Visiting wineries in Napa and Sonoma Counties is a bucket list experience that draws wine enthusiasts from all around the world, but wine tasting is really just the tip of the iceberg. Top your visit off with a visit to a wine cave for a truly memorable—even magical—experience.
The cave is where perfect temperature and humidity allow wines to age gracefully and transform from goodto award-winning. Caves provide the ideal storage environment for wine. The temperature remains constant—usually around 58℉ in California—and the humidity is relatively high. This, in turn, minimizes evaporation of the wines as they age.
The Soul of the Wine
There may be something intangible that caves add to wine as well—this is where the magic comes in. Martha McClellan, the winemaker at Sloan Estate, suggests the caves add to the soul of the wine. In her own words… “The cave’s purpose is to provide a tranquil, peace-filled atmosphere for the wine to rest and age for two or more years. In the end, this beauty contributes tothe soul of the wine, nurtured from vine, to tank, to barrel and ultimately to bottle.’”
Benefits of Caves
The constant temperature and humidity is not only good for the wines, it is good for the wineries and our world at large. By utilizing the stable cave climate there is no need to use expensive and energy intensive equipment to store wine. And by building underground, wineries leave the valuable real estate above ground available for planting.
Then to Now: The Evolution of Gourmet Caves
Caves were constructed in Sonoma and Napa Counties beginning in the 1870’s, but the caves that are built today are a far cry from their predecessors. Today’s caves are used for much more than just storage—they are designed to play a vital role in the hospitality of the wineries. Caves are used for tasting rooms, retail shops, office space, special events, private dinners, and even music venues.
This diversity of functions is great news for visitors, because the magic of being in a wine cave is an experience that you will not want to miss!
Check out this fabulous guide to caves in Northern California that you can visit today!
Want a cave of your own? We are offering a well established winery off the iconic Silverado Trail with a 4500± sq. ft. cave of its own. LEARN MORE
*Quote from Martha McClellan courtesy of californiabountiful.com
*Featured image courtesy of Far Niente Winery
A Hidden Gem…
The Yorkville Highlands American Viticultural Area (AVA) is located in Mendocino County along Highway 128, perfectly situated in the heart of Northern California’s world-renowned wine country. Northwest of the Yorkville Highlands lies the Anderson Valley AVA, famous for its Pinot Noir; and to the Southwest is Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley AVA, known for its Cabernet Sauvignon.
Superior Red Wines
Comprised of 40,000 acres, the Yorkville Highlands AVA is known for its red varietals—a departure from the rest of Mendocino County, where Chardonnay reigns supreme. Over 20 different varietals are grown in the AVA, but the largest plantings are Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Noir, and Merlot.
The vineyards of Yorkville Highlands are planted on bench land that ranges from 1,000 feet to 2,200 feet in elevation. The higher elevation creates a unique micro-climate defined by night time cooling trends and a moderate climate. The moderate climate allows for an extended and even growing period.
Winter rainfall in the Yorkville Highlands can be quite high, with typical years averaging nearly 68 inches. Fortunately, there is rarely rain during the growing season.
Long Harvest Season & Complex Robust Flavors
The Yorkville Highlands AVA benefits from a long growing season. Most years, grapes are harvested later than the surrounding AVAs.
The long ripening process yields fruit that has higher acidity and robust flavors, while still maintaining balance and structure. For red wines, the resulting flavor reveals complex tannins that are not overpowering.
Excellent Soils, Distinguished Fruit
The soils in the Highlands have superior drainage with a high gravel content. This distinctive soil type encourages the vines to root deeply. This, in turn, leads to hardy, low vigor plants. The vineyards of this region produce exceptional fruit with highly concentrated flavors.
We are thrilled to announce a rare opportunity to acquire 116± acres of premier vineyards in the heart of California’s wine country. LEARN MORE >>
Highly Acclaimed Vineyard in Russian River AVA Sub-Appellation
24.92± Acres on 2 Parcels: 13.47± Acres Planted in Vineyard with a Spacious Estate Home
We are thrilled to announce that this highly acclaimed vineyard is on the market for the first time. This is a rare opportunity to acquire this well respected, top performing vineyard in Green Valley Sub-Appellation of the Russian River AVA in Sebastopol. Famous for its high quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, the Keefer Ranch vineyard is a top-producing, mature, professionally managed operation with fruit going into key designated wine programs. This offering includes 2 parcels, one of which can be lot-line adjusted for resale of the home only, which is 4149+/- sqft. with 3Bed/2.5Bath and includes frontage to Green Valley Creek. There is a creek-side apple orchard included in the sale.
Parcels: Keefer Ranch includes two, contiguous legal parcels of APN 105-050-027 of 17.77± acres and APN 104-050-029 of 7.15± acres
Acreage: 24.92± acres
Vineyards: 13.47± net acres of vineyard (76% Pinot Noir, 24% Chardonnay), and 11.45± acres of site and support land including the estate home area, riparian area along Green Valley Creek, property access and vineyard service roads, an irrigation reservoir, and a small apple orchard along the creek.
Residence: The larger westerly parcel includes the 4,149± SF Estate home, with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths
Additional Buildings: 3-car garage, plus several support structures (pump houses, equipment and general storage buildings)
Spectacular Estate Home with Winery & Hospitality Potential
Acreage: 60± Acres
Vineyard: Organic vineyards featuring 19.1± acres of Pinot Noir and 5.5± acres of Chardonnay recently planted to highest standards.
