Ruby Hill Winery is a great place to start any day of touring wineries. There is a nice area beside the tasting room for a picnic, plenty of parking and artisanal cheeses and meats available for purchase in the tasting room. We like to start our tours with a snack. Not only is this a delicious kick-off for a fun day, the carbs help buffer some of the wine throughout the afternoon. They have a broad range of wines, so there is something for everyone to enjoy.
We recently had the wonderful opportunity to celebrate the birthday of a good friend. Even more wonderful? The celebration took place on the Ruby Hill Winery bus! We’ve been members of the Ruby Hill Winery for several years, but had never had the chance to ride their festive bus and tour their entire facility. What a great way to celebrate a wonderful event!
Ruby Hill Winery
400 Vineyard Avenue
Pleasanton, CA 94566
Daily, 11:00am – 5:30pm
$5.00 tasting fee
But on this day, we didn’t spend time in the (wonderful) tasting room, or on the Members Only patio. We were there for the winery bus! The bus (they call it the “Mello Cielo Vineyard Experience”) is amazing. The paint job gives you a hint about the level of fun that’s about to begin. The seats are customized wine barrels, the hand-hold bars are wrapped in brass vines. Oh, and the driver has a large ice chest that looks very encouraging about times to come!
The bus tour starts with a brisk drive into the vineyards. The Ruby Hills Winery is surrounded by their own vineyards, which are managed for them by Wente. We had a chance to taste grapes, right off the vine. Since we were visiting right at harvest time, this was delicious! After a few minutes, yes you guessed it, the bus stopped and we all piled out. After a brief overview from our driver, we got down to business. Champagne drinking business, that is.
After a bit more touring on the bus, we arrived at the wine making building. This is where the magic happens! We saw the vats, hoses, destemmers, crushers and tanks that are all part of getting the grape juice ready for the barrel. And speaking of barrels, we had a chance to taste a number of maturing wines, right out of the barrel.
The capstone of our tour was a visit to the renovated water tower. This is now an intimate tasting room. We were offered several premium wines to enjoy, along with paired cheeses, meats and nuts. Quite an experience!
All good things must come to and end, and this was no exception. After finishing the wine and snacks, we were whisked back to the tasting room. We capped off our time with a port tasting, served in chocolate cups. What a great way to end an amazing experience!
We have enjoyed the Ruby Hill Winery many times. As Gem Society members, we love their wine release parties. That is all great, but if you get a chance, don’t miss the wine bus tour!
About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?