Iron Horse Vineyards is one of Sonoma County’s most beautiful,
small, independent, estate, family-owned wineries. It is located in cool and foggy Green Valley. You can get lost if you don’t pay attention to the sign, and don’t trust your GPS, it might get you to the back road which we did!
The founding partners, Audrey and Barry Sterling first saw it in the pouring rain in February, 1976, they were thepioneer of their time to buy this 300 acres of gentle rolling hills, looking like Camelot. Incurable romantics with extraordinary vision, they bought the property in just two weeks.
The estate was named after a railroad stop, which crossed the property in the 1890s. Rodney Strong rediscovered it as a vineyard site in 1970, planting the original 55 acres of Chardonnay and 55 acres of Pinot Noir. 13 miles from the Pacific as the crow flies. There are approximately 160 acres in vine, planted exclusively to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The predominant soil-type is called “Goldridge”, a sandy loam that has excellent drainage and is perfectly balanced, making it the most coveted for growing Pinot Noir. The estate is divided into 39 blocks, farmed individually, harvested separately and then each vinified as a ‘single vineyard’. Each has been planted with site specific root-stock and clone selections. From 2005 to 2012, we replanted 82 acres originally planted in the early 70s, enhancing all our wines.
Iron Horse is renowned for its Sparkling Wines, which have been served at the White House for five consecutive Presidential Administrations, beginning with the historic Reagan-Gorbachev Summit Meetings ending the Cold War.
Their delicious wines have served many world leaders, presidents, and celebrities around the world. Including the White House Millennium celebrations, the White House dinner honoring the Pope on his 80th birthday, the 2011 State Dinner honoring the Queen of England at the Ambassador’s Residence, Winfield House, in London, the dinner President Obama hosted for the President of China in Southern California in June 2013 just to name a few.
The winery produces a limited production, vintage Sparkling, called Ocean Reserve, in partnership with National Geographic. The winery contributes $4 for each bottle sold to establish Marine Protected Areas and reduce over fishing around the globe.
It’s a beautiful place, on the drive in, you will see all these palm trees that have been planted almost 40 years ago. Breathtaking view of the rolling hills of the vineyards, you can see Mount St. Helena in Napa Valley from there, on a clear day. And their tasting room is outdoor, a perfect place to drink sparkling on a warm day in Russian River Valley.
We also got to meet the CEO Joy Anne Sterling, she was kind and wonderful to show us around. She is the second generation of Iron Horse Vineyards, lives on the property with her family. They only produce about 12K-15K cases per year. It’s everything to her and her family. We’re truly humbled by the experience and feel so blessed to talk to one of the best people in the wine industry.
“This is my life, my passport to the world. Because of Iron Horse VIneyards, I can talk to anyone, anywhere, and I got to meet some of the amazing people.” CEO Joy Ann Sterling said.
A pioneer in the Green Valley appellation within the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County, the Iron Horse family is building a legacy of prestige sparkling wines and estate bottled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
We got to tour the estate and was impressed with the operations. We saw many bottle made just for special occations. One of the bottle that we got to enjoy was the Michel Mina sparkling. I’m a fan of chef Michael Mina, and have dined at dozen of his restaurants, Iron Horse is his choice for sparkling wine on his wine list.
Tours are by appointment Monday through Friday at 10am. Tours are $25 per person (including tasting), refunded with purchase.
Winemaker David Munksgard offers a truck tour through the vineyards and private tasting on Mondays at 10am. Visiting Iron Horse Estate was a truly memorable experience. Limit four people. $50 per person.
Iron Horse Chardonnay is a signature Green Valley region wine. Pinot Noir is the winery’s rising star. All their wines are estate wines only. The first winery and vineyards in Russian River Valley and they remain family-owned estate operations. If you ever visit Sonoma County, Iron Horse Vineyards should be the first one on your “must visit” list.
Iron Horse Vineyards
Address: 9786 Ross Station Road
Sebastopol, CA 95472
Tel: (707) 887-1507
by Manda Bear
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