Markko Winery owner Arnie Esterer is serious about growing grapes and making wine but not as concerned with keeping up fashionable appearances. His tasting room isn’t anything flashy; in fact, it’s easy to drive right on by the stone pillars marking the entrance thinking it’s someone’s house. The building is rough around the edges with puppies playing in the dirt-packed front yard and no parking lot.
A narrow hallway leads past the production area to a small room where one communal table takes up most of a space cluttered with dusty antiques. In spite of the lackluster decor, Markko is one of the most well-established and respected wineries in the area (other local vintners consider Arnie a mentor). The white wines we sampled were some of the best we found in the county. Even better, tastings are free, a refreshing rarity in this neck of the woods. Most bottles range between $20 and $35.
The tasting room closes at 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, around the time most other local wineries are just starting to tune up for live entertainment. Markko is definitely earthy, old-fashioned and low-key, geared toward visitors who care more about the wine than the trappings.