Diane and Ken Wilson now own nine wineries that fall under the umbrella of Wilson Artisan Wineries. Truthfully, one could spend a day or two or three [depending on your speed and capacity] just visiting the Wilson-owned wineries and no others and have a wonderful wine country experience, traveling through Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley and Valley of the Moon, as well as into Mendocino County.
On our latest visit to Dry Creek Valley, Karen and I chose two – their eponymous Wilson Winery as well as a revisit to Mazzocco Sonoma.
We had some good reasons to want to visit Wilson Winery. I’ve tasted some of their wines before, and was looking forward to trying the latest releases of their legendary Zinfandels as well as their (perhaps even better) Petite Sirahs. But the factor that guaranteed we were going to visit was to see our good friend Rick Fraga.
Rick Fraga is the wine expert that I aspire to be. We met several years ago at a restaurant in Las Vegas and quickly bonded over wine. We always try to visit him every time we come to the Sonoma area. Now that he is wine educator at Wilson…well, that was even more of a reason for us to go there.
Lest you think the owners are hands-off investors in a winery vanity project, Diane Wilson has been winemaker at Wilson Winery since its inception. Founded in the early 1990s, the property’s history goes back a lot farther than that, with the winery facility operating in a restored and modernized century-old barn. The Wilsons are also growers in the Dry Creek Valley, naming their vineyards first after their children and later ones after their parents. Wilson Winery has nine estate vineyards as well as sourcing grapes from other high quality growers.
Diane’s winemaking skills were evident from the beginning as even with no formal training her wines immediately began racking up the accolades and awards, a trend that continues to this day. And she makes a lot of different wines at Wilson Winery.
As I said, a lot of different wines, mostly vineyard designate Zinfandels with a few Petite Sirahs and others mixed in for good measure. The order form lists a couple dozen or so wines to choose from. With so many delicious choices, it was really hard to pick favorites, but my notes indicate that I especially enjoyed the 2014 Botticelli Zinfandel, the 2013 Molly’s Reserve Petite Sirah and the 2013 Sydney Petite Sirah.
Diane also designates certain Zinfandel as “barrel select”, four, as a matter of fact. While they’d be considered for most of us as special occasion wines, the 2013 Diane Marie Reserve and the 2013 Victoria Johannah Reserve [the two we tasted] were both amazing full-bodied representatives of Zinfandel and worthy of a place in your cellar.
1960 Dry Creek Rd
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Michael Perlis has been pursuing his passion for wine for more than 25 years. He has had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show him the way, as well as a wonderful wife who encourages him and shares his interest. After a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as he possibly could, he had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Now, as Contributing Editor for Eve’s Wine 101, he does his best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers. Michael is also Vice President of Eve Bushman Consulting (fka Eve’s Wine 101 Consulting) http://evebushmanconsulting.com/ and President of MCP Financial. Michael can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.