Sonocaia – your invitation to the newest estate winery in Sonoma Valley

July 8, 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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Sonocaia Logo - Sonocaia - your invitation to the newest estate winery in Sonoma Valley

Coming soon – your invitation to the newest boutique winery in the Sonoma Valley

You are currently a subscriber to our about-to-launch Sonocaia Winery (you’ve known us for years as Hydeout Sonoma and Dysfunctional Family)

And you are first in line for an invitation! Keep an eye out for subsequent emails like this for your invitation.

If you are seeing this in an email directly from Ken or in social media, you are likely NOT on our list. Please click this link: Sonocaia and scroll to the bottom of that page and provide your email address. You’ll be added automatically to the invitation list.

Seven years in the making – the Sagrantino estate vineyard and the Sonocaia Winery:

Do you love a dark red wine that you can enjoy all the way through an entire meal, from the cheese plate to burgers to tiramisu?

If yes, then our Sonocaia Estate Reserve Sagrantino is for you. Our Sagrantino targets the middle of the famed enticing wine triangle:

  • Pinot Noir (smooth and easy to drink but often without much body or length)
  • Cabernet (jammy and full bodied, but often hot and tiresome after a glass or two)
  • Petite Sirah (inky dark and spicy, but often rough and tannic).

We’re one of just a few Sagrantino growers in the entire country, and our rare Estate Reserve Sagrantino sits squarely in the middle of the triangle – offering great juiciness and body and tannins, and yet is somehow easy to enjoy over the course of an entire meal. Especially when cellar-aged for a few years!

How do you pronounce Sonocaia Sagrantino?

Say it out loud:  So-No-Kai-Yah  Sag-Ran-Teen-Oh

Sagrantino is capable of producing wines of awesome power and grace, yet was on the verge of extinction just 30 years ago. Even now, less than 2500 acres of Sagrantino exist worldwide!

A small group of elite growers in Montefalco, Umbria, Italy realized what they had and brought Sagrantino forward to the modern wine world. And the world took notice. In 2018, Worth Magazine noted that Sagrantino was poised for “a huge breakout in the wine world.” Last October, the “World of Fine Wine” wrote about the miracle of Montefalco Sagrantino. Wine Spectator raved about Sagrantiono saying this: Wine Spectator. And SF Chronicle Wine Competition issued eight medals to Sagrantino in 2022.

What started the Sonocaia project? Our fascination with Sagrantino began twenty years ago. Like so many great wine memories, ours began over a spectacular Italian dinner in San Francisco in 2003 where this famed Paolo Bea Sagrantino Pagliaro was served. 

Paolo Bea - Sonocaia - your invitation to the newest estate winery in Sonoma Valley

The wine was dark and juicy and bold, and yet fit beautifully with food and was easy to drink glass after glass. We committed to someday grow this variety and build a following around it. Thus began our very passionate inquiry into Sagrantino and what ultimately lead us to dedicate ourselves to this extraordinary variety in Sonoma!

  • Sonocaia planted 2 acres of estate Sagrantino vines in 2016. The vines travelled from Italy to UC Davis to the nursery and finally to us. We also inter-planted tiny fractions of Cabernet, Petite Sarah, Primitivo, and Tannat in order to lengthen and smooth Sagrantino’s famed bold tannins.
  • The vineyard has been farmed by hand, 100% organically, with year-long careful attention to detail.
  • During the first two years of purposefully light yields in 2018 and 2019, we harvested some small amounts of the Sagrantino fruit and blended it with other red varieties from neighboring vineyards under the Dysfunctional Family Winery ‘black label’ brand. Want to be an early adopter of these wines? For sale now on the website, 85 cases of the 2019, and 38 cases of the 2018 remain, click here to shop for the 2018 and 2019 Dysfunctional Family Estate Reserve ‘black label’ wines. We can ship to you. Or you can pick up at the winery. Use this code at checkout for an instant 20% discount: FF20
  • 2020 was a wildfire year, no Estate Reserve Sagrantino was produced. Instead we harvested early and produced 28 cases of saignee’ rose’ (also under the Dysfunctional label). Click here to shop for the rose’. We can ship to you. Or you can pick up at the winery. Use this code at checkout for an instant 20% discount: FF20
  • The Sonocaia Estate Reserve Sagrantino yielded spectacular fruit in 2021 and 2022. Those first two full vintages of Estate Reserve Sagrantino are now aging beautifully in barrels in the new winery. Vintage 2021 to be released next year to mailing list members and wine club members only.
  • With the return of winter rains, the 2023 crop is also looking over-the-top exciting (see photo below)..
  • And after four years, winery construction is now complete and we are very close to opening!

We’ll be holding a series of small tasting visits soon for you, our subscribers. Come be a part of the fun. You get the first shot at reservations. Keep an eye out for subsequent emails for your invitation:

Where is Sonocaia:

We like to call it the “Far East” of Sonoma town. We’re a few minutes east of the Sonoma Plaza, and less than a minute east of the Vineburg Deli (which is at the corner 8th Street East and Napa Road). We’re in the Hyde-Burndale neighborhood just south across Napa Road from Gundlach-Bundshu and Scribe wineries:

Sonocaia vineyard map sonoma - Sonocaia - your invitation to the newest estate winery in Sonoma Valley

This week at Sonocaia. The summer flowers are hitting their peak. Please enjoy:

Final note – new chicks arriving in the hen house

Even in a protected setting like our hen house, apex predators manage to eat a chicken on occasion. So they must be replaced. A wonderful neighborhood kid is hatching her own chicks and selling them to neighbors. We picked up 10 new chicks last week and have them growing in their separate screened cattle trough – until they are big enough to introduce to the main population.

IMG 6911 - Sonocaia - your invitation to the newest estate winery in Sonoma Valley

Ten baby chicks under the warmth of the heat lamp

IMG 6909 - Sonocaia - your invitation to the newest estate winery in Sonoma Valley

Our adorable neighborhood chicken whisperer

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  1. James Gentleman

    Looks awesome !

  2. Karin Kascher

    Wowza, Ken and Cynthia! No rest for your talents and initiative! Cheers!

    • Dawn

      Congrats you two! Can’t wait to experience the wine. My personal favorite varietal. Cheers!

  3. evye szanto

    You guys are super impressive.

  4. Catherine

    Congratulations to you both!!! Look forward to a tasting XO

  5. michael wornick

    Exciting project coming to life.


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