Are you a Cabernet Sauvignon or red blend enthusiast? Do you appreciate wines that are crafted through sustainable practice across a landscape that pays you back with stunning visuals? Are you trying to figure out what wineries to visit in Sonoma Valley? Look no further than Arrowood Winery.
On a recent visit to Sonoma County following a close friends wedding, I spent a couple of days exploring this flavor-prone region on a mission to discover the region’s beauty and best expressions of red wine. It was a cloudy weekend, and upon my stop at Arrowood the rain had begun to pound the valley hard. Despite getting soaked before entering the tasting room, I knew what awaited me both in the glass and across the vineyard was sure to warm me up.
Background on Arrowood Winery’s Winemaking
In 2015, Kristina Werner took over as head wine maker at Arrowood Vineyards. Before working with Arrowood, she had the opportunity to travel across Europe, where she developed an affinity for Cabernet dominant Bordeaux style red blends. Her enthusiasm for these kinds of wines, backed by a double-major in Biochemistry and Agricultural Economics at the University of Missouri and a Masters of Science in Viticulture and Enology at University of California Davis, has helped keep Arrowood on the map as a go-to Sonoma destination for fans of Cabernet Sauvignon.
But even before Kristina joined the Arrowood team, they’d been honing their craft with Cabernet production for the better part of 3 decades.
Sonoma County currently plays host to over 13 unique AVAs. Arrowood has long had their hand in the Sonoma Valley AVA, but overtime began to recognize other quality Cabernet producing areas, such as Knights Valley and Alexander Valley. Today, they also source grapes from these high quality regions when concocting Cabernet varietal wines and blends. Blend concentration can vary vintage to vintage, depending on the growing conditions of any given year.
A Brief Chat With Arrowood Winery
On my most recent visit, I had the opportunity to speak with Steven Nagy, one of the tasting room associates with a passion for red wine. Here’s what he had to say:
WL: Can you tell us a little bit about Arrowood and its location?
S: Arrowood is located in Glen Ellen, California in the AVA of Sonoma Valley.
WL: What varietals do you produce?
S: Our highlight is Cabernet Sauvignon, however we also produce Merlot, Malbec, Cote De Lune Rouge, Chardonnay, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Late Harvest Riesling, we have also made Rose’s and Syrah’s in recent years, and they may soon be available again.
WL: What blends do you produce?
S: We produce a variety of Cabernet Sauvignon blends, along with a few 100% Cabernets such as our Smothers-Remick Ridge, and our Monte Rosso.
WL: In your personal opinion, what makes Arrowood standout from all of the other wineries within Southern Sonoma?
S: In my opinion the reason Arrowood stands out is the quality of the wine we produce and how we really create contrast of the different regions and highlight the variety of flavors that come from the different AVA’s throughout Sonoma County. Also we source all of our grapes from within Sonoma County. Arrowood is the ideal location to enjoy excellent wine with an amazing backyard look at Sonoma Valley.
WL: I’m assuming you all just recently completed the 2016 harvest. How did it go? How does 2016 compare to 2015?
S: We did recently complete our 2016 harvest and so far things look good, it is still very early on in the process so there will be more knowledge and a clearer picture here in the near future.
WL: What wine(s) / vintages should our readers keep an eye out for or request when they visit your facility?
S: Our premium Cabernet’s are definitely the highlight of the winery (Smothers, Monte Rosso, Reserve), however we have some hidden gems to accommodate those who may not have the palette for our bold flavorful cabs. Our Chardonnay is a heavy favorite, and all of our varietals do an excellent job of highlighting the best of what Sonoma County has to offer.
WL: What are your tasting prices? Do you do private tours on the property?
S: Our tasting prices can vary depending on time of year and availability, they range from $15-$25.
Visit Arrowood Vineyards & Winery in Sonoma
If you’re looking to visit this beautiful property and taste some bold and complex red blends, the tasting room and Sonoma Valley vineyard is incredibly easy to access right off of Sonoma Highway. Note that reservations are required if your group is larger than 7 people. Otherwise, just stop in for a tasting, which starts at just $20 for 5 special wines, which includes their limited production Cabernet Sauvignons.
Get in touch with Arrowood Winery:
Glen Ellen, CA 95442