.Marine Layer Wines redefines Healdsburg tasting experience

With all the hubbub that defines the Wine Country experience for some (tourism, bachelor or bachelorette parties, DUIs), occasionally, locals just want a good glass of wine—in a clean, well-lighted place (forgive me, Hemingway).

But why keep it so simple? While we’re dreaming, why not make it an excellent glass of wine in a clean, well-lighted place designed with aesthetic intention that serves to remind we once dreamt of a utopian future whilst drenched in natural light and surrounded by organic forms that recall the refined bohemianism of the best ’70s décor.

Perhaps this is just my own projection, a childhood fever dream writ large on the warm wood and gallery-white walls reaching for an impossibly high ceiling at Marine Layer Wines’ tasting room in Healdsburg. Regardless—this is the place—a haven that appeared like some Xanadu on the west side of the city square just when we needed to hide.

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Why we needed to hide is another matter. But be it serendipity, providence or the dark thirst that impels wino writers to duck through tasting room doors—we discovered Marine Layer Wines. Readers should too.

A collaboration of beloved brand Banshee Wines co-founder Baron Ziegler and its alum winemaker Rob Fischer, Marine Layer Wines is a Sonoma Coast-focused initiative that frontlines sustainable farming, heritage clones and hand-harvesting. Its name is a hat tip to the thick blanket of fog that ushers in the cooler temperatures of the Pacific Ocean via the Sonoma Coast into the area’s various inland valleys.

A sampling of four seasonal selections from Marine Layer’s tasting menu can be had for $30, but I preferred to commit to full glasses immediately. The 2023 Carina rosé is redolent with hibiscus, white peach grounded with watermelon rind and a piquant kiss of sea-borne brine. Likewise, the 2021 Lyra pinot noir—ripe with red raspberries, a whisper of cardamom and undergirded by a delicate minerality.

But a full glass in a tasting room?

“Exactly,” says Tyler Hayes, who ran the room during this visit. “With our license, we’re able to serve and operate in a kind of a wine bar capacity—we’re able to let people enjoy the wines they like the most. Some people will choose to add on a glass after a tasting.” Or, like this writer, add a glass after a glass before a tasting.

And they never found us.

Marine Layer Wines is located at 308 B Center St., Healdsburg. For more information, call 707.395.0830 or visit marinelayerwines.com.

Daedalus Howellhttps://dhowell.com
Daedalus Howell is the writer-director of the feature filmsPill Head and the upcoming Werewolf Serenade. Learn more at dhowell.com.

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