Support Sonoma, Virtually
Image courtesy of Hamel Family Wines
As Sonoma and most of California hunker down for a second phase of closures, we revisit our favorite way to support the local wineries that make our community thrive: virtual tastings. This moniker is actually a bit of a misnomer because the wine tasting component is anything-but-virtual (thankfully!). It’s just the interactive experience that happens from the comfort of your living room with a little help from technology. Here are four stellar virtual tastings that are almost as good as the real thing, plus a couple of “real life” wine experiences for area locals.
Daily by Appointment
Recognized for their highly-lauded Pinot Noirs and Chardonnay from the Carneros AVA in Sonoma, as well as their impressive outdoor sculpture collection (including pieces by Ai Weiwei and Keith Haring), Donum Estate is a gem within wine country. Transport yourself to Donum’s bucolic estate through one of their virtual tasting experiences. They’ve curated unique collections of wines which one of their hospitality hosts will guide you through over Zoom. Included with the live tasting of four wines is also a virtual tour of the sculpture garden and a 368-page hardback Donum Estate collection book celebrating the artworks and artists that have activated the Estate. Place your order using code SIGNATURE at checkout, and they will send you a private link to schedule your tasting. Learn more.
Daily at 10:30am, 1pm or 3:30pm, by Appointment
Three Sticks Wines is a boutique, family-owned winery crafting small-lot, artisanal wines from exceptional Sonoma Coast vineyards. Situated in the historic Vallejo-Casteñada Adobe (built 1842) tucked quietly behind Sonoma Plaza, the Three Sticks tasting lounge is a tour de force of architecture, design and craftsmanship — an aptly magical setting for their stunning wines. You can experience this enchanted adobe setting, complete with Three Sticks wines, by purchasing a private tasting kit of three or five of their current wines. The interactive tasting is led by one of their expert hosts, who guides you through a multimedia experience including videos from the vineyard and notes from their winemaker. The tasting culminates in a tour of the winery’s historic home, the 1842 Vallejo-Casteñada Adobe. Learn more
Hamel Family Wines
Daily by Appointment
Founded in 2006, Hamel is a family-owned winery producing organically- and biodynamically-farmed Cabernet and other Bordeaux varietals (as well as some unique blends) from their Sonoma Valley and Moon Mountain District estate vineyards. Although their impressive facility – including a 7k sq ft state-of-the-art winery with a “green” living roof plus a 12k sq ft cave with concrete fermentation eggs – is closed to visitors, you can still taste their expertly crafted wines and learn about their sustainable practices. Hamel’s At Home with Hamel Family Wines is a virtual tasting experience led by one of their talented Estate Ambassadors via Zoom or Facetime. Each experience includes the HFW wine in the tasting, personalized tasting menus, an HFW wine key, along with some extra surprises! Learn More.
Daily by Appointment
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 prize-winning giant pumpkins. Join one of their virtual tastings and let the Hudson team regale you with stories and anecdotes about Hudson Ranch and the making of their wines while you enjoy a tasting flight, shipped to you in advance.
For those living locally, Hudson just introduced two ways to experience their ranch (and wines), in a safe and socially distanced manner. Hudson Heights: With a purchase of 3 bottles per person, you can take a scenic hike on the marked hiking trail around Hudson’s ranch and enjoy expansive views of their vineyards and the bay. Purchase & Picnic: With a purchase of 3 bottles per person, Hudson invites you to bring your own picnic and enjoy their patio space—sit, relax, and enjoy the scenery. Learn More.
There are of course many more wonderful virtual offerings. Our friends at Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers have an extensive and up-to-date list of virtual wine tastings which you can view here. If you’re not a fan of virtual experiences, not to worry – there’s more than one way to support our local Sonoma wineries and enjoy a taste of Sonoma! You can always purchase a few bottles from your favorite Sonoma vineyard and have them shipped to your home.