Why Your Next Trip To Wine Country Needs To Include This Vineyard

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The great room at the La Crema Estate
The great room at the La Crema Estate

Fifteen years ago, one could hop in a car and head over the Golden Gate Bridge for a comfortable and exciting trip to wine country—with little to no planning required. However, times have changed and wine tasting, especially in the Napa Valley, involves advance arrangements. Many of the best wineries are by appointment only, and a reservation is crucial for any tasting experience. However, in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley, many of the wineries are open to the public with no prior booking necessary. One such place is La Crema Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard.

The back patio is a place to be come the weekend
Come the weekend, the back patio is a place to be.

Although La Crema has been around since 1979, the estate at Saralee’s Vineyard is just two years old. It’s a beautiful property with thoughtful landscaping. The late Saralee Kunde, the previous owner for whom the estate is named for, was known as the daffodil queen of Sonoma. She planted hundreds of yellow blooms all over the region and filled her home garden a wide variety of flowers and over 200 fruit trees.  She also had an extensive rose collection which flourishes to this day. Saralee and her husband Richard planted the vines. The site produces some of the best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes in the Russian River Valley.

The architecture of the old barn is breathtaking
The architecture of the old barn is breathtaking

The building that houses the extensive tasting facility dates back to 1882. It was an old barn before the Kundes turned it into their residence. SF-based Brayton Hughes Design Studios transformed the multi-level structure into the elegant and sophisticated space it is now. The property is historic yet modern, industrial, yet residential, rustic, yet luxurious.

The estate has multiple places for enjoying a glass of wine.
The estate has multiple places for enjoying a glass of wine.

Pop in for a flight of La Crema’s wines or better yet, bring a picnic and buy a bottle or two of wine to enjoy on the estate. There is a large and inviting back patio, and dogs are welcome. Note that La Crema does offer an extensive golf cart tour of the vineyard or an exploration of the brand’s rare varietals, but these experiences must be made in advance with a reservation.

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