We would like to thank Tom and Maple Creek Winery in Mendocino for having us. We were offered a tasting in exchange for our honest review. As always. The opinions below are our own.

Our first stop on our little Mendocino weekend getaway was for a wine tasting. You can’t visit Mendocino without stopping at least one winery. The whole area is covered in vineyards, as you drive along Highway 128 the road is lined with trees and miles and miles of vineyards. Where there are vineyards there are wineries. Now, you should know, we are not wine people. In fact, we knew very little about wine but since we were coming to wine county we couldn’t not do at least do one tasting. Maple Creek Winery so graciously hosted us for a tasting so we didn’t have to make a choice on which one of the many we would do. I am so glad this is where we ended up! 

Maple creek winery is a great little winery in Mendocino

Our Story

As you come up the driveway you see a welcoming sign with the wineries slogan: “enter as strangers, leave as friends” This put us at ease, we hoped this would be the case since we two newbies were unsure of how this experience would go. We continued up the drive and got out of the car to be greeted by Buster, the Australian shepherd. This was a good sign. Anywhere with dogs is a good place to be. (We would soon find out that the whole Mendocino area is VERY dog-friendly, we were a little sad our furr stayed at home). 

buster at maple creek winery mendocino

We walked in and the owner, Thomas, greeted us with a warm “where ya been?”. The funny part is, we were running late, so we thought that was what he was referring to. Turns out he didn’t know we were late and was just playing around. We felt in good company right away. We sat at the bar then he placed the “spit jar” out on the counter and then began to tell us all about his wines as he poured our first glass. A lovely thing about this area being a secret it’s that these things remain very intimate, at first it was just us. How often do you get a private wine tasting?? Anyway, back to the story…

Tom of Maple Creek Wineries with his beautiful labels

David and I shared an unsure stare, grab the glass and sip, swish and spit… that’s what you do right? That’s the hoity-toity people in the movies do it right? We shared another awkward stare and then made some small talk. Thomas asks us what wine we prefer. David tried to muster what little wine knowledge he had to answer and I just chirp, I like the sweet ones! At this moment, the look on Thomas’s face was clear, our cover was blown so we spill it, we had no idea what we are doing. But we wanted to learn! 

Wine Tasting

Thomas chuckled and we got down to business. He refreshed our glasses and gave us a lesson on the proper way to taste the wine. For those that are unsure of wine tasting I will give you a rundown:

  1. First Step: Swirl in the glass
  2. Second Step: Stick your nose in the glass and smell it
  3. Third step: Sip and slurp to add air and cover the palette.
  4. Fourth step: Explore the flavors

You probably don’t want to get drunk while tasting so you don’t typically drink the whole glass. You can pour out what you don’t finish in the jar. That’s right. It’s not really a spit jar. You can spit the wine out in it if you wish but that’s usually more if you don’t like it.

The more you know!

We chatted and learned all about the Winery and its history. When another couple came in, without missing much of a beat we all began to chat and share stories of our travels. There is definitely something to this little place that feels homey. We sampled all the wines and truly enjoyed the company. We even took a couple bottles for the road.

Should you find yourself in Mendocino looking for a winery, be sure to detour to Yorkville and pay Thomas, Huston and this beautiful winery a visit. 

Maple Creak Winery in Mendocino

Tom’s Story

You can read all about Maple Creek Winery’s story on their website but I would love to end this post with a few things we learned that won’t find there:

He grew up in Los Gatos, which was a fruit farm community. His grandparents both made wine so he grew up with wine on the table and learned how to respect wine, as part of the meal. So wine has always been a part of his life. It was only natural he would find his way back to it after his art career in stain glass and painting. The story of how he got back to wine is a good one:

baby grapes mendocino winery

“My daughter was going off to college. The next day, I am going to the gym, I’m grabbing a real estate magazine on the way out of the gym and it fell on the ground and opened up to this place. Yeah. That was 18 plus years ago so good.”

I love those stories of fate!

winery in mendocino

And lastly, I will leave you with this quote:

“I love wine, I love making wine, I love tasting wine. It’s just part of the whole deal. Artevino is the label I designed and the name I came up with because art and wine are two of my passions I can talk openly about in public” (laughs)

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Show 6 Comments


  1. I love that you included so much background on the gentleman. I love meeting interesting people on my adventures too. Great article!

  2. It looks like such a scenic and peaceful place to sip wine!

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