Sonocaia grand opening was a wonderful success

November 11, 2023

Written by Ken Wornick

Backed by 20+ vintages and many dozens of wines produced, Ken is a Sonoma-based wine consultant and founder of Sonocaia Estate Vineyeards, Dysfunctional Family Winery and Hydeout Sonoma.

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Three days of launch parties

With thanks to you, our loyal band of blog post readers, customers and fans, the 3-day launch of the Sonocaia winery sold out quickly. And went off without a hitch. See photos below for a glance at the various events. More carefully curated events are being placed on the calendar now – winemaker dinners, ranch tours, etc. We look forward to seeing you here soon:

Grand opening Friday - Sonocaia grand opening was a wonderful success

Friday – the raucous crowd was ready to start their weekend


Grand opening Saturday - Sonocaia grand opening was a wonderful success

Saturday – this group had excellent probing questions about clones and rootstocks and farming and winemaking


Grand opening Sunday - Sonocaia grand opening was a wonderful success

Sunday matinee – this was a very fun crowd enjoying their Sunday afternoon after the clocks were turned back for daylight savings time


Preparations for the 3-day event involved the careful selection of five wines – one rosé wine and four reds – a saigneé provenćal rosé, the double-buffalo 2021 red blend, the inaugural preview of the 100% Sonocaia estate 2021 Sagrantino, the black label 2019 reserve, and one library wine, a robust 2017 Cab-centric blend.

During the 3-day event, we revealed the inaugural release of the Sonocaia Estate Reserve 100% Sagrantino label. And the newly designed Dysfunctional Family Winery iconic “double buffalo” label:

Grand opening tasting note cards - Sonocaia grand opening was a wonderful success

Customers studied the wine menu notes carefully, offered helpful comments, and purchased their favorites


charcuterie - Sonocaia grand opening was a wonderful success

A selection of curated charcuterie was served table side

Sagrantino harvest 2023

Just prior to the Sonocaia grand opening, we completed the 2023 harvest, crush, and winemaking. This was a long cool growing season, with much needed rain last winter, a mild spring, and a long summer with very few heat spikes. Some of the colder spots around Sonoma had the latest harvest date in years. Our estate Sagrantino, below, did finally ripen to perfection; the resulting taste and technical lab numbers were nearly perfect. The 2023 now rests in barrels and will certainly be the boldest and most varietally accurate of our 5 harvests.

Sagrantino fruit 2023 vintage - Sonocaia grand opening was a wonderful success

Freshly harvested 1/2 ton bins of Sagrantino fruit awaiting handling at the winery

Sagrantino in Fall - Sonocaia grand opening was a wonderful success

A view of the estate Sagrantino vineyard looking south from the Sonocaia winery. Fall weather arrived just in time to complete the 2023 winemaking and get the winery open.


We’re doing our best to manage all of the food and beverage waste cycles here at the ranch. One project is our substantial composting operation – where nearly all brown and green organic material is recycled into the massive compost pile – including chicken manure, garden waste, tree trimmings, and below, post-fermentation grape skins.


One of my very favorite annual projects is the collecting of oak acorns. During my wanderings around Sonoma, I have identified a few “mother” trees which are huge 100+ years old behemoth oaks that produce incredible acorns almost every year. I think we can all agree that an acorn is a marvel of the living world! An impenetrable hard shell protects the inner meat and seed from the harsh sun and animals. After soaking on the ground in the cold rain all winter long, the root emerges and immediately digs a deep tap root. It takes years for the tree to reach 4-5 feet above ground. But in successive years after it establishes itself, it quickly rockets to the sky becoming a huge and gorgeous canopy offering shade, food, water retention, carbon sequestration, and visual joy.

Acorns - Sonocaia grand opening was a wonderful success

Others topics:

The olive harvest is the next task on the horizon. This year, anecdotal data suggests a very large crop significantly devoid of the usual destructive olive fruit fly.

Olives on tree - Sonocaia grand opening was a wonderful success

Hot air balloons are a very common site here at the ranch. They depart at dawn just north of us from mid-valley, and as the sun rises the air briefly moves toward the bay blowing the balloons south and right over our backyard, and then exactly on cue the wind shifts north and off they go headed to Carneros and Napa for their landing.

Hot air ballons - Sonocaia grand opening was a wonderful success

See you at our next event. Warmly. Ken Wornick, Sonocaia owner/winemaker

Ken - Sonocaia grand opening was a wonderful success

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1 Comment

  1. Bob

    Looks like a wonderful event. Congratulations!


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