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10 Luxury Wineries in Sonoma

Posted on March 20, 2013 by Mark Stevens

Nestled in the backyard of beautiful San Francisco is a place rich with history, wide-open spaces, access to over 300 wineries, and a transformative experience un-paralleled in the world. This is Sonoma Wine Country.

Sonoma [County] has grown tremendously in the past decade and is now, or at least should be, at the forefront of any wine lover’s mind when thinking about California’s wine industry. In the past, people may have thought there were only world-renowned luxury wines and wineries in Napa. But ladies and gentleman, Sonoma has arrived.  

It’s often been said “no matter how much money you have, you can’t buy time.” But in Sonoma, that’s what you tend to find. Sonoma is relaxed, inviting, and un-busy when compared with its chic, bustling, neighbor Napa. A place like Sonoma offers its visitors time to breathe, taste, smell, and enjoy experiences that promise a different kind of adventure. With that in mind, I offer you this list of some of the most luxurious wineries in Sonoma. So buy yourself some time, and come experience them for yourself.

Ram’s Gate Winery: One of Sonoma County’s newest gems is Ram’s Gate Winery, located just past Sonoma Raceway (formerly Infineon.) This much raved about winery creates a sense of luxurious peace, where the entire wine country experience can be enjoyed to the fullest by its guests. This winery’s fantastic ratings tell me that it is destined to impress anyone who visits.
Ram's Gate seating area

Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery: This Dry Creek Valley winery has style, elegance and class with an amazing hospitality center and five exquisite gardens to stroll through. Ferrari-Carano was voted best tasting room in 2012 by the readers choice award in the Press Democrat; a title that is well deserved!  
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Jacuzzi Family Vineyards: Jacuzzi Family Vineyards is a beautiful 18,000 square foot winery located in Sonoma, CA. With high-end wine and olive oil tastings, this winery creates a luxurious atmosphere for guests.
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Francis Ford Coppola Winery:  There is not much that this winery doesn’t offer, and it surely doesn’t skimp on character. Making a visit to famous director, Francis Ford Coppola’s winery includes tastings, tours, dining at the winery, performances, and during the summer, taking a dive in the exclusive pool with full access to lounge and full bar. What more could one ask for?  Francis calls it a “wine wonderland.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
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Korbel: Add a little sparkle to your life by taking a trip to the sparkling wine haven of Korbel in Guerneville, CA. One of the highlights of your visit will surely be the extended tour through the historic champagne cellars, and a heavenly tasting of Korbel’s exclusive sparkling wines. 
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Ledson Winery and Vineyards:  Experience an amazing atmosphere at Ledson Winery and Vineyards in Kenwood, CA. The tasting room is located in the Ledson castle, which has been considered as an “architectural showpiece.” The castle provides a luxurious setting for anything from a wine tasting weekend, to a romantic getaway. Ledson Winery and Vineyards resized 600

St. Francis Winery and Vineyards: This beautiful mission-style hospitality center offers private estate dinners, tour and cave tastings as well as wine and food pairings. 

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Chateau St. Jean: The exquisite chateau and gardens that grace the Chateau St. Jean winery are reason enough to make a visit to Sonoma County. Their elegant tasting room will please anyone looking for a luxurious experience in Sonoma County wine country. 

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Kunde Family Estate: This beautiful estate not only spoils its guests with fantastic wine, but shares an experience of a lifetime with its unparalleled views of Sonoma County. Kunde takes wine tasting to a whole new level with tiers of exclusive tasting and tasting rooms that will be sure to please a variety of tastes. 

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Kendall-Jackson Wine Center: This well established winery in Sonoma County is a must visit for newcomers and locals alike. Kendall-Jackson‘s beautiful hospitality center offers a well-rounded experience of wine, food and the exploration of the winery’s gardens. 

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The Slow Pace of Wine Country

Posted on February 25, 2013 by Mark Stevens

Nestled iSonoman the backyard of beautiful San Francisco is a place rich with history, wide-open spaces, access to over 300 wineries, and a transformative experience un-paralleled in the world. This place is the Sonoma Wine Country.
 
