Sonoma Mountain is perhaps one of the best known land marks in Sonoma, but most people only see if from a distance! Four million years ago, an east-facing slope of Sonoma Mountain blew open, sending molten rock and hot ash raining out over the upper valley. Remnants of the eruption are everywhere: large obsidian boulders, veins of ash, erratic variations in soil, extensive marine deposits, all characteristics of the ancient violence that shaped this hauntingly beautiful area. Sonoma Mountain itself rises to a peak of 2463 feet, and it’s here that wonder grapes grow in the unique terrior.
The Sonoma Mountain Appellation, with its eastern to northeastern exposures, rises high above the western edge of Sonoma Valley on the edge of Sonoma Mountain. Located above the typical morning and evening fog lines, the vines enjoy full morning sunlight and a lengthy growing season during which they can evenly develop and flourish. The region is steep and rustic and has a faraway feeling compared to the rest of the Valley.
The Sonoma MountainAVA is well known for it’s micro-climates that occur within the crevices and folds of the hillside terrain. Because of these diverse micro-climates, it is home to production for a wide range of varietals.
While best known for growing Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in its well-drained soils, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Semillon grapes also thrive in its diverse micro-climates. Well known Wine from this area include Benzinger Family Winery, Ravenswood and Van Der Kamp.
Overlooking the town of Kenwood, the Van der Kamp family has been making wine from this north-facing vineyard on Sonoma Mountain for more than four decades. The vineyard is farmed organically in key vineyard blocks, with some dry-farmed blocks. Few growers in the world give the kind of dedication that vineyard manager Ulysses Van der Kamp gives – and the results show. The Van der Kamps provide their own picking labor, calling on family and friends to pick the fruit so that no outside labor is brought in.
The vineyard sits at 1,400 feet, next to a full vegetable and herb garden and fruit orchard. It used to be that mountain fruit like this meant aggressive tannins but, through Ulysses’ tireless efforts, the viticulture here has worked to finesse the tannic structure of the wines.
It’s hard to believe that summer of 2012 is upon us, but here we are… so what am I going to do over Memorial Day weekend? I’m sure I am not the only person realizing how close the holiday already is, so here is a list of some of the best activities in Napa Valley that are scheduled between now and Memorial Day.
We hope this list helps your Memorial Day Weekend be the most memorable one ever!!
May 26 – 28 — Robert Mondavi Winery Memorial Weekend Moscato Madness
Celebration: Come join us from 10am to 5pm at Robert Mondavi Winery as we celebrate Memorial Day Weekend with Moscato Madness. Our Moscato Fairy will be on site and treat you with a complimentary taste. You will also receive 30% off Moscato. 7801 St. Helena Hwy., Oakville Fee: Free Time: 10:00 am thru 5:00 pm daily Phone Number: 707-968-2002
May 26 — Tres Sabores movie night and fundraiser
Benefit: Tres Sabores movie night and fundraiser for the Oxbow School showing “My Grandmother” a silent film, accompanied live by the Beth Custer Ensemble. Bring a dish to share, chair and a blanket.$10 from every bottle of Tres Sabores wine sold will be donated to The Oxbow Film Program. 1620 S. Whitehall ln, St. Helena Fee: Ticket prices are $60.00 Reserve Admissi Time: 7:30pm Phone Number: 707 967 8027
May 27 — Wine 101 @ St. Supery Vineyards & Winery
Wine Education: We welcome all who wish to expand their knowledge of all that is wine. We start at the beginning with an explanation of where, why and how we plant, grow and harvest our grapes. Then we move onto the winery, following the grape to wine process, from vineyard to the bottle. 8440 St. Helena Hwy, Rutherford, CA Fee: $25/$20 for wine club members Time: 11 a.m.- 12 p.m.; reservations required Phone Number: 1.866.963.4524
May 27 — Les Violettes Concert @ Grgich Hills
Live Music: Enjoy a classic music concert by Violet Grgich and friends! Call for reservations and more information. 1829 St. Helena Hwy, Rutherford CA 94573 Fee: $25/$20 Wine Club Members (Cheese Festival & Concert $40/$25) Time: 2pm Phone Number: 800-532-3057
May 27 — Sterling Vineyards Greek Festival
Celebration: Not everybody can take a summer vacation to Greece…so Sterling Vineyards is bringing Greece to you with our Inaugural Greek Festival! Join us for this can’t miss event celebrating all things Greek: the wine, the food, the music, the culture, the lifestyle. Event price includes food and wine at the Greek Festival, plus aerial tram, self-guided tour, complimentary tasting of five wines and a souvenir wine glass. Call to RSVP. 1111 Dunaweal Lane, Calistoga CA 94515 Fee: $85/$75 Wine Club Members Time: 11:30am-2:30pm Phone Number: 800-726-6136 x1
