Rodney Strong Vineyards
I will always have a big soft spot in my heart for Rodney Strong Vineyards. There are several reasons for this: The wines are always fabulous, Rodney Strong was a wine industry pioneer, as well as being a dancer, a scholar and a gentleman, the building (constructed in 1970) is an architectural wonder, and well, I started my career in the wine industry there over 30 years ago. I also love that during this time of increasingly conglomerate-owned wineries, Rodney Strong Vineyards remains family-owned and family-run.
The Hospitality Center at Rodney Strong Vineyards is bright and airy, the staff is cheerful, friendly and informative and a tasteful selection of wine related gifts (including locally sourced artisanal foods) is artfully displayed around the room. The atmosphere is one of understated elegance, with a splash of education thrown in for good measure - the winery is set up so visitors can easily see the tanks, barrel rooms, crush pad and surrounding vineyards from the walkways and balconies just off the Hospitality Center.
Rodney Strong Vineyards continues to evolve over the years. They have always owned excellent vineyards and produced stunning vineyard designated wines from those vineyards. Now the focus is on estate vineyards that are site specific, and making small lots of single vineyard designated wines that reflect the terroir of each of their own unique vineyard’s geography.
The Summer Concert Series (June – September) continues to delight music hungry crowds with top names in the music industry, such as Michael McDonald, The Temptations, Chris Isaak, Melissa Etheridge, Boz Scaggs and more. Rodney Strong Vineyards’ wine clubs have many happy members who receive quarterly wine shipments, discounts on wines, complimentary wine tasting and special events. Club members also enjoy special receptions at the Summer Concert Series.
The wines are amazing and consistently win medals and gain critical acclaim throughout the years. I had the pleasure of tasting a few during my visit. I loved everything I tasted, but the following wines were my favorites:
2016 Blue Wing Chardonnay: This gorgeous Chardonnay is loaded with aromas and flavors of spiced baked apples, pears, citrus, and white blossoms, all wrapped up in a lusciously juicy, balanced mouthfeel.
2013 Alexander’s Crown Cabernet Sauvignon: This classic Cabernet Sauvignon lures you in with aromas of black cherry, cassis, mocha and cedar. These aromas continue as flavors in the decadently rich mouth and on through the long finish.
Rodney Strong Vineyard offers a wide variety of personalized experiences, sure to please every visitor.
You may taste at the cheerful tasting bar or enjoy a seated tasting on the beautiful, vineyard-surrounded terrace, explore the wonders of winemaking with a self-guided tour or book a guided tour at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily.
Vine-To-Table and food pairing options are available as well. Take my advice, make a reservation and order their wonderful cheese and charcuterie plate to enjoy with your wines. It’s one of the best around! >> Sue Straight, The Wine Wench®