Rodney Strong, Dracaena Wines
photo credit: Amy Lieberfarb #sonomachat

It’s a Wednesday night. Some people call it “Hump Day”, in Finland and Sweden it is called “Little Saturday” [don’t ask me why] but for most people reading this post, it is better known as “WineWednesday!” And what do we do on “WineWednesday” other than drink wine? We sit down at our computers, or on our phones/ipads and start tweeting away on #Sonomachat.

If you are unfamiliar with #SonomaChat, here is a very brief description from its founder Amy Lieberfarb. 

Is it simply an online community that loves and chats about Sonoma County wine & food OR…
Is there more to it?!?

Simple Answer: Yes.

There is more. The hashtag #SonomaChat was started with just one tweet paired with much enthusiasm by founder: Amy Lieberfarb and her audience of winelovers.

#SonomaChat happens every Wednesday from 5-6:00 pm Pacific Time on @SonomaChat

They highlight a new theme each week with a 9 question format of interactive fun.  There is a new question posted to twitter every 10 minutes starting at 5:00pmPST. The Sonomachat is the perfect way for wine & food brands to connect with their fans online and have a conversation.

And… SonomaChat is ALSO… a Soon to Launch Childhood Literacy Non-Profit in Sonoma County. One thing that Amy Lieberfarb is MORE passionate about than wine…. is her children.

After noticing a real need in her community for a better public school library system… she decided that she is not the type of woman to sit idly by.

All you need to do to follow along is sign into twitter and follow along with the hashtag #SonomaChat.  It is a fast and furious pace, and so much fun, you will have an easier time if you use a social media dashboard application like TweetDeck.

This past Wednesday night (April 27, 2016), SonomaChat Dracaena Winesfeatured Rodney Strong Vineyards and I was lucky enough to receive some samples to taste along with while the discussion. I’m pretty sure everyone has heard of Rodney Strong but did you know that they were named American Winery of the Year in 2013 by Wine Enthusiast, an honor that recognized Rodney Strong’s commitment to quality, luxury and Sonoma County.

Their story begins over 55 years ago when an American dancer named Rod Strong came to Sonoma to pursue his second passion of winemaking. Rodney Strong was only the 13th winery bonded in Sonoma [in 2012 there were 682]. Rodney Strong Vineyards has become synonymous with critically acclaimed Single Vineyard and Reserve wines, stand out Estate releases and best-in-class Sonoma County varietal wines. Their story is told in their own words in this very short video. 

Rodney Strong is located in Healdsburg, CA [11455 Old Redwood Highway]. The winery and tasting room has beautiful views of the vineyards and the Russian River Valley.  In addition to their guided winery tours daily at 11:00am and 2:00pm, you can always partake in a

Rodney Strong, Dracaena Wines
photo credit:

complimentary self guided winery tour daily 10:00am to 5:00pm. After you have learned all about Rodney Strong’s history and their viticulture practices be sure to sign up for either their Food & Wine Pairing Experience or their Wine Flights on the Terrace

Dracaena Wines2013 Rodney Strong Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP: $20)

Pours garnet in color. ON THE NOSE: leather, tobacco, dark fruit, cassis and olive. ON THE PALATE: Cherry, plum, olive and dust. Medium bodied long finish. Nice tannic structure. Well balanced. We ended up choosing this wine to open for the night and paired it with pizza. The wine disappeared at an extremely quick pace. We were disappointed when the last drip was poured. [and yes, we let the bottle hang upside down to get that last drop!]

2013 was the kind of growing season that most would wish we could have every year: a dry, frost-free spring, a warm summer without heat spikes, and a warm rain free autumn that allowed for picking the grapes perfectly mature. Warm days with cool evenings prevailed in September which kept sugar accumulation at an even pace and allowed acidity to remain in the fruit. We harvested the Cabernet Sauvignon to make this wine in September and October under ideal conditions.

Dracaena Wines2013 Rodney Strong Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (SRP: $25)

Pours Ruby in color. ON THE NOSE: cinnamon, cranberry and cherry. ON THE PALATE: Cherry, earth and a hint of heat. Light bodied medium finish. Smooth and well balanced. We chose to open the bottle with pulled pork sandwiches and once again, it was good to the very last drop. It won a Double Gold Medal in the Denver International Wine Competition.

This wine was aged for 13 months in small French oak barrels, which added a hint of toasty vanilla and spice complexity. Enjoy this Pinot Noir now with a roasted chicken with a red wine butter reduction sauce, roasted pork loin or wild mushrooms over polenta or cellar it for enjoyment for the next two to four years. 

Dracaena Wines2014 Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay (SRP: $22)

Poured yellow in color. ON THE NOSE: vanilla, apples and a hint of pear and butter. ON THE PALATE: pear and apple. Medium body and finish.Although we agree with their recommendations of pairing this wine with soft cheeses, fresh crab or roasted pork loin, we enjoyed it all on its own. We opened this wine as a welcoming sip to our dinner guests.

A mild, dry winter encouraged early bud break in Sonoma County in 2014. The growing season was very warm overall, but tempered by some overcast days in late July and late August plus a heavy drizzle in early September. Our Chalk Hill Chardonnay was harvested August 20 through September 15 under ideal conditions.

From the beginning, Rodney Strong understood that the potential for wine in Sonoma County was exceptional due to the varying soil and climate. Their wines are unique depending on where the fruit is from within the county. Contained in this one region there is great variation: cool, moderate, and warm climates. Soil characteristics are key when planting a vineyard and they go as far as taking plate tectonic movement into consideration when deciding which variety to grow. And what I love, is that they are committed to doing everything they can to preserve the Earth for generations to come! They are carbon neutral, practice soil & water conservation, social equality, and wildlife protection. Making phenomenal wines, while giving back to the earth is a double win in my book! So if you are in Sonoma, listen to me and don’t miss your chance to sample some amazing wines at an equally amazing site [The Terrace is opening up today!] 

Enjoy the slideshow below and see what you will be missing if you don’t visit! [photos credit: Amy Lieberfarb]
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