Check out THE Hot New Winery in Sonoma…

I haven’t been this excited by something in the travel industry in a long time. Ram’s Gate Winery, which just opened a few weeks ago in Sonoma, is bound to cause some buzz…It is unlike any other winery I have ever visited  in the world.

You don’t have to love wine to automatically feel like you are somewhere special… there is plenty to admire in the architecture, design, and food.

One can’t help but be drawn into the Ram’s Gate experience by the sheer design – contemporary decor in a country setting – a dramatic Calacatta marble slab bar for tasting… cozy furniture for mingling… eclectic and interesting pairings of furnishings in a 22,000 sq foot barn setting.

The  massive floor-to-ceiling glass “walls” that open to sweeping vineyard and bay views bring the outdoors very much indoors. Designer Orlando Diaz-Azcuy – brilliant.

The winery is open 10-6PM… but cozy up to the fireplace..

or lounge in the private library… and there is no reason you can’t stay all day and hang out with friends. You can even request a picnic lunch to take down to the nearby lake…. but there is a fantastic tasting menu if you stay at the winery.

On the tasting menu, each wine is listed with appropriate foods.  I had a private dinner there recently, and got to experience the exquisitely paired food and wine – the 2009 Zinfandel with the dark chocolate olive oil and goat cheese cake with orange zest (and I dislike chocolate with orange) was insane.

Oenophiles, who may be more into the wine than the design and food, take note: the wine offerings are darn good too. There are mainly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir… from single and estate vineyard (Some from Durell Vineyard – I’m a fan.) You can try a flight if you like.

The wines, priced from $25-$75/bottle, will be sold exclusively at the winery and via the winery website and wine membership.

Guests can experience the winery in a multitude of ways, and the staff is there to create tailored experiences for its visitors – drop in for an impromptu tasting, reserve the private wine parlor for a wine and food pairing, or celebrate an occasion over a wine dinner with friends. The open kitchen will offer guests the opportunity to learn about how Ram’s Gate wines pair with food, even getting the chance to cook alongside the chef.

Now… Since they host private parties for 6 people to 600, I am looking for an excuse to have a soiree there. Anyone else game? I am SO there. You should be too. - just 35 minutes from San Francisco.

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