by Allison Levine
“When visiting Sonoma, where does one get started wine tasting? As a region, Sonoma County encompasses more than fifty miles from Carneros in the south to Cloverdale in the north. It is home to seventeen American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). Some are well-known such as Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley, to name a few, and others are lesser known such as Moon Mountain, Fort-Ross Seaview and Green Valley. Sonoma is home to the state of California’s oldest commercial winery, Buena Vista, as well as the oldest continuously operating family winery, Gundlach Bundschu. And, there are more than 425 wineries on almost 60,000 acres. That means there are a lot decisions to be made before you start a Sonoma wine tasting adventure.
Unlike Sonoma’s neighbor to the east, Napa, where there are wineries located off of the main highway, many of the wineries in Sonoma are spread throughout the valley. So where do you begin? It is easier to find some of the bigger known wineries in the county, but seeking out small and medium sized boutique wineries is what I prefer to do. Here are eleven Sonoma wine tasting finds that are worth a visit throughout the valley.”
MacRostie Winery and Vineyards
“MacRostie Winery was originally opened in 1987 by Steve MacRostie. A visionary, MacRostie was one of the first people to plant in the fog-shrouded vineyards of Sonoma County. After thirty years, he sold to Distinguished Vineyards and Wine Partners in 2011 but still guides the winemaking along with winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen.
MacRostie produces pinot noir and chardonnay from numerous sites including the fifty-eight acres from the Wildcat Mountain Vineyard that was planted in 1998. In February 2015, MacRostie Winery opened the winery and tasting room on Westside Road.
Sitting on twenty-eight acres, thirteen of which are planted to pinot noir, the Estate House is a modern facility with views overlooking Sonoma County. From the moment you walk up and are greeted with a glass of chardonnay to sitting on the patio or in the living room, you may never want to leave.”