Ram’s Gate Winery in Sonoma is next in my Marin Day Escapes Series. As one of the closest Sonoma wineries to Marin, Ram’s Gate is one of our favorite choices to visit when we want to enjoy great wine, architecture, views, and even food. Recently I had the opportunity to visit Ram’s Gate with friends Luca and Brenda Pignata. Luca Pignata is with the bay area architecture firm Backen Gillam Kroger. He has a long resume creating some of the most amazing spaces in the Bay Area and was instrumental in the architectural design of Ram’s Gate. We joined Luca and Brenda for lunch as well as a tour of this stunning winery.
In Their Own Words…
“Architecturally, the buildings are historically precise, built with materials that contrast the modern with the traditional to bewitching effect. The barn has been designed so that everything is on an axis, bringing the spectacular vistas inside at every turn. The visionary style of internationally acclaimed interior designer, Orlando Diaz-Azcuy, is everywhere – with many key pieces designed by Orlando himself. There is a glorious mix of antiques and vintage designer items while other accent pieces create a dramatic story of high and low – custom-designed lanterns contrast with the iconic Big Bang chandelier by Foscarini; Sutherland teak chairs sit alongside cheerful West Elm side tables. The thrilling scale of ceilings, doors, windows and staircase designed by Howard are complemented by accent colors, eclectic furniture, lighting and bespoke pieces, coming together in a dreamlike composition that characterizes the uniqueness of Ram’s Gate.”
“Dreamlike” is a great description of the property – as one enters the giant rough-hewn wooden barn door style gates and drives down the long, winding driveway, you forget that you are only 15 minutes from Marin. The winery is perfectly situated, with a design centered around several outdoor spaces featuring large courtyards and intimate, tucked-away seating areas such as the one pictured above. Perched high upon a hill, the winery blends in beautifully with its surroundings, opening to the view of the vineyards and valley below. If one didn’t see the signs out front, you might think it was just a lovely home atop the hill, not an award-winning winery.
What about the wine, you ask? Leave it to a Marin real estate agent to focus first on the architecture and design! I very much enjoyed the flight of wines we were served, along with delicious small-dish pairings. Ram’s Gate specializes in Pinor Noirs and Chardonnays, both of of which I enjoyed. Their Syrah and especially their Cabernet Sauvignon were also winners in my book, with the cab tasting “big” but not overwhelming. Ram’s Gate’s chief winemaker, Jeff Gaffner, clearly knows what he’s doing when it comes to crafting wines — the Chardonnay has a nice, full body without the overly-buttery flavor I have noticed elsewhere. The Pinot was complex structure and not too sweet, a characteristic that I’ve disliked in some Pinots. From start to finish, our wine flight was delightful.
We were lucky enough to be able to sit in the stunning wine club member’s only dining room (thank you, Brenda and Luca!) and enjoy a series of food pairings, including a lovely charcuterie board, black truffle and mushroom arancini (my favorite of the offerings), grilled short rib served with Japanese sweet potato frites, a very tasty paella, and a pork polpetta — with charred tomato, fennel, polenta and parmesan. Taylr Benham, executive chef at Ram’s Gate, honors the beautifully-crafted wines with cuisine that is innovative, complex and delicious.
Even non-members are treated in style, with a gorgeous bar (pictured below) flanked with Carrara Marble in an open-beamed room that looks out over the vineyards and valley beyond. It also features an inviting fireplace and comfy leather chairs, perfect for a cold winter day. During nice weather, there are a multitude of outdoor gathering and seating areas to savor wine and the expansive vistas enjoyed by this Sonoma winery.
Ram’s Gate – One of the Closest Sonoma Wineries to Marin
Ram’s Gate as an easy drive from Marin County, just minutes off Highway 37. You may call them at 707-721-8700 for further information. If you are headed north to visit Sonoma wineries, you will pass Ram’s Gate. As always, I am here to answer your questions about real estate in Marin County. Please call or text me at 415-847-5584, or fill in the contact form below. Cheers!