Past the public tasting rooms of Sonoma’s popular wineries is a fascinating world where winemakers work tirelessly to perfect the ultimate vintage by masterfully caring for their grapes, finding the ideal timing for harvesting, and watching carefully as their liquid ferments to perfection. It is a secret society of craftsmen who rarely ascend from their cellars.
Well, the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance was able to coax a few preeminent winemakers out from their grape-filled existences to showcase their wines. Some exclusive wineries open up their cellars for a rarefied glimpse into the private world of winemaking and prestige. The Inaugural Signature Sonoma Valley weekend event gave the public an opportunity to meet Sonoma winemakers as well as visit wineries that are usually not open to the public.
Signature Sonoma Valley brought the historic Sonoma Valley wine region to life with exclusive access to rare and highly sought after wines, vineyard tours, private winemaker-hosted tastings, exquisite dinners paired with Sonoma Valley wines curated by a panel of expert sommeliers, and intimate conversations with wine luminaries.
Participating vintners and growers included Amapola Creek Winery by Richard Arrowood, Anaba Wines, AUTEUR Wines, Belden Barns, Beltane Ranch, Buena Vista Winery, B Wise Vineyards, Canihan Family Winery, Chateau St. Jean, Dane Cellars, DUNSTAN Wines, Durell Vineyard, Enterprise Vineyards, GlenLyon Vineyards & Winery, Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, Idell Family Vineyard, Kamen Estate Wines, Kistler Vineyards, Korbin Kameron, Landmark Vineyards, La Rochelle Winery, Pangloss Cellars, Petroni Vineyards, Price Family Vineyards & Estates, Ram’s Gate Winery, Sangiacomo Family Vineyards, Schug Carneros Estate, Sojourn Cellars, Stone Edge Farm Estate Vineyards & Winery, The Donum Estate, and Three Sticks Wines.
Celebrated wine czar Jean-Charles Boisset hosted the elegant PRELUDE dinner on Friday night at his historic winery Buena Vista. Guests enjoyed an incomparable range of wines hand-selected by a panel of sommeliers to accompany an exquisite dinner prepared by Buena Vista Winery Chef Victor Scargle.
Saturday was filled with IMMERSION events that took guests behind-the-vines at Durell Vineyard or Kamen Estate Vineyard, two of California’s most treasured hidden gems. Few people have the opportunity to visit these remote vineyards, let alone enjoy a proprietor-guided exploration of their fascinating nuances. Guests indulged in intimate, curated tastings from each vineyard, while enjoying a sommelier-moderated discussion with the winemakers who crafted the wines.
The idyllic Beltane Ranch hosted an exquisite farm-to-table lunch paired with vineyard designate wines from famed Sonoma Valley sites. Hosted by the fifth generation Beltane Ranch family and their estate chef, this meal was one to remember.
The weekend concluded on Saturday evening with the ECHELON Dinner at Ram’s Gate Winery, one of California’s most famed wineries, known for its dramatic design and panoramic views of the Carneros hills. During the gourmet dinner, guests raised a glass with Sonoma Valley wine luminaries, and each vintner/grower host selected a unique wine from his or her personal collection to share – a bottle both rare and personal that speaks to the history, passion, and innovation that brought Sonoma Valley worldwide attention.
Ravenswood winemaker Joel Peterson opened a rare bottle of 1933 Larkmead California Burgundy.
Jeff O'Neill, owner of Ram’s Gate shared a 1933 bottle of California Growers Tawny Port.
Squire Fridell, owner of GlenLyon Vineyards opened a magnum of 1978 Chateau Mouton Rothschild from Pauillac France.
Because of the overwhelming success of this event, the organizers plan on making Signature Sonoma Valley an annual event.