locally sourced meats, produce, and herbs. The Boonville Hotel has a gorgeously landscaped patio where the Michelin-starred chef serves creative, refined farm to table dinners, and Uneda Eat’s wood-fired pizzas feature the freshest local ingredients. Lauren’s is a popular gathering place for classic dishes like burgers and salads as well as for their trivia nights and live music.
If you find yourself in Boonville in mid-September, you’re in luck! The annual County Fair and Apple Show takes place then, with a parade, sheep dog trials, rodeo, and of course apple tasting. You’ll feel like you’re in “Charlotte’s Web” at this quintessential county fair in this idyllic country town.
Anderson Valley Brewing Company