The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2015

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Page 127 of 136

november 2015  /  the tasting panel  /  127 t o the 5,000 attendees at this year's Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, the messaging was clear: Sonoma County is one of the most diverse, independent and philanthropic appellations on the globe. "The people here give everything," said Gina Gallo, whose family's E. & J. Gallo portfolio includes the Russian River Valley AVA's MacMurray Estate Vineyards. "It's about people first, then agriculture, farming and the dirt. Sonoma means diversity: the ocean, the river, the hills. There's no other place in the world like it." Indeed, at one million acres (half of which is still in its natural state), with the largest coastline of any wine region in the world, and with 17 AVAs within its borders, Sonoma County supports an unmatched wealth of diverse growing conditions, varieties and producers. There is Los Carneros AVA to the south, home of Ram's Gate Winery, where Winemaker Jeff Gaffner crafts 10,000 cases of Pinot Noir and star-bright, beauti- fully acidic Chardonnay. And there is Knight's Valley AVA, 45 miles north, where Chateau St. Jean and Winemaker Margo Van Staaveren source broad-shouldered Cabernet Sauvignon and supple Merlot for PHOTO: MELANIE MALONEY PHOTO COURTESY OF SONOMA WINE COUNTRY WEEKEND Tents erected at MacMurray Ranch for Taste of Sonoma. Bites at the Big Bottle Barn Party, a kick-off for Sonoma Wine Country Weekend featuring large-format bottles. PHOTO: MICHAEL WOOLSEY by Jaime Lewis

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