Before there were grapevines, there were cows. And before the cows, there were horses roaming the property now known as Sonoma Stage Vineyard on the southeastern edge of the Petaluma Gap Appellation in Sonoma County.

Today it is home to 12 small blocks of world-class Pinot Noir grapes and two smaller blocks of Chardonnay. But this 57-acre vineyard property was originally part of the much larger Hinkston Ranch dating all the way back to the 1800’s.

It became the Circle W Ranch, an equestrian farm owned by George and Mildred Webb and in 1954 they sold the ranch to Sir John Galvin of Australia. Sir Galvin renamed the property Triangle G Ranch and took to grazing cattle on the land. The Triangle G Ranch consisted of six separate parcels that stretched for six miles along the southern ridge of Sonoma Mountain reaching 1,946 feet at its highest point. After a failed attempt to subdivide the Triangle G Ranch into 34 home sites, the parcel was sold, planted to Pinot Noir grapes and renamed Sonoma Stage Vineyard.

It was the Hyde Family who planted the Pinot Noir vineyard in 1999, primarily grafting Swan and Calera Pinot Noir clones to rootstock. These renowned clones originated as unregulated “suitcase” clones that were reportedly taken from Burgundy’s greatest vineyards many years ago and brought to California in a suitcase. The Sonoma Stage Vineyard is an extremely fortunate beneficiary of this clandestine act.

For more than 15 years the grapes were sold to a “who’s who” list of top California Pinot Noir wine producers, and in 2019 the Leonardini Family of Whitehall Lane Winery purchased the vineyard. They planted two new blocks of Chardonnay and two additional blocks of Pinot Noir in 2020.

The distinctive topography, persistent winds and cool fog make this vineyard and the Petaluma Gap unique. The gap offers a tunneling effect as the cool winds and fog move from the Pacific Ocean to the San Pablo Bay. The vineyard ripens slowly each year allowing a later harvest time that results in stunningly complex flavors while preserving the natural acidity in the grapes.

Vineyard Details (Soil Type and Grape Varietals)

Soil sample at Oak Glen vineyards
Merlot wine grape sample
Sauvignon Blanc wine grape sample