Wine Time: Russian River Valley Passport

Savor summer's first full weekend by trying some rare and unusual wines.

DAD'S DAY (AFTER DAD'S DAY): Suggesting that a long-standing holiday tradition, like breakfast at a favorite diner or a golf game or a trip to a vintage movie house, be upended, is something no one would ever do. (Well, no one who wants to be nice, at least.) Our parental holidays are steeped in nostalgia and must-dos, after all, from the time we're kids. But when we grow up, and we want to hang with our parents, and celebrate them for them, other ideas can take root. For example, did your pops introduce you to the pleasures of excellent pinot noirs when you hit the right age to enjoy such things? Has he always been a bit of a collector, or, if not a collector, an enjoyer of vintages, the kind of person who follows what a particular vintner is up to, year after year? Then you, dear adult child of a wine-loving parent, are more than free to expand Father's Day into the following weekend, the last weekend in June, when the Russian River Valley Passport Weekend lands, with lavish attention, at "over 30 acclaimed Russian River wineries" over two days: Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28.

EVERY WINERY, SOMETHING DIFFERENT: One of the best parts about a passport weekend is finding something new at someplace new. Yes, you may buy the same label's wares, over and over, because you know it'll be a hit as a host gift or sipping wine around your own house, but stretching your legs, and your palate, is the order of the day during a passport weekend. Davis Family Vineyards'll do some pinot noir-style barrel tasting and VML Winery will have some live music. Tastings and food samples will be available at several of the winehouses, and, indeed, pinot noir shall dominate (though trust, other wines are on the pour). And Dutton-Goldfield is observing National Sunglasses Day on June 27, which means you could score some vino if you wear yours, snap a photo, and win. Would Dad be down with all of this? How is his pinot stock looking? And if he knows this is his Father's Day gift, and it is all happening the weekend after the holiday, will he spend all of June 21 anticipating the weekend to come? So many questions, but a few simple answers, such as this: A weekend in the Russian River Valley schooling yourself on wine, alongside a beloved parent, is about as nice as the start of summer gets.

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