May 27 — Joan Osborne at Napa Valley Opera House
Live Music: “I knew when the time was right and my voice was ready, I wanted to make a recording like this one,” says Joan Osborne. That recording is Bring It on Home, a collection of vintage blues, R&B and soul songs that make up the seventh album from the Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum artist. 1030 Main St., Napa Fee: $40/$45 Time: 8 p.m. Phone Number: 707-226-7372
May 27 — Sunday Happy Hour: Mosel Rieslings
Wine Tasting: Every Sunday, Back Room Wines pours three very special wines, centered around an ever-changing theme. Sunday Happy Hour is always be just $10, and the wines poured will be on sale for a 10% discount during Happy Hour only. Back Room Wines is pleased to pour three Rieslings from the Mosel in three distinct styles: Kabinett, Spatlese and Auslese. First & Main Streets, Shop 120, Downtown Napa Fee: $10/Tasting. 10% off wines poured. Time: 3-7pm. No reservation neccessary. Phone Number: (707) 226-1378 Toll Free, (877) 322-2576
May 27 — Cheese Festival @ Grgich Hills
Food & Wine Education: Meet local artisan cheese mongers to learn about pairing cheese with wine, plus you’ll get to sample with some wonderful Grgich Hills wines! 1829 St. Helena Hwy, Rutherford CA 94573 Fee: $25/$15 Wine Club Members Time: 11am-2pm Phone Number: 800-532-3057
The Carneros-SonomaAppellation is situated at the southern end of both Sonoma and Napa Counties and encompasses portions of both. Known for it’s summer fog, warm days and a long growing season that is helped by the cooling effect of the Pacific Ocean. The Carneros wine region is an independent American Viticultural Area (AVA). This area influenced by the marine environment of San Pablo Bay, which runs along its southern edge, is generally cooler in summer and warmer in winter than other nearby wine regions. This consistent weather, allows the wines from this area avoid large spikes in differences between vintages.
Carneros became an official AVA in 1983, its unique characteristics based on climate and on its geographic features – the Pacific Ocean, the Coast Mountain Ranges and the San Francisco Bay – that affect the region’s terroir and put a distinctive stamp on its grapes. Some people think of this area as a “sub” Appellation, however it sits in the middle of Sonoma and Napa.
The massive rolling vineyards are planted in rich, though shallow, bay-influenced soils and grow right up to the edges of the bay wetlands. The refreshing environment of Carneros-Sonoma is perfect for growing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and, increasingly, Merlot and Syrah.
Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards is one of the best known Wines from this area. They recently won awards at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Gloria Ferrer’s Executive Winemaker is Bob Iantosca. As a masterful winemaker, Bob is devoted to capturing the distinctive Carneros terroir in wines, and does this uniquely by handcrafting the wine to pair perfectly with food. Bob joined Gloria Ferrer’s Sonoma Carneros vineyards in 1984. Over the years, he has created more award-winning California sparkling wines than any other single winemaker.
Bob Iantosca has collaborated on the cultivation of the estate vineyards from 20 to 335 acres, experimented with some 20 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir selections and led the winery to expand its repertoire to include intensely flavorful cool-climate estate varietal wines.
When purchasing a property in Sonoma or Napa Valley that incorporates a Vineyard, you will be looking at what types of grapes are growing in each vineyard (some properties have 3 or 4) and what types are flourishing in adjacent lands. You will also be looking at the Age of the Vines and the production numbers for the past several years. So that you can have a better understanding of the varieties and the vines growing on the land, here are a few terms you might hear me mention.
Variety – For our discussion variety means a sub-species of vitus vinifera. All wine grapes grown in California are European in origin and from the family vitus vinifera. In addition to the most popular varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Zinfandel there are many, many other varieties to choose from – several hundred as a matter of fact.
Clone – A clone is a genetically identical vine propagated by cuttings from one mother plant that was chosen because of some particularly desirable trait. In some varieties, there is not much difference between clones and in other varieties, like Pinot Noir, there are large differences.
Selection – A selection is vine material taken from a specific site. If you go into your neighbors vineyard during pruning and collect bud wood from plants that you particularly like you have a “selection”.
