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Four Sonoma County Icons to be Honored at 2016 Sonoma County Barrel Auction

Additional AVA and Winery Events Outlined

Santa Rosa, CA (March 22, 2016) — Today, the Sonoma County Vintners (SCV) announced the names of four “Icons” who will be honored at the 2016 Sonoma County Barrel Auction for their contributions to Sonoma County wines.  The Icons will be recognized at an invitation-only VIP reception on April 28th and at the live trade barrel auction on April 29th at Vintners Inn. “We are delighted to be able to recognize four individuals who have truly helped shape the heritage and history of Sonoma County winemaking and we are honored to celebrate their contributions to our wine community,” said Interim Executive Director Jean Arnold Sessions.  The 2016 Sonoma County Barrel Auction Icons include:

Helen Long Bacigalupi, founder of Bacigalupi Vineyards – At 90 years of age, Helen Bacigalupi is celebrating the 60th anniversary and three generations of her family’s legendary Russian River Valley vineyard. Among her many accomplishments, she provided nearly half the Chardonnay in the Chateau Montelena blend that won the famed “Judgment of Paris”, and her 1982 Bacigalupi Vineyard Grapemaker Series Chardonnay was served at the White House.

Tom Klein, proprietor of Rodney Strong Vineyards – A fourth generation California farmer, Tom Klein earned a business degree from Stanford and spent the first part of his career as a management consultant at the San Francisco office of the prestigious global management firm McKinsey & Company. In 1989, Tom and his family purchased Rodney Strong Vineyards and began a pursuit of excellence that would put their wines on the world stage and make the winery a leader in the movement towards sustainability.

David Americo Rafanelli, third generation proprietor of A. Rafanelli Winery – Born and raised in Healdsburg’s wine country, David Rafanelli is the third generation at A. Rafanelli Winery. A farmer at heart with years of experience in the Dry Creek Valley, his knowledge of the soils and micro-climates have guided his decisions to successfully plant vineyards which produce great quality wine grapes.  He was an integral part of the Dry Creek Valley becoming its own appellation in 1983, and bringing Zinfandel to a world class status.

Tom Rochioli, owner of Rochioli Vineyards –Tom’s father, Joe Rochioli Jr. made history in Russian River Valley in 1968 when he began planting Pinot Noir on the family’s property called Fenton Acres.  Following in these trailblazing footsteps, it was Tom Rochioli who was convinced that after years as successful winegrowers providing grapes to many of Sonoma County’s prestigious wineries, that they should make their own wine under the Rochioli Label. In 1987, his first estate wine topped Wine Spectator’s list of Pinot Noir and was named ‘The Best Pinot Noir in America.’ Two years later during a visit to one of Burgundy's most famous estates, his philosophy was shaped after sampling some of the world’s most collectable wines. Tom decided to keep his different individual estate lots separate. He was one of the first to establish the single vineyard concept in California.

Licensed wine sellers, including retailers, restaurateurs and wholesalers, may get further information and request a ticket to the invitation-only 2016 Sonoma County Barrel Auction by April 1st online at SonomaWine.com/barrelauction or by contacting Carol Galletta at (415) 683-0696 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  Space is limited.

Other events scheduled around the Sonoma County Barrel Auction include:


Sonoma Valley, Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley Barrel Auction Preview Event

10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Comstock Winery

More than 30 vintners will present their “never before, never again” lots crafted from the most acclaimed vineyards in Sonoma County, plus enjoy current vintages and food pairings in a casual environment. The program will also feature a tasting seminar designed to provide a deep dive into the iconic terroirs of Sonoma County. To RSVP, register here.


Russian River Valley Winegrowers, Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance, West Sonoma Coast Vintners Barrel Auction Preview Event

1:30 – 4:30 p.m. at Pellegrini Wine Company This Barrel Auction Preview event will highlight the wines being presented at the Sonoma County Barrel Auction and guests will have the opportunity to taste through nearly 40 auction lots, plus additional finished wines and bites from local food artisans. In addition, attendees are invited to explore Western Sonoma County Pinot Noir terroirs through a special educational event including Russian River Valley neighborhoods, West Sonoma Coast and the Petaluma Gap. To RSVP, register here.



