Sonoma County: Beer Country?

(Click on any image to enlarge)

Old Hop Kiln on Westside Road Hop Kiln off Westside Road

Yes, that’s right…beer country.  Back in the turn of the century through to about the 1950’s and 60’s hops were Sonoma County’s “King of the Crops”.  I didn’t know this until I came across this beautiful old barn on Westside Road in the Russian River Valley (and Yes, I finally found another barn, and will keep looking for others.)  The architecture of this barn, with its two prominent ‘towers’ projecting from the ridge line of the roof looked familiar to me.  Then I remembered that the Martinelli Winery main building looks similar.  After a little digging I discovered that the Martinelli barn building is in fact a turn-of-the–century hop kiln; a building constructed specifically for the drying of hops prior to brewing beer.

The building I’ve photographed here is part of the Westside Farms Vineyard.  And while they don’t produce or sell wine there, word has it that there may be plans afoot to restore the hop kiln.  But for right now, I’m just enjoying the grace and beauty of an old turn-of-the century building that still stands today as a testament to the past when hops and beer were king of what has now become a world renown wine mecca.

Equipment: Nikon D810; Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 lens; Induro Monopod

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