A Destination Winery…….


logoRam’s Gate is the first winery you see driving north into Sonoma.  It’s just past the Sonoma Raceway. Roche Winery was formerly located on the site.

Ram’s Gate opened in 2011 in a stunning facility designed by architect, Howard Backen. The building is contemporary, barn like in appearance but detailed like a 5 star hotel. Orlando Diaz-Azcuy is responsible for much of the interior.

We had the pleasure of touring with Ram’s Gate’s GM, David Oliver.    His background in the hospitality industry is impressive. He made every one of us feel immediately welcome and gave us a very memorable tour through the expansive facility.


David explained to us how Ram’s Gate is a destination for members and guests to have an experience.  They have created an inviting environment to taste remarkable wines and to try innovative, chef prepared food pairings with the wines.

The variety of venues at the winery make this facility absolutely unique and most definitely set apart from other Sonoma winery’s offerings.

To start with there is a vineyard setting…….


a demonstration kitchen setting…….


a tasting bar……….


a number of lounges, patios and private nooks for relaxing and tasting……


a wine library with a fantastic chandelier………..


and an amazing barrel cellar dining setting……….


Ram’s Gate sources their grapes from a number of growers around the region.  One is Ulises Valdez who I plan to write about in another post. They do have some vineyards surrounding the winery and they are experimenting with binding the vines in at least one of their vineyards.



On our tour David explained the method Ram’s Gate uses to keep the vineyard free of the pest birds.  Coincidently the “pest control” man arrived while we were there.rgffApparently  a grape cluster can be ruined simply by a swallow pecking open one grape at the top of the cluster allowing the juice to run over the rest. A predator bird can prevent the swallows from damaging a crop.


It was so amazing to see this falcon close up and learn about his plans for the afternoon!



Our tasting was set in one of the large rooms overlooking the valley. The room seemed to be wide open, no barrier to the field before us.  There was even a constant breeze coming from the direction of the view.  We thought we were in a pavilion.  Hah!  There was in fact a  2-story wall of glass.  It was designed so incredibly well to give us the illusion of no glass.  Impressive!




Our host was Zac  a.k.a. “Zacky” Melendez, a certified sommelier.  He was charming and extremely knowledgable. He guided us through selections of food pairings the chef was offering that day.





Ram’s Gate does an absolutely fantastic job of tailoring a tasting to your desires.  We were there for 4 hours!  We could have stayed all day!



Thank you David Oliver, Zac Melendez and Chris for giving us such an exceptional experience  at Ram’s Gate!