Rootstock – Although Vitus Vinifera is generally considered the best grapes for making wine, it is highly susceptible to several diseases native to North America. So, to get Vitus Vinifera varieties to grow in North America, you have to graft them onto rootstocks that are created from crosses of North American native species that are resistant to those diseases. There are a variety of rootstocks suited to different situations and it is far, far beyond the scope of this to go into them. Suffice it to say that you will need an expert advising you on the rootstocks that will work best at your site with your varieties.
Old Vines – In France there is a ruling by Appellation that determines how old a vine must be before it can be labeled anything other than Table Wine. In the US, we have no such distinction. The theory, passed down for Centuries, is that the older the vines, the deeper and stronger the root system. The stronger the roots, means that the vines could be pulling from different nutrients in the soil, and the terrior does impact the flavor of the wine. Perhaps more importantlythough, as a vine ages it typically produces less fruit; its effort and energy goes into fewer grape clusters. The plus side? The clusters tend to be very concentrated and offer a level of depth and complexity that, according to some, only older vines can produce.
When you hear this term used in Sonoma, it normally refers to the thick, gnarled, somewhat stunted (normally zinfandel) grapevines, planted in the 1880s or 1890s or early 1900s by Italian immigrants. These particular vines are so old that they must be carefully tended, and they manage to bring forth only a handful of grapes in each vintage. However, it is the deep, rich and flavorful wines that these particular vines produce that is some of the most sought after.
Are all “Old Vines” a hundred years old or more? Certainly not! Again, it’s a term that is not regulated. A vine that is 10 to 20 years old could be labeled as “old.” What’s more, not all winemakers, are convinced that old vines produce better grapes. Many firmly believe that vines producing their first crop of fruit at about three or four years old are responsible for the best wines in the world!
If you want to know more about Vineyards in Napa, or buying a home in Sonoma – Call me!
Many of the buyers interested in California Wine Vineyards are also looking at “unimproved” land that might be suitable to start a vineyard, as opposed to purchasing one that is already established. We find that these buyers are generally in one of 2 camps. Either they are looking for a “Deal” and feel that they can start small, and grow a presence – or they are already Vintners, looking to expand.
If you fall into the “Just Starting Out Camp” here are some things to consider:
Vineyard development costs fall into two basic categories – Those expenses that occur in every vineyard and those expenses that occur in some vineyards and not in others and vary according to the vineyard.
There is one basic decisions you have to make that will drive all the standard costs – how far apart to space your rows and vines. In the “Inner” California AVA’s, where you find more “bulk” (as opposed to premium wine production) you will find that spacing has been consistently dropping (and therefore vines per acre increasing). In the past 20 years this “production” in certain varieties has gone from a standard 450 vines per acre (8′ by 12′ area) to close to 900 vines per acre (in a 6′ by 8′ space). With Premium Wine Productions (again based upon the grape) in the Coastal AVA’s of Napa and Sonoma, you still find the norm to be fewer vines, better quality.
You should figure about $20,000 for standard costs of installing a vineyard. You can add an estimated $5,000 to $20,000 per acre to cover the upfront costs associated with engineering, WATER, soil tests, drainage, erosion, rocks, fencing, and frost protection.
While the numbers vary WIDELY depending on location, and the production nearby – the current typical end cost per acre is between $20,000 to $40,000 per acre.
The grape growing areas of Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley are similar. They both run from the South Coast to the North, and they both benefit from the hills, rain and historical care given to the vines placed in their care. So it’s not surprising that these unique areas (AVA’s), which are IDEAL for growing the some of the World’s Finest Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, compete for the title of “favorite” all the time!
Napa has long been considered the favorite, and they’ve been working for decades to create wines that grow in value as they age, with some success. The 2011 season is considered by some one of the best years yet – granted there were fewer grapes, but higher quality.
Recently though, James Laube, one of the most Internationally acclaimed Wine Experts wrote this about a Sonoma Valley Cabernet:
“Rich, savory and full-bodied, showing direct, potent young Cabernet flavors built around blackberry and dark berry fruit, with touches of spice, black licorice, mineral and toasty wood. Very impressive for its purity, finesse and graceful finish. Best from 2012 through 2022. 2,450 cases made.” –JL
The region is comparable to French Bordeaux grapes, and growing season, and the Beringer Knights Valley wine (he was referring to) does mirror these flavors gracefully. The price: $45, with 3,600 cases made. It’s the best Beringer Knights Valley wine I can recall and one of winemaker Laurie Hook’s best efforts
In addition to Beringer’s Cabernet, Wine Spectator’s “Top 100 Wines” list for 2011 includes HALL as #2 in it’s list of the top 20 wines! (and the FIRST one is NOT from Napa!)
