Arriving to the Donum Estate and being welcomed by the first of their magnificent art sculptures. This Carneros winery blew me away the moment I arrived and kept impressing me as I toured the vineyard and enjoyed the stunning art and tasted their elegant wines. Talk about a winery that has it all…
The Donum Estate team walking the stunning vineyards.
Something that is hard to imagine until you have been to Donum Estate is the large collection of art they have dispersed around the winery. There are both smaller pieces, such as these mounted animal heads, and much larger massive pieces, like the large white head seen as soon as you arrive and the stunning huge silver heart (shown below). The art collection shared in this winery really sets this apart from any other winery I have visited. Yes, they have amazing wines, so do a lot of people. But I have never been to such a beautiful winery that has both amazing wines and an extensive (which is an understatement) collection of such impressive, beautiful art to share with their guests. You really have to visit to see for yourself what I am trying to describe, it is really best seen with your own eyes.
Touring the garden with President & Winegrower Anne Moller-Racke. What a special treat to be taken around Donum Estate for a tour with Anne. She is beyond experienced, having been at Donum Estate since 2001, and was such a great guide and expert of the brand and this stunning property.
Cheers to this spectacular “Love Me” & “Big Moma” sculpture by Richard Hudson. This may have been my favorite sculpture, not only because of the beautiful, bright, stunning shape and silver color, but because I loved that it was further back in the vineyards with the most spectacular views of the rolling hills and endless vineyards.
Cheers to this fabulous day of both delicious wine, beautiful art, great company, and spectacular scenery!
The stunning vineyard views. I was told this is the location of another piece of art which is coming very shortly….
Exploring “The Maze” by artist Gao Weigang. This was beyond cool, luckily I was led by Anne so we made it through the maze very easily!
More about Anne Moller-Racke
Quoted from the Donum Estate website: “A native of Oberwesel, Germany, Anne Moller-Racke came to California in 1981 and became vineyard manager for Buena Vista Carneros Winery in 1983. She was named director of vineyard operations in 1988 and was promoted to vice president of vineyard operations in 1997. During that time, Anne worked intensively with some of the industry’s foremost authorities, including Andre Tchelistcheff, Dr. Phil Freese and Dr. Paul Skinner. She helped establish what is now the Carneros Wine Alliance and brought recognition to Carneros as an American Viticultural Area (AVA). Anne was instrumental in developing Buena Vistas Carneros Estate, including today’s Donum Ranch.”
Touring the winery barn and seeing some of the animals on site. This really is such an authentic farm, I love visiting wineries which not only are growing grapes, but also really farm and take care of the land.
Another sculpture I loved, the “Charging Bull” by Arturo Di Modica.
During my Donum Estate Vineyard tour we did a sneak peak at the NEW Donum Estate Tasting Room and offices which are opening early this fall. I am beyond excited for this space to open up and it was so special to see this during the construction. It is going to be fabulous!
Post tour it was time for my wine tasting. It took place in this very cool vintage-esque space, which I imagine was a barn in it’s earlier days. I loved how simple, yet chic, this space was with views of the vineyard and the art.
Arriving to my spectacular tasting led by winemaker Dan Fishman.
The line up of Pinot Noir wines I tasted with winemaker Dan. It was very interesting as we tasted not only Pinot Noir from Donum’s Carneros Vineyard, but also some of their Anderson Valley and Russian River Pinot Noir wines. I LOVE doing side by sides of a similar vintage from a different vineyard, AVA, or even country. It lets you taste and compare the flavor profiles, terroir characteristics, and see what really resonates with you.
Of the wines we tasted, one of my favorites was the Ten Oaks Russian River Pinot Noir, which was a bit jammier with darker fruit (my style) and the pomard clone. Winemaker Dan and the team is very selective here with which grapes go into this wine and I think that is obvious when you taste the wine. Retail $72.
I also really loved the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, which was both smooth and silky, but had lovely spice to it. This was a Dijon and Martini clone and retails for $72.
The other wine I really connected with was the Carneros Pinot Noir, Donum’s flagship wine. This is made with all Donum Ranch grapes and is very nice, drinkable, and approachable. This is truly an ‘everyone’ Pinot Noir with less spice than the Russian River wine and a very nice, even finish. This is also $72 and a great option for someone wanting a smoother, more approachable Pinot Noir.
That’s a wrap. A huge thank you to Donum Estate for the incredible visit, tour, and tasting. And a thanks to Audi on Demand for partnering with me on this post by sharing their amazing Audi on Demand new service currently offered in San Francisco only with me to try. Read more about Audi on Demand and see how you can save 20% trying the Audi on Demand App here.