Rivino, “where the river becomes the wine.” This made up word and namesake of a delightful boutique winery on the banks of the Russian River just outside the city of Ukiah is where I found myself relaxing on a glorious sunny day, hanging out with Rivino’s resident Beagle, Benny. Having hiked in the morning and snacked over lunch at the Solar Living Institute Earth Day celebrations, my uprights felt that a couple of hours of relaxation were in order. Benny’s uprights, Jason McConnell & Suzanne Jahnke-McConnell, are lovingly creating a tasting area that showcases the unspoiled beauty of their property. On this fertile and unique land they produce handcrafted wines of delicious flavor and style. My uprights delved into the nuances of the tasting experience; however Benny and I were too busy keeping an eye out for those pesky Jackrabbits that occasionally had the audacity to taunt us in-between our naps and the occasional treat.
Rivino winery started life four years ago when Jason and Suzanne moved onto her family property and they began to develop what is today the label Rivino. Their first bottling in 2008 was Viognier and in only one year the 2009 vintage rated 95 points at the 2011 California State Fair. It has received a host of other Gold Medals from prestigious wine fairs, competitions and experts. Other varietals produced at Rivino are Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese and Sedulous, which means “attention to detail or working painstakingly” and it is the perfect name for what it takes to be a serious wine maker and producer. Sedulous is only available for tasting at the winery and is available for purchase through the Rivino Wine Club.
The tasting room has a cozy inside facility and a terraced outdoor area with fire pit and some unique feats of engineering that Jason has incorporated utilizing his past education and career skills, mechanical engineering and construction, such as the very cool outside service bar. Water for thirsty canines is provided along with a tasty treat or two. Benny was a gracious host and Jason and Benny even preformed a trick to entertain us.
My uprights reported that all the wines they tasted were delicious; the taste sensations on the palate were complex and exciting, with subtle citrus notes and tropical flavors that came together on the palate to create a mouthful of joy. My uprights remarked that so much happened on the palate – and yet one could easily isolate and identify specific flavors. Each wine was unique and interesting, perfect for drinking on its own or pairing with food.
My eyes took in the vistas of the valley as the mouth and nose danced to the smells. With the glorious sun shining down, Benny and I sat under the protective shade of trees, listening to clinking glasses while my uprights learned about the winemaking craft from a couple whose passion and enthusiasm, care and love is captured exquisitely in the nectar they are crafting and then poured lovingly into the glasses, gently swirled, then sniffed appreciatively before being raised to the lips and savored on the tongue and finishing the tasting experience with a satisfying swallow.
What a perfect way of appreciating nature, on a glorious sunny day, celebrating this wonderful planet with new friends and fun canine company. That is what Jason, Suzanne and Benny with Rivino have captured and bottled. When you stop by tell them Hairy sent you.
4101 Cox Schrader Road
Ukiah, CA 95482