“With a successful real-estate empire, Craig and Kathryn Hall didn’t take any shortcuts with Hall estate, which comprises several hundred acres in vines spread over six vineyards in Napa Valley. The 2008 Kathryn Hall Cabernet is a blend from four of the sites. Winemaker Steve Leveque added a splash of Merlot to round out the texture and heighten the aromatics. The wine captures the essence of Napa Cabernet yet is distinguished from other great 2008 Cabs by its seamless texture, wonderful focus, purity of flavor and persistent finish.” -Wine Spectator, November 15, 2011
What does this mean for clients interested in purchasing a vineyard with potential ROI? Despite current U.S. economic conditions, the wine industry is showing signs of optimism. Bulk wine market inventories have come into balance and in some cases there is a shortage. Grape prices are on the rise. 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are virtually, entirely committed.
For the past many years, there’s been a direct correlation between the prices / demand for grapes – and the prices / demand for vineyards. (the adjacent chart reflects the sales price for land SUITABLE for a Vineyard, not planted). The tightening of inventories will leads to increasing vineyard prices. Also, this optimism has caused winery owners to take a strengthening position regarding thee perceived value of their winery assets.
When assessing a property, I look at the cost of operations over the last 3 years, the tonnage produced, the Vinter, the WineMaker and how it is being marketed… we also look at the weather in that Appellation, and what is being produced from that area.
We also look at the soil, and the quality / life of the vines. In many ways, it is important to note that you are not just purchasing real estate when you buy a Vineyard, you are buying a business.
What are we doing to identify winery properties without brands and have the potential to produce $100/btl wines? We are networking throughout the Napa Valley to source potential wineries that may be for sale. These properties are not easy to find, so we ask for your patience. If you are interested in purchasing a Premium Winery in the Sonoma/Napa Region call Mark Stornetta.
Looking for more information on which area of Sonoma or Napa might be the perfect place to grow grapes and create your dream of owning a Cabernet Sauvignon Vineyard? I can help with that too!
We’ve all heard of counterfeit movies, counterfeit watches, and purses. But in a very real move, the Napa Valley Vintners Association is working to prevent our California wine from being mislabeled, and sold around the world with misleading packaging – especially if it SAYS it’s from the Napa Valley AVA! The Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) is the non-profit trade association representing more than 420 wineries in the appellation.
The Association is working with the California Wine Institute to gain exposure to Napa Valley wines, and in fact, the growth for this product in Hong Kong and China. It’s important to note that in the last five years, Chinese wine consumption has doubled! And it’s not just in China! The Asian wine market is, as a Region, growing and in an historic move, the Napa Valley Vintners Association gained an agreement with the Government of Thailand.
Working directly with Thailand’s Department of Intellectual Property, Thailand has recognized Napa Valley with Geographic Indication (GI) Status that will protect the American wine region from misuse of its name in wine labeling in that country.
“This is a terrific accomplishment for our trade group in protecting our appellation’s name from fraudulent use in yet another high-profile, emerging wine market,” said NVV Executive Director Linda Reiff. “We have been able to achieve this and other GI recognitions by working directly with these government agencies, such as our successes in the EU and India, which is important to building our export channels for Napa Valley wines.”
Eagles Trace, found just 3 miles up from the Napa Valley floor won several awards at the China Wine Awards for 2011! Latitude 38 – Estate Brown, Cabernet Sauvignon – Estate Grown both won Silver Awards, and Pinot Noir – Estate Grown – Valhalla Vineyards came in as Highly Recommended. This is especially prestigious, given that of the hundreds of wines competing for awards, only 3 other US wineries received an acknowledgement. Wine Consuption overall in China has more than doubled in the past few years, and according to VINEXPO research – the forecast for 2014 is for Chinese wine consumption to grow by a further 19.6%, reaching 127 million 9-litre cases by the end of the period.
Eagles Trace was founded by Gus & Phyllis Anderson. Gus enjoyed a successful career as founder and winemaker for Anderson’s Conn Valley until his retirement at age 72. After a year of not being happy resting in a rocking chair, Gus came out of retiremetn and started Eagles Trace. The new winery is located right next to Anderson’s Conn Valley.
The fun of starting something new – with all of your past experience, is that you can try new things! The new winery allowed him to implement some very creative wine making practices – techniques that he never had a chance to implement during his first winemaking career. These practices, and the acute attention paid to the grape growing process on the property makes for a perfect combination.
