Building Great Things is What Ledson Does Ledson Winery & Vineyards is the result of having a construction background with wine running through your veins. BY TOURING & TASTING
Photos courtesy of Ledson Winery & Vineyards
When you see The Castle, it's easy to understand why Ledson has become a must visit winery.
“ By the time the Merlot was ready to harvest, the Ledsons had a four-story 16,000-square foot Normandy-style edifice on their hands.”
Steve Ledson, fifth generation farmer, winemaker, and owner of Ledson Winery & Vineyards in Kenwood, and Ledson Hotel & Centre du Vin in Sonoma, has an uncanny knack for realizing his visions. When he was 13, his first soapbox derby car won the prize for its construction. He grew up and founded Ledson Construction in the heart of Sonoma Valley wine country. He pursued a successful career, but with winegrowing in his blood, it’s no surprise that Steve wanted to plant his own vineyard. He purchased a 21-acre property, planted 17 acres to Merlot, and started building a house for his family.
The land proved to be fertile and so did Steve’s imagination. By the time the Merlot was ready to harvest, the Ledsons had a four-story 16,000-square foot Normandy-style edifice on their hands. Steve decided that "The Castle" would work best as a winery and in 1999, two years after he released his first wine, Ledson Winery & Vineyards opened its magnificent tasting room doors to the public.
The beloved Sonoma Valley landmark features sweeping staircases, marble fireplaces, detailed woodwork, 10 exquisite tasting bars and suites, plus a gourmet marketplace. Naturally, guests are impressed with the architecture, but they are equally pleased when they taste the wines. The Ledson label specializes in small lots of handcrafted wines that offer a diversity of vineyard designated varietals, including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Barbera, Sangiovese, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Merlot, Riesling, numerous red blends and more. In just a dozen years they have won more than 100 Gold medals, multiple 90-plus Best of Class distinctions, and prestigious Sweepstakes awards.
"We make a wine for everybody’s palate and price," Steve says. "I pride myself on it." Recently, Steve asked two renowned winemakers, David Ramey and Andrew Bilenkij, to join his team—which bodes well for future vintages.
Since The Castle is a vacation highlight for many guests, the Ledson Winery Marketplace is stocked with fresh salads, sandwiches, and quick bites for those who want to picnic on the lawn under the old oak trees. There are so many wonderful offerings, it’s nearly impossible to describe them—but Bon Appetit’s Anthony Dias Blue found a way with "Delicious."
With the conviction that wine tasting should revolve around luxury and relaxation, Steve has pursued yet another vision on the charming Sonoma Plaza. The Ledson Hotel features six elegantly decorated guest rooms on the building’s upper floor, with balconies, king-sized beds, whirlpool tubs, marble sinks and showers, fireplaces, internet access, and state-of-the-art surround sound television.
Centre du Vin, a bustling, chic local bistro, covers the entire ground floor. Guests can relax indoors at the bar beside the fireplace, or outdoors under a classic red awning on the lovely front terrace overlooking the square. A delectable daily menu is offered, along with an intriguing wine pairing menu featuring local wines. On some evenings, live music fills the air.
A thriving winery, a boutique luxury hotel, and a chic bistro on the plaza—each of Steve Ledson’s visions deserves to be seen and experienced.
Scenic view, private tastings and tours by appointment educational seminars, sustainable farming practices, pet friendly, wine club discounts.
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