Hudson Ranch: Savor Their Amazing Chardonnay and Join The Following
Part of a Chardonnay Winery series
What's Their Story:
There is no better way to begin a weekend than wine tasting, and no better way than to start it at Hudson Ranch. Charmed by a bottle of their wine during a recent evening at a local restaurant, I was eager to visit. So, one June Saturday morning, we made our way down Carneros Highway to the magnificent Hudson Ranch.
We found a fantastic sprawling 2,000-acre working farm with ponds, an incredible garden you can get lost in quite happily, cows, pigs, and award-winning pumpkins, vines, oh my. And these vines produce some pretty great grapes that make spectacular wine.
Hudson Ranch has an extensive relationship with grapes. The site became one of the earliest vineyards in Carneros. And, in the 1880s, when phylloxera was on its destructive march through Europe, this part of Carneros became the launching pad for the first successful American scientific experiments resulting in phylloxera-resistant rootstocks.
The current owner, Robert (Lee) Hudson, purchased the ranch in 1981, and his first harvest was in 1983. Initially, For decades, Hudson Ranch was a grower, providing grapes for some of the most iconic brands in Northern California: Kistler, Arietta, Duckhorn, Kongsgaard, Cakebread, Aubert, Favia-Erickson, Odette, Plumpjack, and Failla. In 2004, Hudson Ranch produced its first wines. Their objective is to produce a limited number of wines, focusing continually on their philosophy of respecting the terroir and achieving harmony between the land and the people who farm it.
Why The Winery Made The Grade:
Hudson Ranch makes exquisite wine – so much so that they ended up on Wine Spectator's 2023 Chardonnay Winery Issue cover. Their Little Bit, and Ladybug Chardonnay's in particular, are worth trying. Hudson Ranch has a reputation for making stellar Chardonnay, and the two we sampled did not disappoint. Another wine, The Old Master, a blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, immediately enchanted us. Full disclosure: we were so taken with their wines that we joined Hudson Ranch's wine club. (Look for the coming blog about why wine clubs are a good deal.).
Visitors are warmly greeted by the engaging Lee Hudson and placed in the skillful hands of our wine concierge, in this case, Jesse. After a delightful walk through their garden and marveling at the fantastic squash crops, we were ushered into an elegant modern tasting room featuring five wines. Hudson Ranch has a reputation for making stellar Chardonnay, and we were lucky to have five of their best to sample. The Seashell Chardonnay enamored us. Full disclosure: we were so taken with their wines that we joined Hudson Ranch's wine club. (Look for the coming blog about why wine clubs are a good deal.).
Hudson Ranch is one winery well worth your time and effort to visit.
Which Winery Visitor Type Would Love It :
All winery-type visitors would enjoy a visit. Authenticity Seekers would be impressed with the garden and farm; Oenophiles would be enthralled with the wine; Luxury Seekers would enjoy the modern, spacious tasting areas; and Casual Wine Drinkers would drink it all in.
Address: 5398 Sonoma Hwy, Napa, CA 94559
Phone: (707) 255-1345
Hours: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Daily
Appointments are required.
Tours/Tastings Offered: Hudson Ranch offers two tastings. Prices range from $100.00 to $150.00. Pack a picnic and enjoy their beautiful grounds with wine, cheese, and a great loaf of bread.
Read the next blog in the Chardonnay series: Joseph Phelps Winery
Or read all of the Chardonnay blogs in our new guide, Chardonnay Wineries of Sonoma and Napa.