One of the few wineries that will be open on Thanksgiving Day is Cline Cellars. Driving into Cline Cellars located in the Carneros region of Sonoma, the first thing you’ll notice is the beautiful landscaping. The care that is put into tending the trees, lawn, gardens, and rose bushes hints at the care taken to the three vineyards that produce the grapes for Cline Cellars wines. A large, lush picnic area sits near the tasting room. The walkway is bordered by the soft scent of flowers. This tasting room is unique. It is located in a 1850s farmhouse with a wrap-around porch.
Inside the tasting room visitors can peruse the gift shop, buy cheese to compliment wine purchases, and most importantly, taste Cline Cellars highly acclaimed Zinfandels and Rhone-style wines. In 2007, Cline Cellars 2004 Sonoma Zinfandel was rated 91 pts by the Wine Spectator. Also in 2007, Cline Cellars 2004 Bridgehead Zinfandel was rated 90 pts. Cline’s 2004 Ancient Vines Mourvèdre was named, “One of the top 100 values of the Year” by Wine & Spirits, in their June 2007 issue.
Cline Cellars is owned and operated by Fred and Nancy Cline. Established originally in Oakley in 1982, the Cline’s relocated the winery to their current location in 1991. Although they moved the location of the winery, the Cline’s retained 140 acres in Oakley. The Oakley ranch consists of Cline’s aged and rare Ancient Vines. Some of the grapevines range in age from 80 to 120 years old. The ranch contains varietals such as Mourvèdre, Carignane and Zinfandel. Their 350-acre estate in the Carneros region is planted with Rhône varietals including Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne.
Charles (Charlie) Tsegeletos is the winemaker/director of winemaking for Cline Cellars. In 1979, Charlie earned his degree in Agricultural Science and Management/Plant Science from the University of California at Davis. Charlie joined Cline Cellars in 2002. Charlie is a professional wine judge and a member of the Board of Directors for the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Association.
For the past 9 years, Cline Cellars has farmed using Sustainable Methods. Instead of using chemical pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers, Cline uses methods such as organic cover crops, composting and compost teas, and sheep grazing. Cline’s “Compost Tea” is added to the vines using drip irrigation and also applied directly to the leaves. This tea contains ingredients such as molasses, fish emulsion, and rock dust. Three times a year, grazing sheep and goats are used to help control weeds.
While visiting Cline Cellars, make sure to visit their California Missions Museum. The museum features California Mission Models shown originally in 1939, at the World’s Fair at Treasure Island. The Cline Family saved the models from being auctioned off individually in 1998. In 2005 the museum was created to showcase the models along with other historical treasures.