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Anderson Valley Wine Pro

Kristy Charles, executive director of the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association
Photo caption
Kristy Charles grew up amid the vines of Boonville, Calif.

Just as her family was launching its own Foursight Wines, 27-year-old Kristy Charles—a fourth-generation native of Mendocino County—took a gig as executive director of the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association.

Q What's up in the Anderson Valley?
A We now have 30 wineries and about 88 vineyards. Pinot noir is our star, with the most acres. After that chardonnay, gewürztraminer, pinot gris, riesling...

Q Where can people go to try the wines?
A Twenty wineries are open for tasting, either with regular hours or by appointment. Three are brand-new: Foursight, Jim Ball Vineyards, and Phillips Hill Estates.

Q Highlights of summer?
A We don't have the traffic and crowds of Sonoma and Napa, and the person pouring in the tasting room is often the owner or winemaker. You can hike in the redwoods at Hendy Woods State Park or drive a half hour to the coast. For ideas, check

Q Have any favorite places to eat?
A For fantastic carnitas, try Libby's, a Mexican place in Philo. I love everything at the Boonville Hotel—seared ahi, local duck. Lauren's in Boonville serves an excellent burger on locally made bread. For coffee—the Mosswood Market.

Q The best spot to stock up for a picnic?
A Lemon's Market in Philo is a great one-stop. In Boonville I often hit the Anderson Valley Market for drinks, the Boonville General Store for cheeses.

Q A Mendocino native's secret pleasure?
A Swimming in the Navarro River at Paul M. Dimmick campground. Ask the staff where to go.

Photography by Gabriela Hasbun

This article was first published in July 2009. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.