What sits on top of a hill, is rich in agriculture, has a nuclear style bunker (cave) and grows tremendous wine? It’s not a presidential hideout, it is Petroni Vineyards in the Moon Mountain area of Sonoma, CA. To say that the property is stunning would be an understatement. To say it is easy to get to would be an overstatement which makes it all the more worthwhile.
During our recent stay in San Francisco we took a two day excursion to wine country. We specifically wanted to focus on Sonoma County and toured more than a handful of vineyards in the process. Not all vineyards are created equal and Petroni is living proof. We were guided by the faithful team at Honey Tour Company who gained us insider access to the vineyards including meeting the vintners themselves, private tastings and field tours.
Petroni Vineyards moniker is reflective of its past and present: Tuscan Roots. Sonoma Soil. Started by Lorenzo Petroni an Italian native and owner of the famed San Francisco North Beach Restaurant, Petroni saw in Sonoma the beauty and rich soil that he recognized from his home in Tuscany. The vineyard itself is a glowing success story of this vision.
Just as not all vineyards are created equal, nor are all guides and wine educators. Our wine educator at Petroni, Ryan Towon, has a long history in the business and with Petroni Vineyards itself. Ryan was such a likeable guy and reminded me a lot of the actor Chris Pratt who I find to be hilarious. His passion for their wine, Italian varietals and the vineyard itself made its way into our glasses. We were escorted to our private tasting in the Petroni wine cave. At first glance it felt like we were entering either a presidential bunker or a scene from Breaking Bad. Once inside, the cave is overwhelming in every positive sense of the word. It is romantic, dimly lit, full of wine aging in barrels and provides perfect space to taste wine and feel the terroir.
All of this would be for naught if the wine was just ok. It was not.
The wines we tasted at Petroni were outstanding. Ryan guided us on an excellent tasting journey from Sauvignon Blanc, Rosato, Rosso, Sangiovese, Cabernet and an incredibly memorable Cabernet Sauvignon Limited Release. The pours were generous and Ryan very cleverly up sold us by offering some estate grown olive oil and bread. I say up sell because after one bite our group each bought a bottle of the olive oil . The Cabernet Sauvignon Limited Release was perhaps the most distinctly beautiful wine I tasted out of over 50 through the course of the two days. The Limited Release was hand curated by Martin Mackenzie the Winemaker at Petroni Vineyards and limited to four barrels. I believe Martin’s tenure at Petroni is somewhat young but if this is the sign of the future I cannot wait to revisit. I am not one who automatically finds quality and limited quantity to be in perpetuity but in this case if I had more money I would purchase every bottle.
Wine tours in Sonoma County are great however you do them but in my experience if there is one not to miss (if you can get in) Petroni Vineyards is as stunning in its wine as it is in its views. Five Stars.