As you recall, in years past there was some generational sniping between baby boomers and the Millennials. In fact, some people in their 40s complained LOUDLY about the unabashed party-inclined younger set, ages 21 to 31, who enthusiastically paired wine with beer and martinis.

This year organizers of the Wine Road Barrel Tasting have encouraged the 145 wineries participating to post this sign to remind everyone that this is a wine tasting and other libations are simply not welcome, thank you very much.

“We’re not trying to be rude, but this is a wine tasting,” said chief organizer Beth Costa. “It’s not a party and we don’t want a party crowd … we want people to utilize dump buckets.”


Just a heads up for robust sippers: During the barrel tastings, there will be two California Highway Patrol cars making a sweep through the region – Dry Creek, Russian River and Alexander Valley. And for those planning to taste on the Healdsburg Square, keep your eye out for two roaming Healdsburg police officers. “We’ve spent thousands of dollars on this, which is fine, to set the tone,” Costa said.

No major problems have occurred during barrel tasting weekends in the past, just minor skirmishes with tasting room staff cutting off some of the most boisterous.

It appears advance ticket sales are up by 1000 this year, with 19,000 tickets sold. The number of participating wineries is also on the rise, up from last year’s 114.

Today Costa and others are passing out cases of glasses, wrist bands, sodas for designated drivers and RSVP lists to a stream of cars as wineries prep for the three-day event this weekend and next. The hours are 11 a.m.  to 4 p.m. each day for both weekends, with advance tickets $20, $30 at the door. For more information, visit

Are you a robust sipper or a serious spitter? Do you expect this year’s Wine Road Barrel Tasting to be wild or tame?

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