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Schug Carneros Estate Winery
Carneros AVA Winery in Sonoma, California
Napa Valley & Sonoma Wine Tasting Tours
Founders Walter and Gertrud Schug were literally born to make wine: both are the children of professional winemakers in Germany. Walter learned grape-growing and wine-crafting while working beside his father in the Rhine Valley.
After graduating from a prestigious German wine school, he moved to California, holding various wine industry jobs before returning home to marry Gertrud in 1961.
Back in California, Schug became the first winemaker for Joseph Phelps in 1973. There, among many significant accomplishments, he created California’s first-ever proprietary Bordeaux-style blend (Insignia) and the nation’s first varietal Syrah. Finally, in 1980, he established Schug Carneros.
If your own passion lies in visiting grandly glamorous wineries, you’ll probably be disappointed at Schug Carneros, which is all about the life of wine and very little about the wine lifestyle. It’s a simple, family-run winery with a small tasting room that can easily become crowded.
But this unpretentious, German-style post-and-beam winery, nestled into a hillside, offers long views of vineyards and hills and an enthusiastic staff. And if you take a tour, you’ll get to explore the 5,000-square-foot underground wine caves lined with oak barrels.
Walter Schug developed an early passion for Pinot Noir through his winemaking father. Although he made Pinot Noir for Phelps, it wasn’t until he started his own winery that he could indulge his “Pinot Passion” to his heart’s content.
Amenities: Wine Club (complimentary tours and tastings), Private tours