Return to Paris: Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Judgment of Paris

A Sonoma Wine Country Perspective

11 a.m. at Bacigalupi Vineyards

Cost: $115 per person

As a source of 14 tons of Chardonnay fruit in the winning 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, the Bacigalupi family commemorates the 40th Anniversary of the Judgment of Paris. Guests will have a rare opportunity to relive this historic tasting as current vintage French Burgundies poured at the original tasting and California wines will go head to head in a blind tasting. A forum of guest speakers will discuss the influence Sonoma County farming had on the winning Chardonnay and a very special BBQ lunch will be served with plenty of Bacigalupi wines following the tasting. Seating is limited! For more information contact 707-473-0115.


Russian River Valley Paulée

5 p.m. at Arista Winery

Cost: $250/ticket. Successful bidders of one or more Russian River Valley auction lots will receive reimbursement from Russian River Valley Winegrowers (RRVW) for up to two tickets per account. Limited Seating!

Hosted by the Russian River Valley Winegrowers and Arista Winery, this is the ultimate winemaker dinner offering guests an unmatched tasting experience in both wine and food. More than fifteen Russian River Valley winemakers or principals will be in attendance and guests will dine on an exquisite meal prepared by local renowned chefs Tim Kaulfers of Arista Winery, Duskie Estes of Zazu Kitchen and Farm, Dustin Valette of Valette Healdsburg and Cheyenne Simpkins of Wine Country Feasts. In the spirit of the Paulée tradition, the Russian River Valley Paulée brings winemakers and collectors together to enjoy an elegant multi-course meal paired with rare and favorite wines from winemakers’ and guests’ personal cellars. Tickets can be purchased here.

For timely updates and more information on the 2016 Sonoma County Barrel Auction, like Sonoma County Vintners on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SonomaCountyVintners, follow on Twitter at @SonomaVintners, on Instagram at @SonomaCountyVintners or search using the hashtag #SoCoBA.

About Sonoma County Vintners Sonoma County Vintners (SCV) is the leading voice of Sonoma County wine, dedicated to raising awareness and building understanding of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier wine regions, noted for its heritage of artisan winemaking, distinct growing regions, and extraordinary quality. Founded in 1944, SCV represents more than 250 wineries and affiliates of all sizes throughout the county. Learn more about SCV at www.SonomaWine.com.

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Media Contacts:

Tia Butts, Tia Butts|pr, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , (707) 260-5620

Barbara Cox, Sonoma County Vintners, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , (707) 522-5849


Sonoma County Barrel Auction Unveils Limited Production Wine Lots

2016 Event Featuring 75 Lots Representing 16 Sonoma County Appellations

Santa Rosa, CA (March 15, 2016) —The Sonoma County Vintners invites members of the licensed wine trade to preview the never before, never again limited production wines that will be available for purchase at the 2nd annual Sonoma County Barrel Auction on April 29. Seventy-five unique wine lots representing 16 Sonoma County appellations and cultivated in Sonoma County’s most highly acclaimed vineyards will be sold to the highest bidder at the one-day-only auction. Descriptions of a selection of wine lots can be viewed at www.sonomawine.com/barrelauction/wines. A full list of all lots will be available on the site in the next week. Qualified members of the licensed wine trade who would like to place absentee bids or register for the event should visit www.sonomawine.com/barrelauction/.  Space is limited.

