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Kenwood Wineries, Sonoma

Where They Bottle Dreams

Carolyn Craig, Winemaker for Larson Family WinesPhoto: Carolyn Craig, Winemaker at Larson Family Winery.

Women of the Wine Country

If I was asked to tell you what's in Carolyn Craig's wines, I would have to say, "her dreams."

But I couldn't just say, "her dreams," There would have to be California history also.

I would have to tell about what it's like to taste wines at a small, winery operating on land that's been in the same family for a hundred and fifteen years.

The Larson Family has owned the 100-plus acres their winery is on since 1898 when it was the landing for the Sonoma Steamer, a steam ship operating from the Embarcadero to Sonoma Creek.

Beginning in 1920, the property was known as Millerick Ranch and hosted the Sonoma Rodeo.

In 1977, Tom and his father Bob Larson, added 40 acres of Chardonnay vineyards. The Carneros region is renowned for some of the best Chardonnay grapes.

CarTrawler is one of the top car hire companies in the world and Wine Country Welcome has been working with them for fourteen years, now.


The winery has no distribution (you have to buy the nectar there) so Bob and Tom's success has been built on the quality of their wines rather than advertising and ease of purchase. With the foundation of their business based on quality rather than availability, they had to produce a better product. And they do.

Since 2008, much of that responsibility has fallen on Carolyn. The stars were in alignment for both Carolyn and the Larson Family when she went to work in the tasting room in 2002.

She brought with her a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business and Management from Cal Poly and her dreams. After four years of working for the family, she was asked to be their winemaker.

Larson Family Winery already had a great reputation. Their 2003 vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon won Best Cab of California at the California State Fair (Carolyn helped with this one but gives all the credit to her boss, Tom Larson).

Family Wineries KenwoodFamily Wineries
Wine Tastings $5
Tel: 888-433-6555
9380 Sonoma Highway (Hwy 12)
Kenwood, CA 95452

Located right on Highway 12 between Santa Rosa and Sonoma, Family Wineries Tasting Room gives you an excellent opportunity to sample some of the best wines in Sonoma County.

Wines poured at Family Wineries Tasting room are:

Cass Winery Collier Falls Vineyards, David Noyes Wines, Macrae Family Winery, SL Cellars Tres Hermanas Winery, Wine Tree Farm

Cass Winery - Wine Tastings $5 at Family Wineries
Tel: 888-433-6555
9380 Sonoma Highway (Hwy 12)
Kenwood, CA 95452

Cass Vineyards and Winery is located in the rolling, oak-studded hills between Paso Robles and Creston on California's Central Coast.

This area that the vineyard calls home offers quiet serenity for the visitor and a perfect growing season for wine grapes.

We also rest far enough from the coast to generate the heat needed to optimally ripen the Rhone varieties grown in our vineyards.

Collier Falls Vineyards - Wine Tastings $5 at Family Wineries
Tel: 888-433-6555
9380 Sonoma Highway (Hwy 12)
Kenwood, CA 95452

Collier Falls Vineyard is a 100-acre hillside property, located in the northwest corner of Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County, California. The property was purchased in 1997 by Barry and Susan Collier from Don and Rhonda Carano of Ferrari-Carano Winery.

Originally planted in 1982 as an eight-acre Zinfandel vineyard, Collier Falls expanded its vineyards in 1997 with eight more acres of Zinfandel. In 1998, ten additional acres were planted, three to Zinfandel and seven to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot.

David Noyes Wines - Wine Tastings $5 at Family Wineries
Tel: 888-433-6555
9380 Sonoma Highway (Hwy 12)
Kenwood, CA 95452

My wines are meant to accompany food; neither wine nor food need overpower the palate to provide an overwhelming experience.

The aim is for a rich, balanced style, full-flavored wines that express the best of our California fruit, yet do not overwhelm with alcohol, extract or oak. I find such wines offer more individual expression, better pairings with food and more personality.

Macrae Family Winery - Wine Tastings $5 at Family Wineries
Tel: 888-433-6555
9380 Sonoma Highway (Hwy 12)
Kenwood, CA 95452

The Macrae Family Winery uses state of the art production techniques. We use Europress Vertical Basket Presses for the red wines to increase the quality of the juice at press time. The wine Chardonnay is crushed as whole clusters and all grapes are hand sorted. We use native yeasts in fermentation as much as possible.

The wine is put into new and one year old French Barrels to impart flavor and texture to the wine. The Russian River Bacigalupi Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are in Barrel for one year and the Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and Napa Merlot are cellared for two years. Whenever possible we bottle unfiltered.

SL Cellars - Wine Tastings $5 at Family Wineries
Tel: 888-433-6555
9380 Sonoma Highway (Hwy 12)
Kenwood, CA 95452

At Simon Levi Cellars our commitment is to offer a unique range of limited production, and often, exclusive wines of excellent quality. Believing quality of life can be synonymous with the quality of our wines, our concentration is to source site-specific grapes to produce wines that represent the characteristics of their appellation.

