We continue Part 3 of our Sonoma Travel Guide with a visit to Inman Family Wines, a small lot producer in the heart of the Russian River Valley.
- (In Part 1 of this Travel Bliss series, I shared transportation, lodging, and general visitor tips.
- Part 2 featured some of the area's top restaurants in Where to Eat in Sonoma County.
- The first of a trio of wineries we visited in Part 3 was LynMar Estate)
When you are visiting wine country, no matter where you are in the world, I highly suggest you visit one large scale producer, one medium scale producer, and one small batch producer, to give you a nice balance and variety of what the region has to offer.
Today, we're visiting Inman Family Wines, a small lot producer in the heart of the Russian River Valley.
Inman Family Wines
3900 Piner Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
In 1999, the Inman family purchased 10.5 acres of land in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County, California, at the intersection of Olivet and Piner Roads. They planted a little more than seven acres of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. In 2002, the first vintage of Inman Family Wines was produced.
Today, as it was from the beginning, Inman Family Wines is very much fueled by the matriarch of the family: Kathleen Inman. A savvy entrepreneur, wine grower, salesperson, food lover, and family gal, Kathleen is the heart and soul of the vineyard, supported heavily by her husband and their two daughters.
When you arrive at Inman Family Wines, you will likely be greeted by Kathleen herself.
On our visit, she gave us a warm welcome, and then we delightfully accompanied her to feed the chickens.
Coming from Portland, that just made me so happy. Welcome to our vineyard! Want to walk with me to feed the chickens? Yes. Yes, we do!
The coop is impressive.
And the resident rooster, Howard, is even more impressive. Oh how our kids would have loved to meet Howard! Look at this guy: he totally rules the roost!
Many vineyards lay claim to being eco-friendly, but Inman Family Wines is truly a study in sustainability. The moment you step onto the property, you see the large and gorgeous energy efficient main building, which is built from recycled steel, is solar-powered, and interior includes low-VOC paints, waste water recycling system, and so much more.
Inman Family Wines was the first small business to proudly install Sonoma County's first electric vehicle charging stations.
From its eco-friendly wine labels and recyclable packaging to working with suppliers that share the same environmentally-friendly vision, Kathleen Inman works hard to weave in her family's commitment to the sustainability. Even the tasting room countertop contains recycled materials. Isn't it gorgeous?
Now, onto the wines.
While Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris are still the stars of Inman Family Wines, they now also produce a Chardonnay and a Brute Rose that are impressive. The estate's current production includes 3,000 cases of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris that are naturally low in alcohol, high in acid, and food friendly.
Our Favorite Wine
One of my fave wines was the 2010 Olivet Grange Vineyard (OGV) Pinot Noir (retail: $68). This is an elegant, approachable wine that is bright and full of rich berries, then has a smooth bold finish. Delightful. This is definitely a wine to enjoy and savor with good friends over a hearty meal.
Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine
Not normally a fan of most Rosé wines, I was surprised to find myself fully enjoying the 2009 Brut Rosé Nature Sparkling Wine. It is light, tingly, fruity, crisp, and fresh -- but I also love how Kathleen's first hand at sparkling wines occurred in line with the couple's 25th anniversary. You can't escape the personal touches in every part of this winemaking business, and honestly? Sometimes I think the stories behind the wines make them even more delicious. That said, this is definitely one Brut Rosé I would recommend for everyone.
Inman Family Wines is a small lot producer, and they currently sell online in their wine shop, and distribute to restaurants in about 18 states. Wines range from $35 to $68.
In the tasting room, if you are visiting from out of town, be sure to also check out the carefully curated selection of local handmade goods. One of the things I love about wine tasting is being able to also take home little bits and pieces of the area: local jams, candles, hand printed tea towels, artwork. I had to stop myself from buying this whole adorable display.
Visiting Inman Family Wines and spending time with winemaker/owner Kathleen Inman was truly a lovely treat that I will treasure from our trip to Sonoma. If you have a trip to Sonoma County in the future, I highly recommend adding Inman Family Wines to your wine tasting itinerary for a warm, welcoming experience full of personal touches and really exceptional wines that are handcrafted with care.