Anderson Valley isn’t the only Wine Country region in Mendocino worth visiting.
With a population of less than 800, the tiny town of Hopland seems frozen in the 1800s and is often bypassed by redwood-seeking travelers on Hwy 101. But contrary to its name, Hopland is a largely undiscovered, wine-centric destination that’s free of crowds and doesn’t take things too seriously.
The best part: it’s within a two-hour’s drive of San Francisco and getting there doesn’t require driving a switchback-ridden country road.
Where to Stay in Hopland
The Library at the Thatcher Hotel in Hopland. (Courtesy of Thatcher Hotel)
When pulling into Hopland, you can’t miss the dark and brooding Victorian that’s been restored and reinvented as The Thatcher. Ultra-minimalist, clean, and modern rooms with high ceilings provide an interesting contrast to the boutique hotel’s Victorian architecture, but downstairs, the sit-in library and grand brass and marble bar feel straight out of Gatsby. Cocktails can be enjoyed at the bar, on the front porch, or out by a fire pit and you can even book a 90-minute experience featuring four mini cocktails and bites.
Hopland is pretty sleepy, but The Thatcher has a pool, bocce court, and a courtyard for post-wine tasting hangs, plus they plan to have music and an outdoor bar this summer. In the mornings, you can grab coffee and pastries at the in-house Cafe Poppy. // 13401 Hwy 101 (Hopland), thatcherhotel.com
Where to Go Wine Tasting in Hopland
(Courtesy of Saracina Vineyards)
Set on a beautiful farm, you could easily lose an entire afternoon at Campovida. A truly rustic retreat, you’ll find vineyards, lush gardens, chickens, and bocce courts. The winery produces a diverse array of organic and biodynamically farmed wines including several grape varieties you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in California—like arneis, dolcetto, and nero d’avola, all Italian natives. Cozy up for a tasting at a picnic table, or book the garden tasting for something more private. The latter comes with a picnic basket of wines and snacks for a totally contactless experience in the garden or under the shade of a gorgeous and towering oak. // 13601 Old River Road (Hopland), campovida.com
So much more than a working winery, Terra Sávia is a whimsical collective for wine, olive oil, art, beauty, and agriculture. Their massive and eclectic barn hosts wine tastings of their still and sparkling bottlings, a working olive mill, farm stand, local art, and even a vintage Porsche. Outside, you can freely wander the expansive grounds; explore the organic vineyards, relax with a bottle of wine at a picnic table, and say hello to the animals (sheep, goats, cats, chickens, and even a friendly cow). Before you leave, stock up on olive oil and moisturizing cream, soap, and spritzers made from natural ingredients like lavender rosemary, and lemon. Terra Savia also has a vineyard-view guest house complete with a pool, hot tub, and small lake, available for rent by up to four people. // 14160 Mountain House Rd. (Hopland), terrasavia.com
This 250-acre, classic wine estate is home to vineyards, wine caves, a grove of 140-year-old olive trees (where you can enjoy a wine picnic), gardens, beehives (ask for a taste of the honey), and wildlife; they’ve even got alpacas and wild boar. Book a tasting at the contemporary tasting room that expertly blends into the surrounding landscape and sample an array of wines including malbec, zinfandel, sauvignon blanc, and rosé. // 11684 South Hwy 101 (Hopland), saracina.com
The Golden Pig Wine Shop
Stop in at The Golden Pig Wine Shop, which carries a handpicked selection of Mendocino County wines from small producers, most of which don’t have their own tasting rooms. Grab a couple bottles from the Coro Mendocino collection, representing the best ultra-premium zinfandels in the county (if you’re not a zin fan, these wines just might convert you). The shop also hosts tastings on the patio Wednesdays through Sundays. // 13420 US Hwy 101 (Hopland), sipmendocino.com
Where to Eat in Hopland
The Boss Hog. (Courtesy of The Golden Pig)
The Golden Pig
From the same owner as the wine shop, The Golden Pig fuses fresh, local ingredients with hearty comfort dishes. Their mission is to use the “whole farm,” which means they’re always finding ways to integrate every ingredient or cut of meat into their menu so as not to waste anything. Their signature is The Boss Hog, a Magruder Ranch beef patty stacked with bacon, cheddar cheese, banana peppers, and—get this—a sliced hot dog topped with Carolina sauce on a fresh bun. // 13380 S. Hwy 101 (Hopland), thegoldenpig.com
Stock Farm Hopland
Located right next door to The Thatcher, you can order takeout from Stock Farm and then eat it by one of the hotel’s fire pits. Stock Farm is best known for its original wood-fired pizzas, like the potato version (fingerlings, Pt. Reyes blue cheese, green onion, rosemary) and mushroom (mozzarella, shitake, oyster, and cremini mushrooms, and leeks) versions. Many of their ingredients come from Campovida’s farm and they offer a large selection of Campovida wines to pair with your meal. // 13441 South Hwy 101 (Hopland), stockfarmhopland.com
Go Hiking in Hopland
(Courtesy of the University of California Hopland Research & Extension Center)
University of California Hopland Research & Extension Center
You wouldn’t guess by its name, but the UC Hopland Research & Extension Center is a fantastic hiking spot. With more than 5,000 acres of mostly oak woodlands and grassland, you can get a few miles in under the sunshine, taking in beautiful views and stumbling across UC’s herds of sheep and other wildlife. Just make sure you register online before you go. While you’re there, you can even purchase some lamb to stock your freezer, and at the beginning of each year, visitors get a chance to bottle feed the babies. // 4070 University Road (Hopland), hrec.ucanr.edu