We had already traveled over five miles down the curvy, mountainous road out of Redway, California while wondering what we got ourselves into. Then, there was the sign sticking out of a wooden wine barrel that simply read, Wine Tasting. Within moments of hopping out of our vehicles, Andrew Morris was at the gate to greet us. Our conversation quickly became as comfortable as one between longtime friends.
We navigated our RV into its parking spot across the road and set up camp. At our arranged tasting time we entered the family owned property, met Andrew’s wife, Rosie, and took our place at the tables in the rustic setting. An engaged couple in the market for wine to serve at their wedding also joined us. Over the next couple of hours in a relaxed atmosphere, we tasted distinctive wines made from locally grown grapes, learned lessons about making hand crafted wine and about the family’s legacy. The amazing experience left me thirsty for a deeper understanding about wine.
There have been times when I take a sip of a small production wine and say, “This tastes like the earth.” This was one of those moments. I learned from Andrew that Briceland wines are expressive of site. He says that the wine speaks for itself and describes this dedication on his website Briceland Vineyard and Winery.
Truly off the beaten path, Briceland Vineyards sits about 600 feet above the coastal fog. Humboldt County is not one of the regions that first comes to mind when people think of California wines. The unique natural environment of this region creates its terroir, or the characteristic taste and flavor of the wine. So, it’s not just the “earth” that tasted so delicious, but the nature of the vineyard. Briceland has been producing consistently award winning wines for decades based on this understanding.
We learned from Rosie that the vineyard was established in 1985 by Andrew’s mother, Maggie Carey and her husband, Joe Collins. Andrew Morris is proud of being the first, second-generation winemaker in Humboldt County. He was trained by his step-father, Joe Collins, who is known as a wine pioneer for the area. Andrew greatly values his training with someone so skilled and talented.
Joe Collins first planted an experimental vineyard decades ago. His trials and successes initiated wine growing in this area partly fueled by his willingness to help other locals to plant, to grow, and to find success in what was considered an unlikely place to produce quality wine. This dedicatication was what established the commercial production of wine in Southern Humboldt County. Joe Collins may have pioneered the grape growing in Humboldt County, but it’s Andrew and Rosie that continue to strengthen the legacy.
Briceland history a 2018 updated article in The Times-Standard
Although Briceland Vineyards is new to Harvest Host, they are clearly not new to hosting wine tastings. Google Reviews on Briceland make dozens of positive claims such as: “…they took time to share abundant knowledge, a great experience, highly recommend this spot, and quality wines.” Kimmy Carter wrote in her Google Review, “Excellent wines, casual laid back educational tastings. We felt so at home here. We wanted to stay. Every wine we tasted was excellent! We brought a case home. If you are looking for a peaceful relaxing experience, stop here! Wonderful hospitality!”
Harvest Host members are flocking to make an online reservation to stay at Briceland. Andrew knows that his vineyard is the only Harvest Host location for over 90 miles. Its prime location near the Humboldt Redwood Forest may keep Andrew and Rosie very busy this summer. Recent guests have left raving reviews on the Harvest Host site affirming our very experience with comments like: “…great visit and overnight, wonderful hosts, loved every wine.” Opher Z stated in his Harvest Host review, “The experience at Andrew’s was fabulous. Atmosphere, landscape and wine tastings were great. Andrew is knowledgeable and an inspiring wine expert and the wines he prepares are awesome.” The additional bottles of Briceland wine that we purchased that evening did not sit unopened in our RV for long. This wine enthusiast is grateful that we drove down that unlikely road, for the lesson we learned was divine!