Gus says, “You can make great wine out of great grapes, but you cannot make great wine out of bad grapes!”
Picky? Well sure! During his “year off” – much research and thought went into analyzing the soils, and matching the rootstock of the vines with the particular soil types. Not only are the grapes tested daily when they are within a 60 day guess of when they should be harvested, but they are actually tasted too! “Grapes are picked when they are ready, which means only parts of the vineyards are harvested at certain times. “ Not limited by what other vintners might deem to be the perfect conditions, Eagles Trace have grapes that were picked as late as mid November.
Son Todd, still operates the successful Bordeaux style vineyards and produces wonderful wines at Conn Valley Vineyards (next door). It’s not surprising that Eagles Trace was one of the China Favorites! Again, from a pure ROI and EBIT Investment Opportunity for Chinese investors, purchasing Vineyards and Premium Wineries like Eagles Trace makes sense.
Look at some of the other awards they’ve also recently received:
Many of the clients I am dealing with are looking for a home with some land, and have not decided yet if they want a home with an established vineyard or one that they can create their own legacy from. To make that decision, we discuss the potential Cost (and reward) of ownership. In that discussion, we also discuss what type of wine they personally favor, and what location of Wine Country they are most interested in.
In the Assumptions done each year by the Research and Teaching teams at the UC Cooperative Extension and the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics Department at UC Davis, a piece of land deemed suitable to grow grapes will have a small production in the 3rd year and could yield a fully producing facility by the 5th year. So, to begin with – you need to know that if you are purchasing a piece of property to create a vineyard – you will potentially be waiting 5 years before you begin seeing Revenue.
To be sure, growing wine grapes is a business – a good business. The ROI for clients, even in this uncertain marketplace, can produce a good income year after year if the vineyard is well run and well marketed. In our initial conversation, we will also discuss what type of owner you intend to be. The involvement, the actual labor and time you are able to contribute to the vineyard, the return you expect on the investment and the type of product you are interested in producing all need to be considered.
For instance, my wife’s family owns a Vineyard in this area – and at certain times of the year, she is out of the house before 5am to go check on the vines! If that’s not the level of commitment you have time for, we can talk about the cost of retaining a property manager. Often times their connections, and ability to get a little more fruit per acre create more revenue than the cost of their service! (Many of clients are only in Wine Country for a limited time each year, and so I’ve got great contacts for these type services!)
Fortunately, once the vineyard is in the ground, the costs to operate the vineyard from year to year are pretty predictable. It costs $2,500 to $3,500 and up per acre to farm every year. This includes all farming costs, including a Pickup Truck. The UC Davis 2010 estimate for the 3rd year of Operations for a Sonoma farm of 30 acres to be approximately $3,023 an acre. Other costs, such as insurance and interest expense have to be considered separately.
As with most business, the cost of labor (in this case harvesting) is considered separately as well at about $500 per acre in the 2010 UC Davis Study.
Grapes are sold by the ton and prices vary from area to area and from variety to variety. The Chart below reflects the 2010 prices for Grapes per ton in Sonoma:
Tons per acre varies considerably from variety to variety and from high quality grapes to low quality grapes. You can get as many as 10 tons to the acre or more for some varieties at lower qualities. But in general, you can estimate about 5 tons to the acre or less for high quality grapes of most varieties. Average yields for Pinot Noir will be a little lower and most white grape varieties a little higher.
You will also see a difference based upon when the vineyard was planted. Older standards called for planting grapes might also affect your yield. In the last 30 years the standard changed, and today vines are planted almost 2 times more densely than they were in the 1970s.
So, for a typical Sonoma County red wine grape variety, if you figure $2,000 a ton and 5 tons to the acre you should get about $10,000 an acre in revenue. Take away our average of $3,000 in costs + $500 per acre for harvest and you get $6,500 per acre in net income.
This is obviously not an exact science – and you can see that we’ve not calculated any management fees, or production fees if you decide to create your own wine from your grapes.
Right now there aren’t enough Sonoma County grapes to go around and wineries have to compete for available fruit. This can work to your advantage if you are willing to spend a bit of time through out the year getting to know the wineries in your area. Learn about the various techniques used, and don’t be afraid to talk about your vineyard. You’ll get lots of free stuff and probably make some new friends!
