There are many great opportunities to enjoy fine food and wine in the Bay Area. Whether it be savoring over a lovely meal at a restaurant that is paired with a delicate wine, or attending a tasting at a local vineyard, the options for drinking local, family-owned and produced wine are limitless!
Three family-owned wineries in Sonoma County shared their individual stories and what sets their local Sonoma wineries apart from the rest with The Local Dish. Kathleen Inman, owner and winemaker at Inman Family Wines, says that she “first worked in a winery back in 1982 as a summer helper.” It was during this time that Kathleen’s passion for “transforming grapes into a product” grew, as she observed the happiness that local wines “served at people’s special occasions” brought to her community.
The primary crop grown on the Inman vineyards is Pinot Noir grapes—which Kathleen uses to create varietals of Pinot Noir, as well as Rosé. Their Rosé is a delicate pink wine that is not too sweet, is very crisp, and has a hint of spice that delights the taste buds—a wonderful summer treat! Kathleen takes pride in her “commitment to organic farming, recycling, repurposing and reusing” at the winery. They operate eco-ethically by using solar power, providing a solar powered Electric Vehicle charging station, reprocessing their gray water, and using as many recycled materials as possible in the creation of their winery.
Inman Family Wines produces the kind of wines you not only love to drink because they taste fantastic and pair well with a good meal, but also because you can feel good about drinking them, and for supporting a winery who maintains such a high standard of environmental responsibility.
Barry Collier, owner and winemaker at Collier Falls Winery, states that his winery began “with a love for wine; drinking it, that is!” The seed was planted to purchase the Dry Creek Valley vineyards and estate on Barry’s 50th birthday, when he and his wife, Susan, visited the Sonoma County wine country. Barry says he “loved the tranquility and beauty of the vineyards,” and upon returning home, the two sold their house and bought a winery!
Barry stays active in his local community by supporting Canine Companions (the Healdsburg Animal Shelter), MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association), and the ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) chapter of San Francisco. He also volunteered as a “fireman for 5 years for the Geyserville Fire Protection District and was on the board of the Dry Creek Valley Association, a group that represents most of the homeowners, vineyard owners, and winery owners of the valley.” When Barry isn’t busy with his community, he’s making a variety of red wines that he shares with the community. These complex and intricate wines pair well with food and are just as delightful on their own.
Blue Rock Vineyard was originally an old “stone house, winery, and vineyards that were built around 1880…by poor Italian immigrants.” Since then, Kenny Kahn, owner and winemaker at Blue Rock Vineyard, says that “the original house, gardens, and stone winery have all been rebuilt with a respect for the unique history.” This unique history has inspired Kenny to “always make wine from grapes grown exclusively on the 100 acre Estate.” The vineyards are planted with a majority of “Bordeaux varietals plus a small hillside of Syrah.” These grapes are known for their high concentration of flavor and strong aromatics. Kenny hosts many tasting and local charity events on the estate when he’s not consumed with creating the best Bordeaux Sonoma County has to offer.
These family-owned Sonoma wineries are just three of many wonderful Sonoma County vineyards within reach of the Bay Area, but they represent the best wines that the various grape growing valleys have to offer. Stop by and visit them soon!