Wine By Appointment’s Heavenly Haunt to Hudson Ranch
There is no better way to begin a summer 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.
Arriving at Hudson Ranch, we were immediately warmly greeted by the engaging Lee Hudson and placed in the skillful hands of our wine concierge, 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 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 as to why wine clubs are a good deal.).
Hudson Ranch is one winery that is well worth your time and effort to visit. Located at 5398 Sonoma Hwy, Napa, CA 94559; call (707) 255-1345 or visit www.hudsonranch.com for more details, but visit you should.