Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance is excited to announce that this year’s Signature Sonoma Valley captivated a sold-out audience by providing them with exclusive opportunities to access acclaimed vineyards, taste world-class wines from rare vintages, and enjoy educational events led by iconic leaders in the wine industry. Taking place May 16 through 19, more than 650 discerning travelers and wine enthusiasts from around the country attended to learn, experience and immerse themselves in one of the world’s most respected wine regions.

Educational wine tasting

This year’s Signature Sonoma Valley welcomed an all-star cast of wine industry leaders and educators, starting with an introduction of some of the region’s most historic vineyard sites by Antonio Galloni at the intimate Immersion events, followed by a retrospective tasting of the hallmark wines of Laurel Glen Vineyard dating back to 1981 led by San Francisco Chronicle’s wine critic Esther Mobley. Finally, Master Sommelier and renowned wine educator Bob Bath, MS emceed the capstone event of the weekend – Legends: Collector’s Dinner – as guests enjoyed incredibly rare vintages of wines from across Sonoma Valley. Leading sommeliers and wine writers from across the country joined this stellar line up to round out the distinguished team of wine industry notables.

“We wanted this year’s Signature Sonoma Valley to focus on educating collectors and sommeliers about the incomparable vineyard sites in our region,” said Maureen Cottingham, Executive Director of the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance.  “With the new intricately detailed map of the vineyards of Sonoma Valley along with the intensive and fun wine educational programs, we hope that guests left the event with a deeper connection to our vineyards and appreciation for the caliber of wines coming out Sonoma Valley.”

Guests of this year’s event were captivated by the line-up of expertly curated wine programs and in-depth, educational wine tastings that showcased the collectability and versatility of Sonoma Valley wines. Highlights from this year’s weekend of events are noted below:

Debut of Sonoma Valley Vinous Map – A collaboration between author and renowned wine critic Antonio Galloni and cartographer Alessandro Masnaghetti, a detailed map of Sonoma Valley representing every vineyard in the region was created Vinous Map and made its first debut at Signature Sonoma Valley’s Large Format Bottle Party on Thursday, May 16 held at the historic Buena Vista Winery.  The map was projected onto the wall of the champagne cellars building for guests to admire the intricate design.  This definitive map cements Sonoma Valley’s reputation alongside other top-tier regions in the world that have a long history of providing detailed vineyard maps and information and will serve as an educational tool for generations to come.

Retrospective – Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle’s wine writer, guided the sold-out tasting of over 60 wine enthusiasts through 40 years of Cabernet Sauvignon from the iconic Laurel Glen Vineyard, all taking place in a private barn on top of Sonoma Mountain.  Beaming with finesse, structure and elegance, the wines excited guests with how well they aged and evolved through each vintage.

ICON: A GRAND TERROIR TASTING– Sonoma Valley’s six distinctive appellations were featured at ICON: A Grand Terroir Tasting at Ram’s Gate Winery in Los Carneros where a panel of leading sommeliers led by Dan O’Brien, Signature Sonoma Valley’s Wine Director, selected a roster of wines that showcased the distinctive traits and characteristics of the AVA’s within Sonoma Valley. Thirty winemakers, from the storied to the cutting-edge, showcased their wines as Sonoma Valley winegrowers provided perspective on the unique sub-regions and vineyards. Each room designated a different AVA by previewing the VINOUS Vineyard map for that region with a call-out box highlighting the special vineyard site that represented that AVA. ICON: A GRAND TERROIR TASTING was presented by Bank of American Merrill Lynch.

Legends: Collector’s Dinner – The capstone event of the weekend allowed media and guests to have intimate, one-on-one conversations with vineyard owners and winemakers while enjoying rare vintage wines from their personal collections.  The tables displayed the soil from the featured vineyard enclosed in a glass box with gold trim and a tag calligraphed with the vineyard name and soil type.  Each table was assigned a sommelier to serve these special wines and speak about each vintage, all while legendary author and wine critic Antonio Galloni and Bob Bath, MS shared the stories of these historic Sonoma Valley vineyards.  The benchmark wines that vintners and growers shared represented a distinguished sense of place, history and future of premium wines from Sonoma Valley. Highlights from the dinner included a vast selection of wines made from Moon Mountain from the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s produced by Carmenet, Chateau St Jean, Kistler and Ridge, along with other standout wines by Hanzell Vineyards, Laurel Glen Vineyard, Gundlach Bundschu, Kenwood Vineyards and Kamen Estate from the 1980’s and 1990’s. Glen Ellen Star’s Executive Chef Ari Weiswasser crafted the dinner menu to complement the evening’s extraordinary and historic wines. The Legends: Collector’s Dinner was presented by TricorBraun WinePak.

Vineyard Immersions – Guests who attended the IMMERSION vineyard explorations and tastings left with a deeper knowledge and understanding of the farming methods applied to some of Sonoma Valley’s most unique vineyard sites as well as experienced curated tasting of wines produced from each site while being part of a sommelier-led discussion with the winemakers and winegrowers. The sites that welcomed guests throughout the weekend included the historic Monte Rosso Vineyard, Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, B. Wise Vineyards, and One Sky Vineyard of Price Family Vineyards and Estates.

WINE + DESIGN LUNCHES – Sonoma Valley is home to many exclusive properties and architectural masterworks that are as spectacular as they are secluded. Signature Sonoma Valley’s Wine + Design offered guests a contemporary spin on the traditional winemaker lunch. Set in distinctive and rarely accessible, one-of-a-kind locations featuring outstanding design and architecture, each location was unique, ranging from the showpiece private estate of the Sebastiani family to homes by renowned designers to exclusive properties featuring architectural masterworks. The homes highlighted during the weekend were Stephanie and Dick Fredericks, Gail and John Diserens, Nancy and Don Sebastiani and Sophie and James Gray.

The weekend concluded with Bubbles + Brunch, a memorial send-off featuring a curated range of Sonoma Valley sparkling wines hosted at the General’s Daughter, allowing guests to purchase wines from the weekend’s events and bid farewell to vintners, growers and other guests.

Next year’s Signature Sonoma Valley will take place May 14 – 17, 2020. For more information on the SVVGA, please visit www.SonomaValleyWine.com.

Photos from this year’s event were taken by Jon McPherson and Michael Woolsey. 

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