Located in the Anderson Valley of Mendocino County, Pennyroyal Farm is a family-owned winery, dairy and vegetable farm. This is a great place to visit if you want to do more than just wine tasting, with farm tours, cheese tastings and farm-fresh meals also offered.
Pennyroyal Farm is committed to sustainability and low-waste practices, with their goats and sheep working in tandem with the farm workers to maintain their 23 acres of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir grapes. Approximately 100 goats, 25 sheep and a couple of cows live on the property – just the right number to provide enough compost for the farm without needing to dispose of any extra. The animals are also deployed in the spring to munch on weeds growing on the vineyard.
Farm tours are available at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily and must be reserved in advance. Tours have a maximum group size of 12, and are priced at $20 for adults over 21, $10 for youth 5 – 20 and are free for kids under 5. The tour walks you through the farm’s solar-powered barn, where you get to meet the animals and see the cheesemaking process in action. The tour concludes with a cheese and wine tasting (or juice for non-drinkers).
If you weren’t able to book a tour, you can at least check out the adorable portrait postcards of their goats displayed in the tasting room, which are available for purchase. Wine tasting is complementary and cheese pairings are $10 per person. The wines and cheeses are paired by the length of their aging process, so you get a real sense for how age influences flavor and complexity. Expect the cheese selection to vary throughout the year, as production is scheduled around when the animals are reproducing and bearing milk.
Their current tasting is comprised of seven wines and six cheeses:
- 2016 Brut Cuvée – $45. Pennyroyal’s first ever vintage, crafted from Pinot Noir grapes. Notes of pear and brioche, very light and refreshing.
- 2018 Sauvignon Blanc – $25. Bright, balanced acidity with citrus and white pepper notes. Youthful and approachable. Paired with Laychee, a fresh cheese that undergoes no ageing. Come in early spring to sample the best batches of Laychee, when the fat content in the milk is highest just after the baby animals are born.
- 2018 Chardonnay – $35. Made with grapes sourced from Hammer Olsen Vineyard. Lemongrass and nutmeg notes, slightly oaky. Paired with creamy Velvet Sister.
- 2017 Pinot Noir – $39. Notes of dark cherry and clove. Paired with Boont Corners Two Month Tomme, a hard, aged cheese.
- 2017 Pinot Noir Big Hendy Reserve – $59. Extended barrel aging leads to complex flavors of blackberry and laurel. Paired with Boont Corners Vintage Tomme, aged 5-7 months
- 2014 Pinot Noir – $43. Cherry cola aroma and stewed fruit flavors. Paired with Boont Corners Reserve Tomme, aged 8-12 months.
- 2018 Muscat Vin Doolsey – $32. Balanced orange and honey flavors. Paired with funky Boonter’s Blue cheese.
After your tasting, grab a table outside (if the weather permits) to admire the view of the vineyards. If the cheese tasting only made you hungrier, you can order from a selection of charcuterie boards, lunch plates and snacks crafted by their in-house chef. Each dish is designed around ingredients sourced straight from the farm, some of which you can see growing in raised beds next to the parking lot.
Pennyroyal offers both a traditional wine club membership and a cheese subscription where their products are mailed to your door multiple times per year. Membership perks include free farm tours and access to exclusive events.
If you’re looking for more wine tasting to do in Anderson Valley, check out Navarro (owned by the same family as Pennyroyal Farms), Toulouse Vineyard and Roederer Estate.