Summer of Sonoma

Sometimes, living amidst all the wineries and vineyards gets me a little spoiled. The beauty right now is incredible as the grapes are almost ready to get harvested and become wine. The thing is, since I spend all day at an unbelievably gorgeous winery and drive past awe-inspiring vineyards every day, I typically don’t get around much to see what else is out there. Thankfully, doing that kind of thing IS teeeechnically part of my job, so the week before last I took an outreach day and visit a couple wineries that partner with Ram’s Gate in something called the Sonoma IntertWINEd Alliance.

To cap things off on Saturday, Kin and I stopped into Petroni Vineyards, where our friends and Cody’s future harvest intern worked for the summer. 

Flanagan Wines
90-minute tour and tasting by appointment; $40 per person

I had no clue Flanagan existed until work led me across its path — and I think that’s how they want it. The estate, found 1200 feet above Bennett Valley, has only a dozen or so acres planted. Cody and I had inadvertently driven past the turnoff several times, since it’s right on our route to get to church every week. But the road up the mountain is a crazy one, indeed, and I had to maneuver around a couple of trucks coming straight at me. Yikes! But the view at the top was definitely worth it.

My Flanagan tour was actually a few weeks ago, but since it’s a part of the IntertWINEd Alliance, I wanted to include it in this post. I had accompanied my colleague on a site visit to check out their private event spaces, and was definitely blown away. The lovely Angie gave us a tour and tasted us through a wine flight. The Syrah was my favorite.

Flanagan Basket Press

Look at this adorable basket press.

Oak Casks at Flanagan

My Chardonnay and I enjoying the French oak casks – similar to the ones we have at Ram’s Gate.

The Donum Estate
90-minute tour and tasting by appointment only; $50 per person

Just down the road from Ram’s Gate (and past the amazing Fremont Diner, I might add) is The Donum Estate. Hospitality Director and friend Shannon walked me around and shared with me the story of Donum, which is latin for “gift” (in direct object form, if you are into declension and all that). The president and super cool winegrower Anna farms three different properties: one in Carneros, one in the Russian River Valley and one in Anderson Valley. It was a blast to taste those three Pinot Noirs side by side and compare the different tastes of place.
The Donum Estate Carneros Bonus points: The Donum Carneros Estate was once a dairy farm. We strolled across the pasture before wandering into the vineyard. Thankfully, I strategized my outfit that morning and was rocking a vineyard boots + sundress look.

IMG_5116 Donum Estate Carneros Vineyard

Horizontal Flight at the Donum Estate

The tasting took place in a lovely cottage overlooking the vines. All in all, it was a wonderful experience that I would highly recommend. 

Stone Edge Farm

My next stop was Stone Edge Farm, which was shockingly close to where Cody and I used to live in the western part of Sonoma. My experience isn’t really indicative of what they are now offering, since they now have tastings by appointment just off the plaza and tastings at the Silver Cloud Estate up Cavedale Road, actually pretty close to where we live now. This time, I was able to tour the farm itself and see lots of growing things, including grapevines, before tasting the current release Sauvignon Blanc along with two Cabernet-based blends.

Tasting at Stone Edge Farm

90 minute cave tour and tasting by appointment only; $40 per person

I finished my day at Repris, which I discovered is up Moon Mountain Road a stone’s throw away from Monte Rosso Vineyard, from which Bedrock gets fruit. What I wasn’t prepared for was just how incredibly red the soils are — the photos almost don’t do it justice.

Red Soils up Moon Mountain

My tour guide was Brittainy, and we hit it off right away as she toured me through the barrel caves.

Repris Wine Caves

We then hopped into the land rover thing-bobber and took a somewhat precarious journey up into the mountain vineyards. I didn’t realize that Repris, which means “rebirth,” is the old Moon Mountain Vineyard property, the original Carmenet Vineyard.

Selfie at Repris

The view was nutso, so naturally, I took an over-the-vineyard selfie. 

Repris Vineyard

Amazing views of Sonoma Valley. 

Petroni Vineyards
Mountain estate tastings by appointment

Donum, Stone Edge and Repris were all the same day as part of my Sonoma IntertWINEd outreach, but following suit with our week of wine tasting, and in lieu of Cody’s first busy Saturday, Kinley and I went down the mountain, a couple miles down Highway 12, and right back up the mountain on Cavedale Road to a final winery of the week: Petroni Vineyards. Cody’s future intern Tom worked there as well as his girlfriend Jess, and the two showed us around and tasted us through a couple wines. More amazing mountain views; more delightful company and a beautiful way to kick off the weekend.

We tasted in the Petroni Olive Grove

We tasted in the Petroni Olive Grove

My little wine dog

Kins the winery dog hates his Gentle Leader so much.

Petroni wine, plus some corn to make us feel at home.

Petroni Rossi di Sonoma, plus some corn to make us feel at home.

In conclusion, it was a week of many mountain vineyards and breathtaking Sonoma beauty. 

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