Sonoma County's Freestone Vineyards & Winery

Food & Spirits: When the legendary Joe Phelps and his son, Bill, founded Freestone Vineyards & Winery, they discovered a new kind of gold on the slopes of western Sonoma County.

They planted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in three distinct properties—Pastorale Vineyard, Quarter Moon Vineyard, and Ferguson Vineyard—in the historic town of Freestone, on the fringe of the Russian River Valley.

The land lies not far from Bodega Bay and features all the qualities the Phelps were looking for, including a long, cool, fog-enriched growing season, steep elevation, Goldridge series and sandy loam soils for ample drainage. They planted the first vines in 2000 with phased replanting occurring through the next seven years as they learned more about the land, clonal selections, and root stocks. The principles of Biodynamic farming are applied to maintain, preserve, and enhance the natural vineyard environment.

Sustainable farming practices such as composting, recycling nutrients, irrigation, and the use of cover crops contribute to the cultivation and preservation of the soil. The grapes are picked carefully and sorted by hand to ensure their freshest and purest expression.

Their painstaking efforts have already paid off. The first wines were released in 2006 and Freestone is already a proven
success, with wines offering flavor profiles that feature earth, jam, spice, and minerality.

Accolades from the press abound. The 2007 Freestone Chardonnay was awarded 91 points by Wine Spectator and 96 points by Connoisseur’s Guide to California Wine, which called it a “stellar accomplishment.” And the 2007 Fogdog Pinot Noir was awarded 90 points by Wine Spectator.

The Freestone Vineyards Guest Center is open on weekends for tastings without an appointment. Freestone also hosts many events at their Guest Center, including “Second Sunday,” a yearlong series of festive get-togethers to enjoy music, food, and, of course, wine. And, judging from the wines of its first two vintages, there will be much to enjoy for years to come at Freestone Vineyards & Winery.

  • ‘06 Freestone Pinot Noir, sandalwood, wild blackberry, balsamic, dried tea leaves, Indian spices $55
  • ‘07 Freestone Chardonnay, smoked cedar, wet earth, citrus, nectar, honey $55
  • ‘07 Fogdog Pinot Noir, sour cherry compote, cinnamon, spice, black tea, wet earth $35
  • ‘07 Fogdog Chardonnay, lemon custard, peach pit, wet rocks, lemon meringue pie, herbal tea $35

    12747 El Camino Bodega
    Freestone, CA 95472
    Tasting Room Open Fri–Sun 11–5p.m.

    GETTING THERE: From Hwy 101, take Hwy 12 west about 12 miles to Bohemian Hwy. Turn right onto
    Bohemian Hwy and take an immediate left onto El Camino Bodega. The winery is on the left.

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