Research Day in Sonoma
February 28, 2012

Valley of the Moon Winery

Valley of the Moon Winery has a rich history in Sonoma County and
has documented encounters with such greats as Jack London and indigenous Indian groups.  There have been even been arrow heads found on the property!  The Sonoma Creek backs up against the property, so it is easy to see why early inhabitants of Sonoma County found the valley floor as a resource.  The property is rustic, artistic and beautiful.  We toured the old vines right outside the Tasting Room, the amazing bottling line and the gorgeous Barrel Room.  The Barrel Room, which is attached to the Tasting Room, is part of the original winery site and dates back to 1863.  The stonework, the wooden doors and the 500 year old Bay Tree take you back to a time forgotten. 

The perfect guests to send to this property would be anyone who wants to experience a piece of Sonoma Valley history along with some fantastic wines!  Their signature wines include a delicious Barbera and the Pinot Blanc.  With a production of about 50,00 cases, the bottles average in price from $17.00-$25.00, with the exception of a few reserves.  They can accommodate groups up to 30 guests and offer a VIP Tour as well as groups tasting in the Barrel Room. The cost is $15.00-$25.00 per guest and this includes the tasting, a 2
5% discount on select wines and 15 % off gift items.  The winery does not currently offer event space for private events. 

We so enjoyed our time here!

"Finding out the rich history at Valley of the Moon Winery was great!  It was just amazing to see the old stone of the original Barrel Room set against the 500 year old Bay Tree that was just magical."
- Ralph DiAmici, Amicis Tours

 Kit & Karen
Valley of the Moon Winery
777 Madrone Road, Glen Ellen, CA
(707) 939-4500


Arrowood Winery


Arrowood started our visit with a tour of the vineyards and really great information on the CCOF estate grown grapes.  They produce 25,00 cases with 12-15 varietals at any given time.  Arrowood's Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are distributed Nationwide, but the winery prides itself on wines "they absolutely love" which includes Viognier, Mourvedre, Syrah and other Rhone Varietals.  This fruit is fertilized by infusing the vineyard with mustard, bells peppers, radishes and various other plants.  Joe was gracious enough to explain all the different pruning techniques practiced by their vineyard managers to ensure the best fruit possible.  We tasted fantastic wines including a Viognier, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and a Late Har
vest Riesling. 

After the vineyard tasting, we proceeded up to the Tasting Room where we were greeted with a fire and the perfect ambiance to relax while enjoying our wine.  The Tasting Room has a Modern French Country flare and we all felt at home immediately.  Had the weather permitted, we would have all lounged on the wrap around porch hosting a phenomenal view!  Tasting flights are $10.00 & $15.00, which includes a flight of Signature, Reserve or Dessert Wines.  In addition to the lovely Tasting Room, guests are offered a more intimate tasting experience up stairs in the Private Tasting Room.  This area can accommodate up to 8 guests and they are working with Kendall-Jackson Culinary to incorporate a Food & Wine Pairing.  The cost is $25.00 and takes about 1.5 hours...reservation are strongly encouraged due to popularity.

"It is so nice to walk into a tasting room that has a homey & comfortable feel, relax in front of the fire and sip on delicious wine!
- Sara Little, Wine Country Goodness

Arrowood Winery
14347 Sonoma Highway, Glen Ellen, CA
(707) 935-2600


Kenwood Inn and Spa

Talk about indulgent!  This hotel and spa is a hidden gem in the heart of Kenwood.  We were greeted by Brianne in the lobby and then ventured out on the grounds to see the hot tub area, courtyard, guest room, pool, spa, restaurant and wine bar.  The guests rooms are just to die for!  Outfitted with gas fireplaces, stone floors, beautiful views, mission style decor, plush furniture, and an amazing bathroom including a GIANT shower and gorgeous soaking tub.  There are no televisions on the property, which allows for guests really disconnect; however, there is wireless in all the rooms.  They have 29 rooms and the hotel s set back from Highway 12, which makes for the perfect getaway in Sonoma County.  The property can host private events with buy-outs of the hotel rooms and with outdoor venues hosting up to 130 guests.  Rates range from $295.00-$450.00 during low season and $450.00-$900.00 during the high season. 