These specially chosen wines were evaluated in blind tastings held in February and March by seven panelists comprised of Master Sommeliers and Masters of Wine. Sonoma County Barrel Auction lots range in size from five to 20 cases and include unique single vineyard bottlings, specific clonal selections, blends, wines aged using special barrel regimes and joint lot wines made by collaborating wineries.  Examples include:

Bacigalupi Vineyards, Dutcher Crossing Winery, Flanagan Wines, Gary Farrell Winery & MacRostie Winery & Vineyards

“Judgment of Paris 40th Anniversary Barrel” 2015 Chardonnay, Bacigalupi Vineyards, Russian River Valley (20 cases)—The 1976 Judgment of Paris sent shockwaves through the wine community, and forever cemented California’s place among the world’s most revered wine regions. The original Wente Clone on St. George Rootstock that contributed to California’s unexpected victory still thrives today at Bacigalupi Vineyards. Bacigalupi Vineyards, Dutcher Crossing, Flanagan Wines, Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery MacRostie Winery & Vineyards and these legendary vines have combined forces to create this historic 40th Anniversary Barrel of Chardonnay. This extraordinary wine captures the spirit of that winning wine, with layers of voluptuous texture, floral notes and a mineral finish.

Laurel Glen Vineyard

“Block 4 Old Vines”, 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Laurel Glen Vineyard, Sonoma Mountain (5 cases)—When Patrick Campbell bought Laurel Glen Vineyard in 1977, the vineyard was three acres of 10-year-old Cabernet Sauvignon. Patrick took cuttings from the existing Cabernet vines to develop an additional 12 acres of vineyard. UC Davis subsequently identified the clone as unique. The Laurel Glen clone of Cabernet Sauvignon remains the only clone Laurel Glen uses. Block 4 was developed in 1978 and has never been replanted. They typically harvest one ton per acre from vines that are now 37 years old and planted on St. George rootstock. Winemaker Randall Watkins chose a selection from Block 4 that best expresses the elegance and age-ability of the historic Laurel Glen Vineyard.

Martinelli Winery

“Bondi Ranch: One Barrel, One Block, One Clone, One Time,”  2015 Pinot Noir, Bondi Home Ranch, Green Valley (5 cases)—TheBondi legacy began in the Green Valley of Russian River Valley more than 130 years ago when Italian immigrant Paulo Bondi arrived with a dream of farming these cool hillsides. In 1997, the Bondi Home Ranch vineyard was planted by Paulo's grandson, Lee Martinelli Sr., securing the Martinelli family’s place in the history of Sonoma County viticulture. This Bondi Pinot Noir is from the Martinelli family’s favorite barrel, from their favorite block and from their favorite clone on this cherished family land. This block is the soul of Bondi Home Ranch Pinot Noir every year—it is typically blended with other blocks and other clones from this vineyard to create a final single-vineyard wine. Exclusively for the Barrel Auction, the Martinelli Family chose to do a single-barrel offering of just this block, just this one clone, just one time only.

Rodney Strong Vineyards

“Asymmetry,” 2015 Merlot Blend, Alexander Valley, Knights Valley & Northern Sonoma (10 cases)—Rodney Strong was one of the pioneers of Sonoma County’s modern wine industry, a visionary who understood the potential that Sonoma County’s soil and climate held for producing world-class wines. Now under the care of Proprietor Tom Klein and Winemaker Rick Sayre, Rodney Strong Vineyards carries this legacy forward by continuing to craft wines that achieve critical acclaim and a loyal consumer following. As a testament to its well-known Left Bank Bordeaux-style blend, Symmetry, the winemakers have created a Right Bank Bordeaux-style blend, called Asymmetry. This one-of-a-kind Merlot based blend from five different prized vineyards in Sonoma County delivers layers of complex red and black fruits, with a refined tannin structure that is extremely food friendly.

Seghesio Family Vineyards & A. Rafanelli Winery

“Pioneer Producers from Dry Creek Valley,” 2015Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley (5 cases)—This story begins in the early 1900s when Italian families began immigrating to Dry Creek Valley to grow grapes and make wine. Families worked together to build and farm the vineyards of Dry Creek Valley, using methods most suitable for growing Zinfandel. Two such families, the Seghesios and the Rafanellis, are still thriving after five and four generations of winemaking, respectively, producing some of the best quality wine in one of the most highly recognized AVAs for Zinfandel: Dry Creek Valley. To celebrate their shared history, Seghesio Family Vineyards and A. Rafanelli have partnered to create a unique Dry Creek Zinfandel that integrates wine from both properties to deliver a powerful and delicious representation of the appellation.


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