Sequoia Grove, a 24-acre estate, and 50-acre Tonella Ranch Vineyard are located in the heart of Rutherford, California. This family-owned winery was purchased in 1978 by James and Barbara Allen. Officially Sequoia Grove was founded in 1979 when Jim’s brother, Steve, planted 10 acres of Chardonnay, 5 of Cabernet Sauvignon and an undisclosed, but smaller amount of Petit Verdot, Carbernet Franc and Merlot.
The history of the property prior to 1978 is interesting, from a property value stand point. In 1836 George Yount, known as the first European-American to pass through Napa Valley, received the land that spans from what is now Yountville to north of Rutherford. In 1851, Yount sold 118 acres of land to his son-in-law Eugene L. Sullivan for $1. In 1865 the property was sold to Dennis Downey for $5,000 and in 1906 the property was purchased by Louis and Louise Kuebeler who built the house that is the current-day house and Tasting Room of Sequoia Grove.
My, how property value has changed.
Kobrand Wine & Spirits
In 2002, the current owners – the Kopf family – purchased Sequoia Grove. The Kopfs own Kobrand Wine & Spirits, a New York based wine and distribution company founded by the family in 1944. The Kopfs also own St. Francis Winery in neighboring Sonoma County and 50% of Domaine Carneros, a stunning property that I had the pleasure to visit, but not taste at during this trip.
Located off of Highway 29, the entrance to Sequoia Grove greets visitors with beautiful sequoia trees and a variety of Bordeaux blending grapes. A short walk through an outside patio and through the front door leaves visitors with an impressive entrance.
Puncheons made to hold wine greet eager patrons seeking to learn more. A large bar where informal tastings are conducted allows for visitors to feel instantly “at home.”
Off to the right, Menagerie Wine Pourers/Aerators are available for purchase and are also a part of the tasting, both a clever and practical touch. Sequoia Grove Chocolate Merlot Wine Fudge is also available for purchase and sounds just decadent!
Wine Club members are offered access to special garden seating as well as first access to new-release wines. The 20% off wine purchases is a welcomed benefit for client loyalty.
We participated in the Current Release Tasting of a selection of red and white wines, where walk-ins are welcome and reservations are required for parties of six or more.
Current Release Tasting
2016 Haire Vineyard Chardonnay
We began with the 2016 Haire Vineyard Chardonnay, when truth be told, I was more excited about the Haire Menagerie Wine Pourer than to try the Chardonnay. The grapes come from Haire Vineyard at the gorgeous property of Carneros, Napa Valley. Light yellow in color with bouquet of almond marzipan and lemon cake, it is light, almost lemon in flavor with a soft vanilla taste, and I rather enjoyed it. I actually enjoyed it so much that we had some shipped home.
2018 Napa Valley Rosé
Following, was the 2018 Napa Valley Grenache Rosé from Stagecoach Vineyard on Atlas Peak. I try to stay away from Rosé. I know people love it, I see the shirts that read “Rosé All Day,” but it is just too sweet for me. This rosé was amazing. My husband and I both exchanged a shocked glance because we do not like rosé (usually). Light pink in color with a bouquet of red fruit, the taste is light, fruity crushed strawberry, and not sweet somehow. We ordered some to be sent home. I can not stress enough that we do not like rosé, but we love this one.
2016 Napa Valley Syrah
The 2016 Napa Valley Syrah was next and enjoyable, although not my most favorite. My husband was thrilled with it and purchased some for home. The berry taste was lovely, but something was “off” for me. It is possible that my love of white wine and being mesmerized by the first two choices just made my palette “off.” I certainly will give it a go when it arrives at home.
2015 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Lastly, the 2015 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. This award winning wine is complex with bouquet of red cherry, violets and candied fruit. I kind of loved it. Something about the smoky taste that I loved for the winter time. It was smooth, somehow carnivorous. Divine. Sent some of that home too!
93 Points – James Suckling
95 Points – LA International Wine Competition
95 Points & Double Gold Medal – Sunset Intl. Wine Competition
Should you visit Sequoia Grove, the variety of tastings to suit your individual preferences is impressive:
The Single-Vineyard Wine Tasting caters to those seeking a better understanding of how terroir influences fine wine. Excellent for those who love or are serious about Cabernet Sauvignon.
A Taste for Cabernet is a 75 minute experience when tasters can learn how to maximize enjoyment of Cabernet with a meal.
The Cabernet Culinary Challenge, a 90 minute experience, is somewhat of a double-dare, where groups are divided into teams of two and given baskets of crostini and twelve toppings for the assignment to create the most appetizing Cabernet-complementing crostini ever.
To plan your next visit, shop or learn about membership visit www.sequoiagrove.com
Should you visit in person, I recommend you incorporate a visit to Domaine Carneros. The property is superb.
Angela Ranieri joins us as Contributing Writer with an extensive background in Fashion, Beauty and Digital Media. Her credits include Sales and Marketing for with PRADA USA Corp., followed by a jump in to the world of beauty as an Esthetician followed by Spa Manager at Jurlique, Spa Manager and Client Relationship Manager and Digital Business Development coordinator position at Amore Pacific where celebrity clients were and remain confidential and her column, “Ask Angela,” was featured on the Amore Pacific USA website. She has also been a contributor for Beauty to Shape and Fitness Magazines.
A side job as a Hospital Victim on “As the World Turns,” and a correspondent on the now defunct lifestyle web series “Tangerine Living,” Angela is no stranger to juggling multiple positions and has built quite the resume. A move to The New York Daily News as Training and Employee Relations Manager with a night and weekend gig as make up artist for runway shows, (she studies in Los Angeles with Amy Ward) including Vogue Bambino and multiple commercials, Angela became a Mom, her best and most important credit to date.
Since Motherhood, Angela has been a Brand Ambassador for the skin line Patchology, featured in Saks Fifth Avenue in store and on air with CBS News segment “Patch me Pretty.” She has been a beauty guest for QVC, and the founder of her own social media communications business, helping business owners to share their digital voice. Actively involved with Smart Children with Learning Differences, her most favorite down time hobby is discovering the best in beauty, travel and fashion around the United States.
Angela is a graduate of Syracuse University with a BS in Communications and Writing, where she appeared on the University Union News as an Anchor and on The Beat of Syracuse, Z89 as a DJ. Angela has an MBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from Northeastern University. While at Northeastern, her Market Research on the Electric Car was published for University use.
Working with AlphaLuxe is a unique opportunity, “to share what I am most passionate about. Living your best life. In her spare time, you can find Angela running, practicing yoga, taking her son to one of his sports practices. She resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her husband, son, and chihuahuas.