The estate acreage and manicured grounds of Landmark Vineyards may lie at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain, but they speak to a legacy that was born in the farmlands of Illinois in the year 1838. That's when John Deere revolutionized the farming industry by inventing the steel plow to conquer the area's tough, rich soil.
John's great-great granddaughter, Damaris Deere Ford, founded Landmark Vineyards in 1974. Today, her son and daughter-in-law, Mike and Mary Colhoun, are the proprietors. They continue to express the family's agricultural legacy through Landmark's everyday vineyard practices, which are now driven by organic farming.
Landmark wines are grown in an 11-acre estate vineyard and other respected vineyards in Sonoma and beyond. When the winery replanted its estate vineyard to Châteauneuf-du-Pape varieties in 2006, it launched its Friend of the Vineyard program for individuals wishing to share the experience of vineyard development. Those who quickly recognized this opportunity will soon be able to savor 2009 Esprit du Rhône Estate Vineyard wines.
The winery's commitment to family and the John Deere tradition is evident from the fields right down to the labels on the bottles. Each wine is named in homage to its cherished heritage. And most have earned international acclaim and consistent high marks from Robert Parker, Wine Spectator, and others.
Often mentioned by wine lovers as a top spot to visit in Sonoma County, Landmark Vineyards is warm and welcoming. Wine-tasting flights are available daily, and vineyard tours with Landmark's wine educators are frequently on the agenda. The gracious grounds encourage visitors to stay awhile. Beyond the beautiful terrace and courtyard, there is a Bocce ball court for leisurely games. On Saturdays, live music plays al fresco year-round, and during summertime a horse-drawn carriage takes guests on dreamy rides through the vineyards.
But the luckiest guests of all are those who have planned ahead and reserved the winery's guest accommodations. They can fall asleep in the cradle of an American legacy, where a commitment to the land reigns supreme.
What to Buy
'07 Overlook Chardonnay Lemon meringue, pineapple, honey, fresh-baked bread, oat straw $28
'08 Grand Detour Pinot Noir Black raspberry, cherry fruit, chocolate, coffee $40
'07 Steel Plow Syrah Leather, cardamom, cinnamon, white pepper, cocoa, soy sauce, blackberry $30
Located on the corner of Hwy 12 and Adobe Canyon Rd in the town of Kenwood.