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Sebastiani Winery

Address: 389 Fourth St. East, Sonoma, California 95476

Phone: (707) 933-3230

Web Page: http://www.sebastiani.com

Handicapped accessible: Yes

Review date: September 22, 2006

Review: The Sebastiani Winery and Hospitality Center is open daily from 10-5:00. They have plenty of parking and beautiful grounds with picnic tables and a fountain. The setting is the perfect spot for a picnic lunch. The tasting room is newly renovated with a great gift shop which is even earthquake proof.

The Sebastiani Winery has a rich history. The founder of the winery was Samuele Sebastiani who was born in 1874 in Farneta, Italy. He learned the art of winemaking from the monks at a nearby Monastery in Lucca. He immigrated to America in 1895 with the hope of starting his own winery. It was here in Sonoma Valley where he found a terroir similar to Italy with rich red soils and a Mediterranean climate ideal for growing grapes. The Sebastiani family winery is now in their fourth generation of making wine. It has been family owned since 1904. They produce Chardonnay, Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Symphony, Roussanne, & Pinot Noir Blanc. Their annual wine production is 250,000 cases. They use French, Hungarian, and American barrels for aging their wine.

We took a fun tour of the winery. They have beautiful oak barrels with wood carvings on them by Earle Brown who created over 300 carvings for the winery over a 17 year period. The most spectacular of the carvings is a twelve piece Harvest Calendar which is both artistic and educational. It explains the life cycle of the grapes. It shows the different seasons/phases of wine making from dormancy to harvest. They were all carved by hand. We also saw a beautiful wood carving of The Last Supper. Along the tour of the winery there is a spectacular mural of the town of Sonoma painted by Michael Wardell. The mural shows all of the highlights of the city of Sonoma. On our tour we saw some of Samuele’s original winemaking equipment on display. In the Barrel Room we saw one of the two largest redwood tanks in the entire world and it is close to 100 years old. The other tank of this capacity is located at the Heidelburg Castle in Germany. The last stop on the tour was visiting the spacious new tasting room. While I was there I tried the Sebastiani 2005 Chardonnay "Unoaked" Russian River Valley. It was very flavorful and fruity.

In addition to the winery tour, Sebastiani also offers a trolley tour. I would like to do this on our next visit. Sebastiani Winery does wedding receptions for up to 120 people. Also worth noting, across the street from the winery is the original 1825 Mission Vineyard, planted by the Franciscan Padres to produce sacramental wine for use at the nearby Mission San Francisco De Solano. This was the very first vineyard planted north of San Francisco and is a registered landmark.

We really enjoyed our tour of Sebastiani. I found the winery’s history fascinating and I enjoyed trying their wines. Our tour guide was warm, friendly and very knowledgeable. We would definitely recommend taking a Sebastiani Winery tour. Please click here to see our favorite Sebastiani wines.

Theresa & Ken

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