Winter wine tasting is my absolute favorite time of year to be out in wine country. The air is crisp, the sun is most likely to be shining and the colors of the landscape are rich and vibrant. Another reason I like to head out during the colder months is the flow of tourists drastically slows down. This is a chance to get undivided attention from our people behind the counter (or no attention at all) if so desired.
One of my first stops coming into the Valley from San Francisco is Ram’s Gate, so named because Carneros is the spanish name for ram or sheep. I’m going to rave about this stop b/c more than just wine, this place has everything one might expect when visiting wine country. The wine is made from some of the best selections in the region, certified in both Fish Friendly Farming and California Sustainable Winegrowing, and selection is enough to please your whole party. Also, recognizing that a domestic winery is transparent in their practices is key in selecting quality when you’re shopping for your next bottle. More than transparency, my favorite thing about Ram’s Gate is the structure itself and how magnificently it blends into its setting. Designed by award-winning architect Howard Backen, the winery is a “modern interpretation of the weathered farmsteads of old Carneros.” The winery has no sense of indoor/outdoor, unless so desired, considering most all the walls and windows are retractable. The design allows you to be cozy by the fireplace with a full-bodied glass of Chardonnay or enjoying a food and wine pairing under the vaulted wooden ceilings as the clean air whisks through the room. Perched up on a hill with a 360 view, it’s needless to say this is hands-down one of my favorite wineries, one I might even consider joining just because I feel like I can escape here, yet be just an hour drive from home.
By Appointment Only