One of the highlights on the property was the spa.  Guests are greeted in the most serene room and then taken into a treatment room or up to the spa terrace, where couples can have massages together or treat themselves to a "wine bath" while gazing at the vineyard views.  If you are local, make sure you sign up for the mailing list in order to receive special offers and great deals...spa@kenwoodinn.com.   

We were also treated to a great glass of wine from Kamen Estate Wines which set the tone for the great lunch prepared in the restaurant at the Kenwood Inn & Spa, which is only open to spa and hotel guests.  We noshed on a very clean salad, mini sandwiches, wood oven pizzas and creme brulee.

"The Kenwood Inn and Spa is just sooo romantic!"
- Amanda Hail, The Destination Center

Breanna & Jineen
Kenwood Inn and Spa
10400 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, CA
(800) 353-6966


Kenwood Vineyards


Kenwood Vineyards was the next stop on our journey through the Sonoma Valley.  It was like walking into a wine barrel walking into the Tasting Room.  You can FEEL the history there!  Kenwood Vineyards produces upwards of 580,000 cases and has a huge following.  They produce 10-12 varietals at any given time and offer around 30 wines.  Prices range from $8.00-$75.00 and the tasting room professionals can definitely find your niche within their wine catalog.

One of the best features of Kenwood Vineyards, was the unique, enormous wooden wine barrels.  Added to the winery in the 70's, these giant tanks made of Oak, which serve as the final storage space before being bottled, are quite the sight.  These barrels hold around 3000 gallons, which will end up amounting to 1,260 cases of wine.  Another great feature of the winery, is all the artwork which has served as a label for the Artist's Series Cabernets.  Started in 1975, the Artist's Series Cabernet is a wonderful addition to the phenomenal lineup Kenwood Vineyards offers. 

Guests are charged $5.00 for a tasting of five wines and they refund this fee for every 3 bottles purchased.  They also offer discounts on 4, 6, and 12 bottle purchases.  The staff here is so friendly and the Tasting Room provides a really relaxed atmosphere to focus on the wines. 

Check out the newest offering here, The Art, Wine & Food Pairing!  DETAILS HERE

"Very distinct, but public winery with great history, personable staff and wonderful wines."
- Greg Wright, Wright's Photography

Hutch & Sandy
Kenwood Vineyards
9592 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, CA
(707) 833-5891


Kunde Family Estate

Kunde Family Estate was our last stop and oh, what a way to end the day!  We started our visit with a tour up to the top of the property at 1400' and took in the one-of-a-kind views.  I don't think I have EVER seen such spectacular views with the span reaching from the fog on the coast to Mt. Diablo in the East Bay.  Sandrew and Dustin lead the tour group and gave a detailed and interesting history of the property.  The property includes 1850 acres of vineyards (including 7 different micro-climates), ponds, lakes, natural landscape and event spaces.  You can see ducks, geese, cows and horses running the property and take note of the sustainable practices on site with the owl houses strung about the 600 acres of vineyards. 

Kunde Family Vineyards produces 19 different varietals and still sources 40% of their grapes to other wineries.  The vineyards include some of the first EVER Cabernet Sauvignon grapes to be planted in California.  Also on site are the ruins of a building constructed in 1878, which is so breathtaking. 

Some unique experiences offered for guests include an interactive, educational Food & Wine Pairing, Horseback Rides throughout the property, Saturday afternoon Dog Walks, daily cave tours, mountain top tastings and five different event spaces.  With the perfect combination of vineyards, farmland, animals, views, culinary experiences and a beautiful Tasting Room, this property has it all...seriously!  You have to book horseback riding through Triple Creek Horse Outfit.  For tours and Food & Wine Pairings, contact them to schedule in advance.

"This is a stand-out, one-of-a-kind property that incorporates all Sonoma County has to offer.  They incorporate a beautiful landscape with owls, cows and ducks and blend that with the winery experience."
- Pamela Grinnewald, AVIA Napa

Sandrew & Dustin
Kunde Family Estate
9825 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, Ca
(707) 833-5501


Overall, we had an amazing day with wonderful properties, hosts, company, wine and food!

See all the wonderful photos from Greg Wright on Facebook!

Respectfully Submitted by Sara Little, Proprietor of Wine Country Goodness

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