Winner’s Circle is a premier estate in the heart of the Russian River Valley. This 7,500± sq. ft. luxury home in Sebastopol embodies California contemporary design, and features panoramic mountain and valley views from every window. A guest house, caretaker’s unit, and barn add value and interest to the property. Featuring 24.6± acres of organic Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards plus a potential rental income through Inspirato, this is an incredible opportunity for the luxury home buyer and/or vineyard investor.
The Main Residence was designed by architects Gerald C. Taylor of San Francisco and Val Arnold of Beverly Hills for the Walter family. Constructed in 1991 and renovated in 2013, the 7500± sq. ft. home has four bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, a large gourmet kitchen, a butler’s pantry, and expansive common areas. Floor to ceiling glass doors in every room open onto extensive patios. A heated pool and spa invite you outdoors to enjoy the beautiful Russian River weather.
Winner’s Circle is located just one hour North of San Francisco in the heart of West Sonoma County Wine Country. Situated between Healdsburg and Sebastopol, the area offers great dining, shopping & a welcoming community. This part of the Russian River Valley has long been established as a premier region for producing exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Many award-winning wineries are minutes away from this iconic location.
People move to Sonoma County from all around the world to enjoy the beautiful, mild climate. Located just 10 miles away (as the crow flies) from the Pacific Ocean, the weather is characterized by morning fog, warm days and pleasant evenings. The warm, dry summers and temperate winters encourage outdoor pursuits and allow farmers to grow amazing produce year-round. There are endless opportunities to explore premier Sonoma and Napa wineries and restaurants. Outdoor enthusiasts are blessed with 50+ regional and state parks that showcase coastal tide pools, old-growth redwoods and mountain views.
Located on Vine Hill Ridge in the Russian River American Viticultural Area (AVA), Winner’s circle located in the heart of West Sonoma County. Situated in between Healdsburg and Sebastopol, the AVA features the best known and most loved varietals. Home to the top Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and old vine Zinfandels, this cool climate grape region supplies world renowned wineries in Sonoma and Napa counties, creating award winning wines that are some of the world’s best.
The Russian River AVA has raised the standard for California grape production and winemaking. The relatively cool summer encourages the grapes to ripen slowly, establishing balanced acidity. This slow, prolonged ripening period creates the delicious flavors distinctive to this region. The soils offer perfect drainage and ideal conditions for growing grapes.
Additional Property Features:
The guest house shares the entry courtyard with the main residence. The unit is accessible from the main residence via a short covered walkway. The generous one bedroom boasts stunning views and an open floor plan.
- 900± sq. ft.
- Located adjacent to the main house – just a short walk down a covered sidewalk connecting the two buildings.
- 1 Bedroom/1 Bathroom
- Living room with queen-size pullout sleeper sofa
Located on the smaller of the two parcels, the caretaker’s unit has two bedrooms and one bathroom. A horse barn featuring six stables and an open interior also shares this second parcel. The barn currently houses the irigation equipment for the vineyards. Situated adjacent to the barn is an equine aqua-tred. This beautiful rustic building was originally built for the first-class thoroughbred ranch that was established here by the original owners, Barbara and Robert Walters. The Walter’s best known gelding,1996 Kentucky Derby Runner-up Cavonnier, was foaled here at Winner’s Circle in1993.
- 35± Acres of oak woodlands
- Caretaker’s unit (2Bed/1Bath)
- Barn with seven stables and irrigation pump room
- Pump House
- Horse Aqua Tread
- 2 Parcels: 55-acre parcel zoned DA D6-40; 6 acres zoned RA D6-10
- Potential for main residence conversion to hospitality/wine-tasting/guest facility
- Potential Winery/Tasting Room site
For more information, contact Mark at 707.322.2000 or Jeannie at 707.480.1541.
Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival
Celebrating One Varietal – One Appellation
Anderson Valley is hosting a world-class wine festival featuring Pinot Noir from over 50 local producers. The Pinot Noir Festival is a weekend full of wine, live music, farm fresh gastronomes and local art.
WHEN: May 18-20, 2018
WHERE: Camp Navarro in Navarro, CA — 11 miles from Philo and 17 miles from Boonville in Mendocino County
WHAT: Three full days of Pinot Noir paired with delicious food, music & celebration.
Tickets are on sale now, so don’t miss your chance to savor world renowned Pinot Noirs and meet the winemakers!
To learn more details about all of the events, driving directions and participating wineries, check out the video below and view the event’s WEBSITE.
Do you love Anderson Valley? Pair the Pinot Festival with our upcoming open house this Saturday, May 19th from 11am – 5pm at Wild Iris Retreat — just 11 miles away! Stop by for gourmet snacks, jeep tours and an inside view into one of the most enchanting properties to hit the market this year. Wild Iris Retreat is an exquisite 300+ acre property bordering the Navarro river with plenty of sunshine and shaded groves of towering redwoods. Featuring a large main house, two guest houses, a 90K gallon pool, a beautiful stone spa, and a dance hall, this is an opportunity you won’t want to miss!
Wild Iris Retreat Open House:
Saturday, May 19th
11Am – 5PM
20500 Tumbling MdD Road
Philo, CA 95466
Learn More About Wild Iris Retreat: CLICK HERE
*festival images by AV Wines