The Donum Estate: Be Thrilled By Their Tantalizing Chardonnay And Fascinating Art
Part of a Chardonnay Winery series
What's Their Story:
The story of how a prestigious winery morphed into a walking art museum is fascinating.
Here's the scoop: Anne Moller-Rack migrated from her native Germany in 1981 after her family's company purchased Buena Vista Winery. After working her way up, she became vice president of vineyard operations. Not content to sit back, she turned her attention to establishing the Carneros Wine Alliance. and helping Carneros achieve the recognition that led to the Carneros' inclusion as an AVA (American Viticultural Area). Then, Ms. Moller-Rack founded Donum Estates in 2001 in said Carneros and began producing some of the finest Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the valley.
Mei and Allan Warburg assumed winery control in 2010. Both wine and art connoisseurs, The Warburgs, particularly Allan Warburg, have an interesting perspective on life, art, and wine. "If you take art, put it into a beautiful landscape, and at the same time enjoy it with a glass of great wine, the experience is more powerful than if the three are enjoyed separately." So, they, together with Ms. Moller-Rack, set about installing art throughout the winery grounds. There are now over 40 world-renowned art sculptures scattered about the winery grounds. I'll end this story with a quote from Ms. Moller-Rack: "Donum means 'gift' in Latin, and the art we now have here is a wonderful gift. Visitors have always connected with this property, its proximity to nature, and the wine that is an expression of this terroir – the art is a seamless addition. What underlies both art and wine is passion. Both of them stimulate the senses and enhance your perceptions of this special place."
Why The Winery Made The Grade:
Easy answer….Donum Estates makes amazing wine. Anne Moller-Rack really put the winery on the map with her note-worthy Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Adding the art sculptures to the grounds is the icing on the cake. Our blog series aims to identify wineries with incredible Chardonnay wine, and Donum Estates more than satisfies that criteria.
Donum Estates knows how to have a tasting. Every detail has been planned with excruciating attention, and it shows. The tasting rooms are uber modern and comfortable, with large windows so visitors can gaze at the nearby art and vineyards.
We opted for the Discover Experience and had one of the best food and wine pairings ever. Staff are engaging and incredibly knowledgeable about wine and the estate. The pairing of the Bluefin tuna crudo with the Russian River Estate Chardonnay was memorable.
Which Winery Visitor Type Would Love It :
All of our winery types would enjoy a visit. Put this winery on your wine bucket list (make one if you don't have one) to visit for the wine, the grounds, and the art. Reservations are anywhere from six weeks out or longer, so plan accordingly.
Address: 24500 Ramal Road Sonoma, CA 95476
Phone: (707) 732-2200
Appointments Are required.
Hours: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM Daily
Tours/Tastings Offered: Donum Estates offers several tasting options – but prices are expensive. Tastings for one range from $100.00 to $500.00. I would highly recommend the "Discover Experience," an hour and ½ skillfully curated tour that includes a stroll through the grounds to visit the art and one of the best food and wine pairings I've had. It is a little pricy at $150.00 per person and well worth the expense.
Read the next blog in the series: DuMOL Winery
Or read all of the Chardonnay blogs in our new guide, Chardonnay Wineries of Sonoma and Napa.