Sutro Wine Co. may have only been founded in 2012, but Alice Warnecke Sutro’s family has lived in Sonoma County since the 1870s and on the Warnecke Ranch since 1911. With strong roots comes pioneering women and men that have built the legacy of this property we were so fortunate to walk on.
Sutro Wine Company
Love cab, merlot, and sauv blanc? Love walking through vineyards and learning about the land your wine comes from? Then Sutro Wine Company is a must-visit winery for you! Tucked away along Chalk Hill Road in the Alexander Valley this gem offers more than just a 45-minute vineyard walk and terroir-focused wine, it also provides Sonoma County history and some incredible wines. Sutro Wine Co. was built on good stewards of the land, a history of strong women that ran mercantiles in Sonoma County, and men that quite literally were the architects of the vineyards.
Alice is the first winemaker in the family and is an all-around badass! We absolutely loved walking the property with her and learning about the land and her family’s history! She has a way of explaining the winemaking process in a technical way that is so easy to understand. Her passion for art blending with the wine world is apparent as well. We paused often in various spots on the Warnecke Ranch property to discuss what we were looking at or standing on. Alice isn’t just a winemaker (wine producer) and caretaker of the land, she is also an artist and writer. Curious about this side of her? Check out her website AliceSutro.com for some very interesting journals and art as well as a peek into her personal thoughts.
Alice is a complex badass of a woman with so much passion for everything she does. It isn’t often one gets to meet a person that has so much talent and is humble about what she does. The Warnecke Ranch also has the Chalk Hill Artist Residency on the property which Alice ran for a few years. Is there anything she can’t do? Doubt it.
Her family’s roots run deep in Sonoma County and she is sinking hers in too. Head on over to Sutro Wine Co’s site and book your virtual tasting or hike on the property with Alice!
Warnecke Ranch Hike
The drive to Warnecke Ranch through the country roads of Healdsburg and Alexander Valley is absolutely stunning! Any time of year is great to take this drive and end at this amazing property.
Warnecke Ranch is 265 acres between the foothills of the Mayacamas and the Russian River and is home to the historic Chalk Hill. 80 of the acres are perfectly planted with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon Blanc vines. Several homes are on the property including the Chalk Hill Artist Residency. Alice and her family also live on the property.
The vineyards are certified with the rigorous Green LODI Sustainable Winegrowing Program. As we walked through the property you could see the sense of stewardship of the land. Not just to take what the land could give but also sustain the land for future generations. Sonoma County is known for a lot of really great things, but one of our favorites is how people LOVE the land we live on. It feels so good to be a part of this county.
We were greeted by Alice and her pup Hatch who did the tour with us. We started off walking from their house and up Chalk Hill which is named for the volcanic chalky white ash. The hike up the hill winds through a grove of trees. At the top, there is a clearing with tree stumps. Or fairy houses if you are young at heart! 😉
Views of Mount Saint Helena are visible from most of the property but from up on top of Chalk Hill you can see all the vineyards, valleys, and hills in between. We paused up here to learn more about the history of the family. Neither of us wanted to leave but were also eager to see the rest of the property!
From here we walked back down and past some more vineyards. As we turned the corner and headed up a slight grade lined with oaks, we turned around and had a beautiful view of Chalk Hill and the expansiveness of the vineyards. Have we said enough yet how amazing this property is?? On one side of the trail, we had vineyards and spectacular views of Geyser Peak and Mt St Helena. On the other side of the trail, it was a steep drop off to the neighboring property.
Chatting and walking we went through a deer gate and ended at a knoll under the oaks overlooking the Russian River on one side and the vineyards on the other. This just happens to be where Alice and Eliot were married. It’s a beautiful spot!
Walking down the path past merlot vines in full fall glory, our next stop was the pond. Hatch was having an absolute blast swimming around and rolling in the dirt. Lucky dog! Alice opened up more here about how her passion for art and wine meld together. She really is an incredible woman to listen to and chat with. We could have spent all day there having amazing conversations but she’s a busy woman!
As we headed back to the house we walked through a tunnel of trees. It would be so refreshing during the heat of the summer to be there in the shade with the cool pond just below. The entire walk was filled with a sense of peace. She has a calming presence. The land has a calming presence. We felt like we do when we hike through a redwood forest…the overwhelming calm that just wraps you up like a big hug. It truly is incredible being there and we only saw a small portion!
Dinner that night was accompanied by the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon. It did not NEED food with it. We sipped on it, shared a little, and kept sipping on it during dinner. It was a very well done bold cab that was not overpowering. Just right. 🙂
We can’t wait to go back and enjoy more wines from Sutro Wine Co. With so many wineries in Sonoma and Napa Counties, these smaller ones can get lost in the mix. I wouldn’t pass this one up!