Understanding the history of the land, and the climate, and the types of grapes, and production that comes from a particular area is just part of what I try and explain when I meet with a new client. Most of the folks I work with, even if they are ready to make a 3 or 4 million dollar investment, need some education about why they would purchase a property in one part of Sonoma or Napa as opposed to another. They need to understand what types of grapes are there, and what the production is likely to mean for them, and their ROI. In this (admittedly long) post, I want to introduce you to tiny Bennett Valley Appellation.
Located just outside Santa Rosa California the beautiful Bennett Valley Appellation is perfectly situated between once volcanic mountain ranges of Taylor Mountain to the west, Sonoma Mountain to the south, and Bennett Peak to the east. Not only does the valley have an ancient volcanic origin, it also has several fault lines running through the area. This particular AVA is less than 10 years old making it one of the youngest AVA’s – and since it has less than 700 acres of vineyards planted, it is also one of the smallest AVA’s in California.
Bennett Valley AVA is positioned exactly where you would want grapes to grow, on hillside slopes of the Mountains, in well-drained volcanic soils. This Appellation has a higher elevation than the Sonoma Valley floor. Most growers feel, however, that it’s special because of a cooler weather pattern during the grape growing season that works to make this an ideal grape-growing environment for the production of ultra-premium wines.. That’s one of the reasons Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and other cool-climate grapes thrive here.
In 1862, Isaac DeTurk planted 30 acres of vines in Bennett Valley, and later founded Belle Mount Winery. Along with grapes, apples, wheat, and oats were important agricultural products. Phylloxera hit the region particularly hard during the 1890s, followed by Prohibition in 1918. This effectively ended widespread winemaking for a few decades. Matanzas Creek was established in 1975, when they planted their first 20 acres of vineyards.
After prohibition, the Valley was mostly forgotten. John Taylor arrived in 1953, and bought 2,000 acres in the valley, planting some of his land with Zinfandel and Mission grapes. But John was a dairy farmer at heart and most of the land was dominated by his dairy production and cattle. Purchasing over 100 acres of that dairy land at a liquidation sale in 1971, Sandra MacIver went on to change history as she and her husband established Matanzas Creek Winery. During the late 1980′s, early 1990′s the MacIver’s spent countless hours running tests on various handcrafted methods for their wines. And in 1993, they released JOURNEY which was Crafted from the finest one percent of 700 Chardonnay barrels. The two hundred cases sold out upon release, even at the $70 a bottle retail price. Critics still measure other California wines to JOURNEY, as it is hailed by many as the finest Chardonnay ever produced in America.
That sort of prestige caught the attention of many winemakers, and most people attribute legendary founder of Kendall Jackson, Jess Jackson (who died earlier this year) with “creating” the Bennett Valley AVA in 2003. He wanted to distinguish Matanzas Creek Winery products from other Sonoma Valley wines.
In addition to wonderful grapes, Matanzas Creek Winery is also home to an acre of lavender which blooms annually to produce over 2 million stems of lavender! Because of this, one of our favorite Wine Country Events is the “Days of Wine and Lavender” at the Estate each June. The lavender harvest fits beautifully into the wine making cycle, as the flowers usually reach their zenith in June, well before the busy grape harvest. The staff makes use of all parts of the lavender in it’s production of unique bath and body products, wonderfully sached home products – and culinary delights! Lavender in Lamb and Chicken? If you haven’t tried it – you should!
But there’s more to Bennett Valley AVA than Matanzas Winery! You’ll also find Alta Ridge Vineyards, Annadel Winery, Argot Wines. Barbed Oak Vineyard, Bennett Valley Cellars, Bevan Cellars, Flanagan Family Vineyards, Frostwatch Vineyard & Winery, Grey Stack Cellars, Jemrose Vineyards, Mackie Family Wines, Nelson Estates Wines, Sable Ridge Vineyards, Silver Pines Vineyards Westerhold Family Vineyards. Here’s an interactive map to the various vineyards and wineries in Bennett Valley AVA.
If you are considering a vineyard as a second home, or a new business, it’s important to understand that the County of Sonoma is somewhat restrictive to “cookie cutter” neighborhoods. Custom Homes are typically built on land parcels ranging from five to 40 acres. There’s a property currently listed on Bennett Road with 55 acres, that’s just waiting to be planted! If you have questions about vineyards and wineries for sale in Sonoma and Bennett Valley – please call Mark Stornetta at 707-815-8749. I’m uniquely qualified to help you make an investment if you want to purchase a vineyard in Sonoma, or a winery in Napa. I understand the history and the challenges of owning a vineyard home… and I understand ROI and EBIT, and can show you the formulas I use. Our office has several beautiful Bennett Valley AVA Properties for sale.