We also specialize in discovering distinctive, one-of-a-kind wines that you'll not fine elsewhere. Sometimes that involves traveling the back passes of Northern California's Wine Country or digging into our own wine cellars to find those gems.

With over 130 years of experience and with the help of our collected resources, often including selections from our extended family of winemakers and friends, we are able to bring these treasures to you.

Tres Hermanas Winery - Wine Tastings $5 at Family Wineries
Tel: 888-433-6555
9380 Sonoma Highway (Hwy 12)
Kenwood, CA 95452

The Tres Hermanas Vineyard & Winery was founded in 2001 by Marvin & Paulette Teixeira with the planting of a small vineyard on their cattle ranch. Tres Hermanas which means the Three Sisters, was named for their three daughters, Stacey, Tracey and Marcey.

Our label is a picture of the barn that exhibits the JT cattle brand, which was Marvin's fathers brand used to identify cattle today. The barn still exists on the winery property. The ranch is still headquarters for the family cattle operation.

Our first harvest was in the fall of 2003 with the tasting room opening in July of 2007.

Wine Tree Farm - Tasting Room at Family Wineries
Tel: 888-433-6555
9380 Sonoma Highway (Hwy 12)
Kenwood, CA 95452

Wine Tree farm is located on 100+ acres in Amador County, on one of the historic farms, known as the Torre Ranch. The old farmhouse was built in 1902. The farm was uninhabited for at least 20 years before we purchased it in 1998.

In 2002 we planted 6 acres of grapes - 3 acres of Syrah and 1.5 each of Grenache and Mourvedre. We practice sustainable agriculture, which means we use the barest minimum of any chemicals. We now have 5 wines in our family.

Chateau St. Jean - Wine Tastings $10-$15
Tel: 707-833-4134
Tel: 800-543-7572
8555 Sonoma Hwy
Kenwood, CA 95452

When Chateau St. Jean was established in 1973, the decision was made to preserve the Goff legacy. The Chateau was fully restored and opened to the public.

It has since been listed in the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The fishponds in the shape of Lakes Michigan and Huron, and the arched footbridge, delight visitors just as they did 80 years ago.

The Visitor Center and acclaimed gardens are open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m..

Kenwood Vineyards - Wine Tastings $5
Tel: 707-833-5891
9592 Sonoma Highway
Kenwood, CA 95452 

Located in the heart of the Sonoma Valley, just an hour away from San Francisco, Kenwood Vineyards is dedicated to producing premium wines truly representative of Sonoma County's world-class vineyards.

Kenwood Vineyards wines include the Vintage, Sonoma, Reserve, Jack London, and Artist Series. Mosey up to the bar and enjoy our award-winning wines in Kenwood's quaint 106-year-old barn.

Five tastes for just $5.00 (tasting fee waived with purchase of 3 or more bottles). Our gift shop and picnic area will complete your visit. Check our website for future events. We are open Monday-Sunday, 10:00am to 4:30pm, closed major holidays.

Art, Food & Wine Experience at Kenwood Vineyards

Saturdays & Sundays | Kenwood Vineyards | Price: $25.00 Club members / $30.00 for non-members

At Kenwood Vineyards come taste exceptional Cabernet Sauvignons while learning and viewing the renowned Artist Series Collection. Visitors will have an opportunity to see original art pieces from the collection that began with the controversial 1975 "Naked Lady", by David Lance Goines. Gourmet appetizers will be paired to bring out the best characteristics of the wine.

Tour times are Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.
For reservations, please call 707-282-4228 or book online

Landmark Vineyards - Wine Tastings $5-$15
Tel: 707-833-0218
101 Adobe Canyon Road
Kenwood, CA 95452

Landmark's Tasting Room is located on the corner of Highway 12 and Adobe Canyon Road in Kenwood. The Tasting Room is open seven days a week and is closed only on major holidays.

You can buy all of our current releases as well as some interesting library selections and wines only available at the winery. The tasting room is also stocked with some intriguing gift items and sophisticated logo items.

More Wineries

Kaz Vineyard & Winery - Wine Tastings $5
Tel: 877-833-2536
233 Adobe Canyon Road

Kenwood, CA 95452
Kunde Estate Winery - Wine Tastings $10-$20
Tel: 707-833-5501
9825 Sonoma Highway
Kenwood, CA 95452

Ledson Winery & Vineyards - Wine Tastings $15-$25
Tel: 707-537-3810
7335 Sonoma Highway
Kenwood, CA 95452

St. Francis Winery - Wine Tastings $10-$35
Tel: 707-833-0242
Tel: 888-675-WINE
100 Pythian Road
Kenwood, CA 95409

VJB Vineyards & Cellars - Wine Tastings $5-$25
Tel: 707-833-2300
9077 Sonoma Highway
Kenwood, CA 95452 

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