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History Among the Vines: Valley of the Moon Winery

Valley of the Moon in Glen Ellen, California.

A big part of what makes Sonoma County such an inviting destination has as much to do with its history as it does with the extraordinary wines it produces. One of the many places in Wine Country where that history and exceptional winemaking come together is the Valley of the Moon Winery at the Madrone Estate in lush Glen Ellen.

To say that there is history among the vines at Valley of the Moon Winery almost too casually understates the role that the estate’s 60-acre cluster of vines has played in the narrative of Sonoma.

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Not only was Valley of the Moon one of the first wineries in Sonoma, the estate boasts some of the region’s oldest Zinfandel clones along with classic Italian varietals such as Sangiovese and Barbera planted by the Italian immigrants who established Sonoma’s winegrowing legacy more than a century ago.

Though modernization and evolution have brought a new state-of-the-art winery and even new owners to Valley of the Moon over the course of the last couple of decades, many of the winery structures on the property, including the original stone barrel cellar constructed in 1887, date back to the late 19th century.

It is in spots like the barrel cellar, which hosts walking tours, that Sonoma’s roots are given a showcase and it becomes ever clearer that Sonoma is no overnight sensation.

Taken over by the Stewart family in 2012, Valley of the Moon invites guests to stroll among the vines and sample their selection of estate-driven, small lot wines from the historic property. This includes the winery’s recently released 2015 Pinot Blanc — ViognierVOM — a unique blend of 85 percent Pinot Blanc and 15 percent Viognier.

“We are proud to have achieved something truly unique with this wine,” said Kat Doescher, the winemaker who personally crafted this small-batch wine. “There are certainly other white blends available on the market, but the combination of Pinot Blanc and Viognier achieves a light and refreshing fruit quality, with a sturdy backbone that gives it balance and structure.”

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You can experience the evolving story of the Sonoma Valley through the sights and flavors of Valley of the Moon Winery by: reserving a seat at one of the property’s weekly three-course seasonal food and wine pairings; ordering a gourmet plated picnic lunch that can be enjoyed on the winery’s scenic patio; or indulging in the flight of the day with local cheeses while perched in the Valley of the Moon Olive Grove, located just in front of the historic Barrel Cellar.

A little history, a little wine, and a dazzling setting — not the worst way to spend an afternoon, wouldn’t you agree?

Valley of the Moon Winery at Madrone Estate, 777 Madrone Road, Glen Ellen, 707-939-4500

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