The Castle of Wineries
Ledson Winery & Hotel
Kenwood and Sonoma, CA
Steve Ledson, owner of Ledson Winery & Vineyards, has certainly made his mark on the Sonoma Valley. The contractor, designer, and fifth-generation Sonoma farmer and winemaker first designed his four-floor 16,000-square-foot French Normandy-style winery building, known as "the Castle," as the family home. But as the turrets, balconies, and Gone with the Wind staircase took shape, Steve realized that the architectural showpiece would be better suited as the family's winery. Today the Kenwood location is a popular place for wine tourers to stop and enjoy the winery's impressive 77 different hand-crafted wines.
The Ledsons currently farm some 5,000 acres between Sonoma and Mendocino counties. The winery specializes in small varietal lots that reflect the diversity of their select vineyards and appellations. With too many to list, they invite guests to taste their wines in one of the Castle's ten beautifully appointed tasting bars and suites, and visit their gourmet marketplace.
But for Steve, who comes from a line of vintners, the true wine experience involves more than stunning buildings and tasting parlors. Feeling that a major part of the wine tasting experience is luxury and relaxation, Steve decided to build a great place where his wine club members and friends could do just that. "I wanted to build a hotel that tied in with the magnificence of the castle as well as the quality of the wines," Steve explains.
Built in 1999, the Ledson Hotel looks like it has been on Sonoma's downtown square for 150 years. Each of the six guest rooms individually designed to be a unique experience, with intricate woodwork throughout the building. All of the luxurious accommodations have balconies, king-sized beds, whirlpool tubs, marble sinks, marble showers, Internet access, refrigerators, and romantic fireplaces.
When it's time to meet up with friends or make new ones, the hotel's Harmony Lounge is a soothing place to enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail, and each other beside the glowing fireplace or on the patio. The lounge is designed to give guests the feeling of wine country luxury that Steve feels is so important when discovering the great wines of Sonoma County. "
What to buy:
'07 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc Crisp flavors, refreshing citrus finish $26
'05 Russian River 'Old Vine' Zinfandel, Baldocci Candied raspberries, brown sugar molasses, green peppercorns, mint $40
'04 Estate Merlot Intense, dark chocolate, Bing cherries $44
'05 Mes Trois Amours Blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah $36
707.537.3810; Fax: 707.538.3003
7335 Sonoma Hwy
Kenwood, CA 95409
Tasting Room Open Daily from 10-5
707.996.9779; Fax: 707.996.9776
480 First Street East
Sonoma, CA 95476
Directions can be found on the website or by calling the winery or hotel.
The warm, intimate reserve tasting bar at Ledson Winery. 2. The gracious hotel overlooks Sonoma Plaza. 3. Ledson winery, commonly known as the Castle 4. The grandeur of the past is reflected in each of the hotel's six guest rooms.