Hard to believe it now, but the middle of January saw temperatures in the mid-70s in the Sacramento region. I decided to take advantage of the spring-like weather and head south to check out a new outdoor wine tasting experience.
Just outside of Galt, east of Highway 99, there is a waterski school called Valensin Waterski Ranch. There you will find a long, beautiful, 15-acre turquoise–blue lake surrounded by tall trees and grapevines. During its history, it has served as a vacation center for waterski enthusiasts visiting from Canada and all around the United States.
The property, which also has accommodations for visiting waterski students, was purchased a couple of years ago by wine industry veterans Colleen and Kirk Ruffell. Upon their takeover, they decided to expand the offerings of the ranch to incorporate an 11–acre on–site vineyard that was planted 18 to 20 years ago, and they have recently opened Valensin Vineyard & Winery.
The winery is open Friday through Sunday, and visitors can make reservations and come enjoy a glass or bottle of their wine, named The Plunge, produced from locally grown fruit while overlooking the water. There are fire pits surrounded by Adirondack chairs arranged at the edge of the lake, and tables and other seating available on the floating deck behind the tasting room. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can rent a pedal boat and sip your wine as you take a cruise out on the water.
The Ruffells have incorporated other offerings such as stand-up paddle boards, live music and food trucks. These extras paired with a line-up of well–made wines are certain to make their corner of the world a true destination location.
To learn more or make a reservation, please visit Valensin Vineyards & Winery.