Vineyard tour at Emeritus Vineyards
Global Buyers Marketplace Sonoma County Regional Tour
November 8-10, 2023
As part of California Wine Institute’s Global Buyers Marketplace, Sonoma County Vintners (SCV) welcomed 21 select wine buyers and importers from around the world to participate in a three-day Sonoma County Regional Tour November 8 – 10, 2023. SCV was thrilled to welcome guests to Sonoma County from Belgium, Canada, China, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Mexico, and South Korea.
During the tour, international wine buyers and importers experienced the diversity of the Sonoma County wine region – learning about Sonoma County’s sustainable practices, unique terroir, 60+ grape varieties, winemaking techniques, history and much more!
Day 1, November 8
We welcomed guests to Sonoma County with lunch, followed by a vineyard tour at Emeritus Vineyards. Lunch featured a vegan menu from Chef Matt Paille, Chef and Owner of local catering company Epicurean Escape and was paired with a flight of Emeritus Vineyards pinot noirs. Following lunch Emeritus President Mari Jones, Winemaker Keith Hammond and Assistant Vineyard Manager Riggs Lokka lead the group on a Rooted in Sustainability vineyard tour through the iconic Hallberg Ranch. They told stories about the land and shared their pioneering techniques for sustainable farming.
Dry Creek Vineyard’s Endeavor Vineyard
In partnership with the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley, the guests next explored the Dry Creek Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA), beginning with a vineyard tour at Dry Creek Vineyard’s Endeavor Vineyard hosted by Winemaker Tim Bell. The vineyard tour was followed by a seminar called Preserving the Future of Dry Creek Valley at Dry Creek Vineyard. The panel was led by Maison Healdsburg’s Ryan Knowles and panelists included Winemaker Michael Bairdsmith (Ridge Vineyards), Winemaker Tim Bell (Dry Creek Vineyard), and Winemaker Andy Robinson (Seghesio Family Vineyards). The panelists each featured two wines and discussed the history of Dry Creek Valley and how each winery is keeping sustainability at the forefront of their businesses to be stewards of the land for years to come.
Dinner was at Rodney Strong Vineyards, catered by Elaine Bell, and hosted by Rodney Strong and Silver Oak, featuring Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignons. Rodney Strong Winemaker Justin Seidenfeld began by presenting an overview of the Alexander Valley AVA, and both he and Silver Oak Winemaker Dan Kemp presented two of their Cabernet Sauvignons from Alexander Valley along with dinner.
Overview of the Alexander Valley AVA at Rodney Strong Vineyards
Day 2, November 9
In partnership with the Russian River Valley Winegrowers, the guests started their second day in the Russian River Valley at Martinelli Winery for a masterclass on the Russian River Valley Neighborhoods. This masterclass was moderated by Sommelier Gabe Brezic from Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery and featured a vintner from a winery located in each Russian River Valley neighborhood: Sebastopol Hills (Merry Edwards Winery & Vineyards), Green Valley (Twomey), Laguna Ridge (Benovia Winery), Santa Rosa Plains (Martinelli Winery) and Middle Reach (Ramey Wine Cellars).
Masterclass on the Russian River Valley Neighborhoods at Martinelli Winery
Following the panel guests were welcomed at Hartford Family Winery for a speed tasting of Russian River Valley wines, featuring DNA Vineyards, Notre Vue Estate and Winery, Emeritus Vineyards, Iron Horse Vineyards, Hartford Family Wines, and Senses Wines. Following the speed tasting, Hartford’s President and Co-Owner Hailey Hartford and Winemaker Tiaan Lordan hosted a lunch paired with their wines.
Speed tasting of Russian River Valley wines at Hartford Family Winery
The afternoon session featured a Discover Sonoma County walk-around tasting at BACA Wines in Healdsburg. This tasting featured wineries from across the county and guests were welcomed to walk around and taste each winery at their leisure. Wineries at this tasting included BACA & WALT, Marchelle Wines, Senses, Ram’s Gate, Red Car, Merry Edwards, Aperture, Kunde, Paradise Ridge Winery, Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery, and Small Vines.
Discover Sonoma County walk-around tasting at BACA Wines
Dinner took place at La Crema Winery Saralee’s Vineyard and featured multiple Jackson Family Wine brands – La Crema, Stonestreet and Vérité Winery. Chef Tracy Shepos created a farm-to-table menu to pair with the wines and La Crema Winemaker Craig McAllister presented his wines to the group. Kendall-Jackson’s Chairman & Proprietor Barbara Banke and Chris and Ari Jackson also welcomed the group and joined the dinner. To showcase the age-ability of Sonoma County wines, a 2013 Stonestreet Chardonnay and 2011 Vérité La Joie were both featured with dinner.
Farm-to-table dinner at La Crema Winery
Day 3, November 10
The final day began with a collaboration with the West Sonoma Coast Vintners to explore Sonoma County’s newest AVA. The first stop was Freeman Vineyard & Winery, where guests tasted wines from Freeman, Boar’s View and Cobb Wines. Freeman Winemaker Akiko Freeman gave an overview of their Yu-ki Estate Vineyard located within the West Sonoma Coast, and then each winery presented their wines to the group
At Freeman Vineyard & Winery exploring the West Sonoma Coast AVA
The next stop was Littorai Wines, where guests started with a vineyard tour. On this day, the winery was spreading their compost throughout the property, so guests got an in-depth look at the Littorai farming practices. Once in the vineyard, guests tasted wines from Littorai, Alma Fria, Peay Vineyards and Paul Hobbs Winery while learning about the West Sonoma Coast AVA and how the terroir is expressed through the wines.
The group’s last stop in Sonoma County was Grand Cru Custom Crush, to continue learning about coastal wines with Ernest Vineyards and DuMOL. The group tasted with Owner of Ernest Vineyards Erin Brooks and President Mark Malpiede, as well as DuMOL Winemaker Andy Smith. Following the tasting, guests enjoyed a lunch catered by local purveyor Marla SR, paired with cool-climate wines from both Ernest and DuMOL.
Learning about coastal wines at Grand Cru Custom Crush
Sonoma County Vintners works closely with the California Wine Institute to bring high-level trade, media and retailers to Sonoma County from key international markets around the world. If you are interested in participating in future Sonoma County Vintners’ International Programs, please contact our Trade Relations & International Programs Manager via our contact form.