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Jigar Wines in Forestville

Outside Patio of Jigar Wines in Forestville

During your next visit to Forestville, stop into the small and quaint Indian-influenced Jigar Wines Tasting Room, owned by Jigar Patel. 

Meet the Patel

The surname Patel is so common in India, and in the Indian state of Gujarat more specifically, there’s a 2014 romantic comedy-documentary called Meet the Patels that explores the matchmaking world within the Patel name, fueled both by tradition and databases. 

In the Sonoma County wine industry, it seems we’ve just got one — and no, of course that doesn’t include Napa Valley. They’ve got their own Patel. 

In Gujarat, the name Jigar Patel is “like Mike Smith,” I’m told at the tasting room. But the winery owner’s name stand out a bit to Indian and Indian-American visitors who are driving through Forestville on their way to the coast or touring wine country, so they often just have to stop and ask: is this winery really run by an Indian guy, or what’s the story?

The story is that Jigar Patel, a Canadian native who grew up in Chicago and attended Purdue University in Indiana, met up with winemaker Josh Bartels and other Hoosiers and followed them out to the good life in Sonoma County. Here, Bartels formerly made wine with Kokomo Winery (note the Hoosier theme), and Patel got into real estate and then winemaking, like the rest of the gang.

The Jigar Tasting Room

Located in downtown Forestville, which is only a few blocks long, the Jigar (it’s pronounced like the dram of liquor, “jigger”) tasting room is hard to miss. It’s a converted gas station that was dressed up as an art gallery at one time. The decor finds images of Ganesh, the elephant-headed deity, alongside Grateful Dead and other music posters. 

The higher-priced 2013 Sedition Pinot Noir ($75) is winemaker Bartels’ baby, I’m told at the tasting room, and is a blend from two sought-after Green Valley of Russian River Valley vineyards. An undertow of tannin sweeps up the wine’s light, bright, herbal berry tea flavors.

Jigar’s Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($27) has a spicy, wood, and cinnamon character to kick off a lineup of aroma-driven, spicy Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Also on the menu, plushly fruited 2014 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel ($28) and 2013 Raja Cuvée ($24), a Syrah-based blend that’s named for Patel’s dog—“King!”
Details: 6615 Front Street, Forestville 95436, Daily, 11–5pm. Tasting fee, $5. 707-820-1225

Also In the Forestville Area

A great brunch or lunch can be found right in Forestville’s Backyard — which is the name of this restaurant that features produce and baked goods from local farms and bakeries. 

Heading out of town to the south, coming up soon is Mirabel Road, the quick way to get to Russian River beaches and canoe rentals. Continue straight on Highway 116 for the direct route to Guerneville. Bicyclists special: take the quiet, winding detour on Martinelli Road through forest and vineyard.

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