• The Sonoma Coast AVA is the largest AVA in Sonoma, extending over 500,000 acres of the coast (with 2,000 acres in vines) and inland to downtown Sonoma and south to San Pablo Bay
• Sonoma Coast AVA has the coolest weather of all of the 18 Sonoma AVAs
• Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the primary varieties, along with cool climate Syrah
• The current Sonoma Coast AVA includes portions of Carneros, Chalk Hill, Fort Ross-Seaview, Green Valley, Petaluma, Russian River Valley, and Sonoma Valley
• A new West Sonoma Coast AVA is expected to be approved in 2019 that will contain only the coastal areas; Peay Vineyards would be part of the new AVA
• Estate wineries with organic vines: 6
• Organic acreage: 136
• Organic vineyard case production: 8,317
• Peay Vineyards: 52
• Radio-Coteau: 22
• Benziger Family Winery-De Coelo: 22
• Benovia Winery: 18
• Canihan Wines: 15
• Idell Family Vineyards: 7 (in transition)
• Pinot Noir
• Peay Vineyards: 4,000 (out of 5,000)
• Benziger Family Winery: 1,700 (De Coelo)
• Canihan Wines: 1,500
• Radio-Coteau-660 (out of 3,500)
• Idell Family Vineyards: 350
• Benovia Winery: 300
• Sources its estate wines from its 52 acre vineyard in Annapolis, four miles inland from the Sonoma Coast; the property is one of the coldest vineyard sites in the country
• The winery is in Cloverdale
• Tasting is restricted to private visits for wine club members (by appt.)
Best known for
• Star producer embodying the "extreme" Sonoma Coast terroir, capturing the essence of fruit grown in cool climate vineyards that promote long, slow ripening
• Makes 9 wines from certified vines ($45-58)
• In 1996, pioneering founders Nick and Andy Peay purchased the 280 acre property (a former sheep ranch) with a 90 year old farmhouse and an old apple orchard on it; the two brothers planted their first 30 acres of grape vines in 1998
• The Peays divide up the main roles, with Nick managing the wine growing and Andy in charge of sales and marketing
• Winemaker Vanessa Wong joined the team in 2001, and later married Nick Peay; Wong's winemaking career included working at Peter Michael and Hirsch Vineyard, both renowned Sonoma producers
• The vineyard soils are sandstone that was an inland sea's ocean floor
• The winery grows 15 clones of Pinot Noir, blending juice from 5-6 clones in each of four unique bottlings
• Unlike other western Sonoma Coast vineyards, the site sits below the fog inversion layer (not above the fogline), at around 800 feet; this mean the grapes take even longer to ripen, producing nuanced flavors
• While the Peays were among the first (along with Jess Jackson) to discover the region's potential for wine grapes, there are now 15 other vineyards in Annapolis
• In 2009, wine critic Jon Bonné (then writing for the San Francisco Chronicle) selected Peay as the "Winery of the Year"
• New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov says, "Peay Vineyards is making wines of rare intensity and precision"
Organic vineyard case production
4,000 (out of 5,000)
Vineyards, 2017, CCOF
Certified Organic Grapes
• Chardonnay (2)
• Pinot Noir (4)
• Syrah (2)
The wines are available to purchase online.
The best way to connect and taste the wines is at one of the winery's many events.
227 Treadway Dr.
Cloverdale, CA 95425
Telephone: The winery does not share its phone number; email is preferred.
• Source grapes from its 22 acres of biodynamic vineyards in Occidental in western Sonoma County, as well as from growers in the Sonoma Coast and Anderson Valley regions, including two certified organic vineyards (one of which is also biodynamic)
• The winery is located in an industrial building in Sebastopol
Best known for
• Celebrated, artisanal producer making small lots of superb wines; its main focus is on Pinot Noir and Syrah
• Makes 7 wines from certified or in transition vines ($64-75, 90-96 pts.)
• Proprietor Eric Sussman founded the winery in 2002, working in a minimal intervention winemaking style from the start; he began by purchasing grapes from choice sites
• Before launching Radio-Coteau he worked in Burgundy at Domaine Comte Armand in Pommard and Domaine Jacques Prieur in Meursault
• Sussman acquired an estate vineyard on a farm in Occidental in 2016, releasing his first estate wines in 2019
• A section of the Occidental holdings is a Zinfandel block planted in 1942; historian believe the Lemorel site (named Morelli) was originally planted as early as 1892
• The label has an adoring following among the wine cognoscenti
• As David White, of the Terroirist, put it, the wines are "fresh, elegant and pure and have a powerful sense of place"; wine expert Karen McNeil, author of The Wine Bible, calls Radio-Coteau "one of the best Pinot producers in California"
• Its Terra Neuma Pinot Noir was also singled out by Slow Wine Guide 2019 as a "Great Wine"; it also received a Snail designation from Slow Wine, the international organization's top honor for regenerative agriculture and wine quality
• In 2019, Radio-Coteau was selected as a Wine & Spirits Top 100 Winery for the third time
Organic or biodynamic vineyard case production
660 (out of 3,500 total)
• Vineyards (estate), biodynamic, 2018, Demeter USA
• Winery, organic, 2008-2018, Stellar Certification Services; biodynamic, 2008 through present, Demeter USA
• Dierke Vineyard, organic, 2005, CCOF
• Terra Neuma, organic, 2008, CCOF; biodynamic, 2008, Demeter USA
In Transition Biodynamic Grapes
• Chardonnay-Estate-Sea Bed
• Pinot Noir-Estate
• Red Blend-Board and Batten
Certified Wine: Biodynamic Wine
• Pinot Noir-Terra Neuma
Certified Organic Grapes
• Pinot Noir-Dierke Vineyard
• Syrah-Dusty Lane
The intense 2017 SeaBed Estate Chardonnay (140 cases, $70), the first from the estate, offers energetic lemon notes, surrounding a core of bright acidity.
The beautifully textured 2016 Belay Estate Pinot Noir, (135 cases, $70) another inaugural estate vintage, is gorgeous from start to finish, offering up luscious aromas, followed by cherries on the palate and finish.
The 2016 Lemorel Estate Zinfandel (191 cases, $54), filled with red berries and cherries, pays homage to the old school, dry farmed, head trained vines planted in 1946.