Six Sonoma Wineries Owned & Operated by Women
With stunning vistas, stellar wines, stand-out guest experiences — and strong female stewardship — these six Sonoma wineries are top of our list. The end-of-harvest season, transitioning into winter, is an opportune time to visit Sonoma. Many small producers have more availability for visitors, and more often than not you’ll get to meet one of the owners or key team members. Read on for inspiration in planning your next wine country itinerary.
The Agricultural Preserve
Beltane Ranch is a sixth generation family owned and operated agricultural preserve, vineyard, winery, and historic landmark farm stay inn (c. 1892), under the stewardship of siblings Lauren Benward Krause and Alex Benward. Just north of MacArthur Place on the outskirts of the quaint hamlet of Glen Ellen, this magical 105-acre farm awaits. Guests of Bohemian Highway tours can experience the bounty of this agrarian paradise through estate wine tastings, private picnics, and pop-up dinners featuring ranch-grown ingredients. For a deeper dive, book a private farm tour in an open-air 4×4 to explore the vineyard blocks, learn about the ranch’s regenerative farming practices, and visit and feed the animals — sheep, horses, donkeys, chickens and more! This immersive farm tour culminates in a vertical tasting and chef-prepared lunch al fresco.
The Bucolic Oasis
Blue Farm Wines
Blue Farm began in 2001 when viticulturist Anne Moller-Racke (founder and former president and winegrower of lauded Donum Estate) planted seven acres of Pinot Noir behind her historic Victorian farmhouse in Sonoma. Throughout her storied career, Anne has focused on farming as a way to cultivate a deep connection to the land. Her estate vineyard, Anne Katherina, is a testament to this approach as it was meticulously designed to produce one complete wine blended from four clones. In addition to the beautifully-crafted wines from the estate vineyard, Blue Farm’s portfolio includes a thoughtful array of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from singular sites across five of Sonoma’s AVAs. Schedule a tasting outside their refurbished pump house overlooking the estate vineyard. You’ll find yourself in an oasis (“garden of Eden” as Anne calls it) surrounded by vineyards, a pond and weeping willow – all just moments from downtown Sonoma.
The Path Less Traveled
Abbot’s Passage Winery & Mercantile
Brand new to the relaxed, Bohemian enclave of Glen Ellen is Abbot’s Passage, a beautifully designed tasting room, mercantile and olive grove set amidst a heritage vineyard planted in 1940 (formerly Valley of the Moon Winery). Helmed by sixth generation vintner, Katie Bundschu, Abbot’s Passage offers a path less traveled — a creative spin on the traditional winery experience. Find unique, small-lot field blends, mostly Rhone-focused, from storied vineyards as well as lesser-celebrated sites in Sonoma and beyond. Plus thoughtfully curated goods and provisions from local female makers. The piece de resistance?! A shuffleboard court surrounded by historic Zinfandel vines – best enjoyed with a housemade grazing board and a glass of Sightline, a zippy Chenin Blanc-Verdejo blend from Clarksburg AVA. This convivial winery-mercantile-playground is awaiting discovery.
The Carneros Capital
Venture into the heart of Los Carneros, and discover the original site of this acclaimed viticultural area’s humble beginnings. Set amidst the rolling hills and cooling wetlands of the San Pablo Bay, Bouchaine is the oldest continuously operating winery in Carneros, first planted to grape in the late 1880s by a Missouri-born settler named Boon Fly. Now under the expert stewardship of the Copeland family and Winemaker and GM, Chris Kajani, Bouchaine produces vibrant, Burgundian-style wines reflective of the inimitable Carneros terroir. In addition to stellar Pinots and Chardonnays, Bouchaine serves up highly-experiential (and unexpected) visitation options in their hospitality center, from cooking classes to wine and music pairings with The Philadelphia Orchestra to falconry demonstrations with Master Falconer Kate Marden. Falconry?! Yes indeed folks, enjoy a meet-and-greet with a bird of prey while you sip on a glass of wine.
The Historic Adobe
Situated in the historic Vallejo-Casteñada Adobe tucked quietly behind Sonoma Plaza, the Three Sticks tasting lounge is a tour de force of architecture, design, craftsmanship — and hospitality, under the stewardship of co-founder and GM, Prema Behan. To create this aptly magical setting for their stunning wines, designer Ken Fulk honored the heritage of the adobe, one of the town’s few remaining buildings from California’s Mexican Period, with foraged Manzanita branches, handmade Mexican tiles, cowhide and an altar showcasing archaeological finds from the renovation. Enjoy an intimate tasting of their acclaimed Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, by appointment, in the adobe’s luxe dining room or in the lush garden. Don’t miss the 22-foot mural designed by artist, Rafael Arana.
The Agrarian Paradise
Hudson Ranch & Vineyards
Founded in 1981 by wine country icon and native Texan, Lee Hudson, Hudson Ranch is a majestic 2,000-acre farm in the heart of Carneros. In this viticultural area characterized by rolling hills and maritime breezes, Lee and his wife Cristina sustainably grow world-class grapes, Tuscan olives and an array of seasonal fruits and vegetables, in addition to raising heritage breed pigs, lambs and chickens. Immerse yourself in this agrarian paradise with a ranch tour and intimate tasting, paired with provisions from the estate, in the family’s modern desert-style winery and open-air tasting galleries. A few site-specific favorites are the Aleatico (surprisingly, a dry aromatic white), Grenache “Pick Up Sticks” and Ladybug Chardonnay (a nod to Cristina’s nickname).
Behind the Cellar Door
Bohemian Highway Travel Co
You won’t go wrong with any of these wineries; however they are best experienced as part of a bespoke wine tasting excursion curated by Bohemian Highway Travel Co. — experts in creating off-the-beaten-path wine country tours to Sonoma Valley’s premier wineries. Owned and operated by Sonoma-based wife and husband team Allyson (creative director) and Nigel Weekes (operations), Bohemian Highway is proudly independent, and deeply rooted in the local wine community. So sit back, let Bohemian Highway do the planning (and driving!) while you taste great wines, learn about the land and have a memorable experience.