Sonoma County has grown tremendously in the past decade and is now at the forefront of any wine lover’s mind when thinking about California’s wine industry. In the past, people may have thought there were world-renowned wines and winemakers only in Napa. But ladies and gentleman, Sonoma has arrived. What makes Sonoma different than Napa? There are too many differences to list them all, so we’ll refer you to our classically regional Sunset Magazine to do just that. But what I can tell you from my 30+ years of living here is that Sonoma is relaxed, inviting and un-busy when compared with its chic, bustling neighbor Napa. I love Napa and its wine and its many winemakers. But there’s something to be said for Sonoma.
 
It’s been often said “no matter how much money you have, you can’t buy time.” But in Sonoma, that’s what you tend to find. Dubbed as America’s first slow city, Sonoma Valley’s restrained growth and passion for sustainable living has enabled it to join the Cittaslow movement. A place like this offers its visitors time to breathe, taste, smell, and enjoy experiences that promise a different kind of adventure.
 
I can only say so much about this beautiful place I get to call home. I encourage you to come visit. And if you love it so much you want to stay, real estate can be your brand new start to a life filled with as much happiness as is contained in a glass of Sonoma County wine.
 
Thank you for reading my post. And feel free to connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest to learn more about my luxury wine estate properties and vineyards in and around Sonoma and Napa.
 

Unified Wine Industry & Grape Symposium 2013

Posted on February 11, 2013 by Mark Stevens

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Last week was the annual Unified Wine and Grape Symposium in Sacramento, CA.  This symposium was started in 1995 by two established groups in the Wine industry, the American Society of Enology and Viticulture, and the California Association of Winegrape Growers, and has since become the largest wine and grape symposium in the nation!

This is where I go to get updated on all of the year’s current news and content that is hard to find elsewhere.  The best part is I get to hear it from the gurus of this industry, the people with inside information and predictions about what the future holds for grape growing and winemaking.

In sessions like “Foreign Investments within the U.S. Wine Industry” and “Investing in West Coast Vineyards” I was able to gather some great insight about what people are looking for in Sonoma County, and how I am able to bring those properties to the table.  The wine industry is not only an ever growing and developing industry, but getting the right vineyards, wineries and vineyard estates into the right hands is becoming the key.  We want to keep this growing industry afloat and it is refreshing to see some pretty impactful changes happening at the start of 2013 with these properties.

So, after some great lectures and plenty of handshakes, I was able to enjoy a delicious luncheon and walk through a set of exhibits with all of the latest wine technology, equipment, and wine gadgets.  The wide eyes and excitement of California’s acclaimed winegrowers was enough entertainment to last me the entire week.  Overall, this year’s Unified Symposium did not disappoint and I’m looking forward to a very fruitful year.

Winery for Sale: Alexander Valley

Posted on January 18, 2013 by Mark Stevens

describe the imageWith 13 AVAs to choose from in Sonoma County, it’s hard to distinguish which one is for you. Today, I’d like to shed light on Alexander Valley, located along the Russian River. Wine folk will typically think of this region as one with phenomenal cabernet sauvignon, and they’re right to think so! But the reality of it is, this gem in Sonoma County offers much more than wine when it comes to food, culture, and natural beauty.

Aside from the more than 40 wineries in this area, unique dining experiences can be found in Healdsburg, Cloverdale, and Geyserville. Some popular restaurants in the area are Catelli’s, a family-owned, Italian restaurant, Diavola Pizzeria, and Francis Ford Coppola’s restaurant, Rustic.  The food and service at each of these places is top-notch.  Other, personal, favorites are Dry Creek Kitchen, and Zin Restaurant, both located in downtown Healdsburg.  Using all fresh, local ingredients and offering incredible wine lists are the perks to dining at places like these.

And let’s not forget about the marvelous weather. Alexander Valley’s warm, dry climate allows for long, summer days during which the colors of the valley are at their brightest. During these days, residents as well as its visitors find themselves mesmerized by the views.  Geyser Peak, the Mayacamas, and Mount St. Helena surround this valley and create a unique panoramic experience.  In this area, some of my favorite activities include biking, fishing, hiking and camping.  And with the Russian River  so close, it is a truly great opportunity to get to know the outdoors.     

All in all, Sonoma County is lucky to have Alexander Valley with all of its beauty. It’s a fantastic place to visit and live. If you’d like to live here, please contact me. I have a home for sale in Alexander Valley that might interest you.