I’ve been going to Napa and Sonoma pretty regularly for years now. After many visits, the experiences start to blur together. I can’t remember at which wineries I tried which wines, and even the visits to the various caves and tasting rooms begin to blur together.
That is, unless, I experience something so unique that there’s really nothing quite like it.
For the weary wine tasting room traveler, Donum Estate is the perfect antidote. The Donum Estate, a winery focused on making California pinot noirs, is unlike any winery I’ve ever visited. What makes it unique is that the owner of the winery is also an art collector, and he houses many of these famous pieces right on the property.
The resulting visit is extremely special. Not only do you get to taste some fabulous wines and learn about Donum’s specific winemaking practices, you also get to visit essentially a huge outdoor modern art exhibit interspersed amongst the vineyards. It’s breathtaking and so special.
Visits to Donum Estates in Sonoma are by appointment only. The tour takes about 1.5 – 2 hours and includes a tasting of at least five wines.
The cost of the tour is $80 USD per guest, but can be waived if enough wine is purchased (I think 3 bottles, but I can’t exactly remember). We enjoyed the tasting quite a lot. They were quite generous with the wines, actually. After we started to figure out which types of wines we liked more, they actually let us try a few extra ones that fit our style.
We bought a whole case and lugged it back to Hong Kong with us!
The tasting room, which was only recently finished, is absolutely gorgeous and has stunning views of the surrounding vineyards.
They have an impressive collection, and they have won many awards.
The 1.5-2 tour includes a walking tour of the facilities (where you get to visit the various art pieces and learn a bit about the history) as well as the wine tasting.
Since the tour is private, it’s quite flexible. We decided to go for the tour of the grounds first since we weren’t sure if it would rain later (in fact, the sun came out later while we were wine tasting!).
The tour was fun, and overall I think Donum Estate is one of the coolest and most unusual winery tours I’ve been on. The art collection is massive and impressive. The tasting room is beautiful, and the wines are quite good.
Below you can see some of the art we saw. It’s not a comprehensive list, but it gives you a pretty good idea. You’ll also see how stunning the place looks when the sun comes out!
Another view of all the warriors, with Bryan as a size reference.