Synopses & Reviews
Many wineries in Sonoma are large retail operations offering wines that you can buy just as readily on the shelves of your local store. Often, these are beautiful places, and a part of the California wine-tasting experience is sitting on marbled Italianate terraces overlooking acres of perfectly pruned vineyards, basking in the warm sun and the intense loveliness of it all.
Just as exciting and but far more difficult to spot, however, are the small, back-lane wineries, places that the critics, industry professionals, and locals revere but that few visitors ever see. These are wineries run by the same people who grow the grapes and make the wines.
This is a guide to wineries where you can find excellent handcrafted wines made by on-site proprietors, often with only a local distribution and limited production, places where wine tasting gets down-to-earth-no one needs to show off how developed his or her palate is. These are often also where sustainable and organic viticulture is being pioneered. Above all, these are wines that are likely to be a new experience; amid the back-lane wineries of Sonoma, there are still discoveries to be made.
About the Author
Tilar J. Mazzeo is the author of Back Lane Wineries of Sonoma (The Little Bookroom),The New York Times best-selling "oenobiography "The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It (Harper), and the forthcoming Back Lane Wineries of Napa (The Little Bookroom, Spring 2010). The Widow Clicquot has been recognized by Gourmand as the Best Work of Wine Literature in the United States for 2008. A member of the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association, her work has appeared in Food and Wine magazine. She divides her time between the California wine country and the East Coast, where she is a professor of English at Colby College.