Headed to wine country and want to do it in true style… A winery with guest cottages ~ Thomas George Estates Winery is where you want to be, if you’re in Russian River Valley.
I’ve long been a supporter of Westside Road, having spent my first five years in the wine business there. At the time, the property was called Belvedere Winery, owned by venture capitalist Bill Hambrecht. The place has had several incarnations, since my time there, that’s not been recorded anywhere that I know of, so forgive my indulgence… for historical purposes.
- In 1979 ~ Belvedere Winery was created, I started to work there in March of 1993, and stayed until May of 1998.
- I was at Belvedere Winery in 1996, when the Belvedere Vodka brand was launched in the U.S., and am one of the few people with that back story.
- Spring 2008 – recreated as C. Donatiello Winery.
- April 2011 – recreated as VML Winery (winemaker Virginia “Ginny” Marie Lambrix) ~ to present.
- It’s also my understanding that the Truett Hurst offices are found at this location, another of Bill Hambrecht’s projects.
The four original ranching houses were built in the 1920s. They have since undergone extensive renovations, and are now quite luxurious for the area. “Each house has all the modern conveniences, while retaining the spirit and sense of place of the Russian River Valley,” according to their Website, and I completely agree.
Having spent a lot of time on Westside Road, I feel that it’s such a magical, romantic area of Sonoma County. Thomas George – which used to be the Davis Bynam location – has captured the heart and soul of the area. When purchased, the location underwent a tremendous facelift, with strict attention to detail being paid at every turn. As a result, it’s a tiny Shangri-La, well worth your time.
My favorite part of the winery is the grounds, besides the wines, of course. Walking through their gardens, from the base of the property to the top of the hill, is fun exploring. Thomas Georges’ impeccable landscaping continues to evolve with each of my visits. This certainly keeps my interest up for returning. The latest additions for us are their gorgeous fountains in really well appointed areas.
The caves hold really special memories for everyone, most especially regarding their food and wine dinners. Get onto their mailing list, so you get to enjoy one. [This image is of our new friends Gail Appleson and Guillermo Rodríguez of St. Louis.)
Their picnic area is very tranquil. Jose and I have enjoyed quiet lunches on the grounds with close friends. It’s that kind of place… the one where you want to share it with others in a lingering way.
But, the true reason for this post is to turn you on to the ability to rent your own slice of heaven, when you know you’re headed to Russian River Valley… Thomas George Estates guest cottages. Delightfully special is a great place to start. As with all things related to Thomas George Estates, these small residences are done really tastefully, not over the top opulence… just handsome and homey. They make you want to hang around and lounge… A deck with a grill makes you want to get out there and cook something special. The close proximity to the other cottages might even make you feel very social, making new friends in wine county.
Image: Jose and my new friends Gail and Guillermo, with Jose at Thomas George Estates Winery… A great place for you to visit, too, or to perhaps to make your own new friends… to stay and linger in the vines, enjoying the times and wines.