Truckee River Winery

A variety of Truckee River Wines. Photo credit: Cathleen Calkins


A bright red barn is the first thing to grab your attention driving east on Brockway Road from downtown Truckee. Black cursive writing on a small sign tells passers-by it’s a tasting room for Truckee River Winery. Inside, the barn looks like a typical winery. There’s a bar, a lineup of wines from whites to reds, a swill bucket, and tempting artisan foods on nearby shelves. The only thing absent are vineyards stretching for acres outside the back door.

Truckee River is an urban winery and winemaker Russ Jones crafts award-winning wines using the grapes of others. While the concept is not new, Jones is doing his part to revive the industry with innovations like securing exclusive rights to old vine sections in California’s rich wine country and using elevation and mountain temps as an advantage. Turns out both serve to slow the fermentation and aging processes.

The Winery also strives to make a meaningful impact on the California wine-making community. Family-owned and operated by Russ Jones, winemaker, and Katie Jones, Russ’s daughter and Truckee River’s director of sales and marketing, they seek relationships with growers that mirror their business model. Opting instead for family-operated vineyards willing to forge relationships based on friendship and sustainable practices, like hand- farming. All of Truckee River’s vineyard partnerships have existed 10 years or more.

The barn serves as the tasting room. It’s comfortable, spacious and when the weather is nice, right outside the front door are a host of activities to enjoy. Try your hand at bocce ball – don’t worry if you’ve never played there’s monthly instruction during summer. There are also horse shoe pits and a lawn area complete with picnic tables and bar-b-ques. The later is for guests to grill their own steak (or burgers and dogs) and fresh veggies while enjoying Truckee River’s award-winning wines. Of course, if you’re not inclined to bring your own dinner, a menu of tapas-style foods is available, including cheese platters, Panini’s, antipasto, and even offers gluten-free options.

The tasting room is open every day from 11:00 am until 8:00 pm. Happy hour runs Monday through Friday between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm. For a fun respite after an active day, go for happy hour. You’ll save on Truckee River’s wines and their selection of microbrew beers from local, like-minded brewers.

Listing of Truckee River Winery Wines

2011 White Barn Pinot Gris
2010 Russian River Valley Chardonnay
Volo California Red Table Wine
2009 Red Barn Red
2009 Chicago Park Merlot
2008 Old Vine Lodi Zinfandel
2007 Garys’ Vineyard Pinot Noir  (Just received the Double Gold award nod from San Francisco Chronicle and also my personal favorite.)
2007 Garys’ Vineyard Best Man Pinto Noir
Red Barn Red Après Dessert Wine

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