Ram’s Gate Winery, Sonoma
The building is a masterpiece in hospitality, but Ram’s Gate winemaker Jeff Gafner spends most of his time in the 30-acre vineyard. Gaffner is a grower at heart and likes to know the journey grapes take before they are picked. Ram’s Gate wines include estate, single-vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and sparkling wine. Along with the team at Ram’s Gate, Gaffner aims to create the finest possible wines that its own climate and terrain can produce, roughly 300 cases per year.
The winery itself is located atop a hill just past Infineon Raceway, with stunning views in every direction. The building is a modern interpretation of the weathered farmsteads of Carneros designed by award-winning architect Howard Bakken (Meadowood Resort, Screaming Eagle). Inside, the 22,000 square foot space is an eclectic mix of contemporary chic and urban cool by interior designer Orlando Diaz-Azcuy.
Ram’s Gate experiences are centered on wine tasting, though food from executive chef Taylr Benham features in a co-starring role. Visitors can experience wine and food pairings, spend one-on-one time the winemaker, and picnics by the pond. Ram’s Gate, just a 30-minute drive from San Francisco, is highly recommended for a red carpet-style wine country experience.