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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Winding Roads, Wine & History

On Sunday hubby and I of course went wine tasting. This is a pretty regular occurrence as you are by now figuring out. My hubby loves everything about wine. From the growth of the grape, to the way it is made and then of course the final product. He is never happier than when we are out at wineries, or if he is lucky enough, like when we are at m2 in Lodi California, he gets to help out serving and educating those that are less knowledgeable. I think if we could just chuck it all and he could be a vintner he would be...even though he denies that.
On Mother's Day our daughter Rebecca gave me the choice, a new perfume or a tour of a winery with a bottle to take home. I decided to be selfless and choose the latter. No one understood. But to me to see my husband happy, after the rough two years we have had when I have seen him hurting so very much emotionally over all that has happened, it means the world to me to see him happy. Do not get me wrong, I enjoy going too, but for me it is just so I can get dressed up, see new places and well have something to write about here.
 So Sunday was the day we were finally taking advantage of the gift. The appointment was for 3p.m. so we decided we would pack up a picnic lunch and go explore the areas all around the winery we were to visit later in the day. We explored both the Shenandoah Valley as well as the Amador Valley... and well all the other interwoven areas in the foothills an hour and half away from our apartment. We love these country drives, so peaceful, so beautiful. Hawks soaring in the blue skies over rolling hills covered in a variety of trees, and covered in lush greenery and wild flowers. Often there is tree lined patches of road where the trees are dripping in moss and if you are lucky you will catch glimpses of the wild life that dwell there. Other times there is nothing but field after field of grape vines, and beautiful structures that house tasting rooms.

We had no real plan, no real destination. We took odd turns, down roads we had no idea where they would end up, and somehow we landed on a road that was a wine trail and happened upon the entrance for Sobon Estate. There was also a sign for a Museum. I was intrigued. The next few photos are what we initially saw upon our arrival.

Lovely places to sit and soak in the amazing and relaxing views.

The court yard, the family home and the museum under it. A Historic Landmark , marker #762

Picnic grounds we were to utilize after wine tasting.

Beautiful gardens with butterflies and birds all about.

The road in and out.

We found a place to park and went in the door that lead to the tasting room......
Not your normal entrance to a wine tasting room!

" Shenandoah Vineyards and Sobon Estate are family-owned wineries with a 32-year reputation for producing the best possible wines using low-yield viticulture and minimum intervention wine making techniques. Sobon Family Wines emphasize high fruit and low tannins, and are made with our own sustainably-grown grapes. They reflect the unique Shenandoah Valley terroir, resulting in a richness and intensity rarely seen elsewhere. Award-winning Sobon wines are distributed nationally. Both wineries are open daily for wine tasting in the picturesque Amador County near Plymouth, CA.

Leon and Shirley Sobon founded Shenandoah Vineyards in 1977. They were one of the first four wineries in Amador County's now well known Shenandoah Valley appellation. From the first offering of 1,200 cases, the winery has continued to thrive, adjusting the portfolio of wines over the years. It is now producing about 25,000 cases per year. Demand continues to grow as a result of skilled winemaking, marketing, and strong family commitments to quality and service. Today, we continue to use estate grown grapes from our sustainably-farmed vineyards. " ** From the website

Wine tasting at Sobon is free, though you can taste their reserve wines for 5.00 with a free souvenir wine glass to take home. We sampled everything from a lovely, delicate Rose' through the normal Zins, Cab's, and Sirahs...all were really wonderful and we could see why they had all the ribbons on the wall. There was nothing pretentious about the wine or those that served us ( the actual Mom & Dad who started Sobon) even though they had every right between the ribbons and the quality of the wine.We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and made plans to come back again and again. We decided on two ports in the end, a 2009 ReZerve White Port, and a 2009 Zinfandel Port. * Be sure to click on the web site link to learn more about the winemakers and the wine and to purchase some for yourself if you are so inclined.

After we had purchased our Ports, we grabbed our lunch out of the car and found a cool place to sit....
Our views...

Caught in the act snacking.
Then it was time to explore the museum ....
" The museum is unique among American museums for it's housed in one of the states oldest wineries. Founded in 1856 by the Uhlinger family from Switzerland, it has been in continuous operation since before the Civil War. Even during Prohibition, the winery made limited amounts of sacramental wine and sold grapes to home wine makers, who were permitted to make small quantities of wine.
In 1976, Shirley & Leoon Sobon and their six children established nearby Shenandoah Vineyards as one of the pre-eminent wineries in the area. In 1989, they purchased and utilized the historic winery as more than just a very old winery. They envisioned this property as the way to tell the story of Shenandoah Valley and the wine that has been made here for more than 150 years. 
With the help of family and friends, neighbors and wine industry associates,they have gathered together artifacts which illustrate the rich history of this region. It's their legacy to the community." * from the pamphlet available there. 

Various wine making supplies from so very long ago.

The oldest part of the winery.

Everything the family has been given or collected for the history museum.

Could not help taking pick of wine from the 20's! Rarely seen or heard of least not legally!

We truly enjoyed our couple hours spent at Sobon Estate and The Shenandoah Valley Museum...of course I had to take a final peek at the gardens near the house...private property I was lucky the gate was open and no one was around...

Then it was time to get back in the car and head out for the next see where the road would take us next....


  1. Wonderful post Ruby honey...I love the photos and the winery looks amazing. I can't believe that vine is 125 years old! So cool. Thanks for sharing with us and you look lovely! Kori xoxo

  2. Sounds like a fabulous day!! and great adventure... Port is one of my fav after dinner drinks. Love your outfit .. the hat and scarf are brilliant!!! xo HHL

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