Simplicity. Substance. Heritage.
Beltane Ranch’s estate wines reflect the qualities that for centuries have distinguished this historic working ranch in the heart of Sonoma Valley’s fabled wine country.Its award-winning Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel grapes are grown in the same rocky, red soil that has hosted a robust mix of legendary inhabitants over the years. Wappo Indians and Spanish gentry were its first residents, followed by winemaking pioneers and the daughter of slaves, Mary Ellen Pleasant, whose New Orleans style Victorian house has become the ranch’s trademark.
In the early 1900s, vacationers rode the train to Beltane Station, locals staged dances in the barn and horses raced on a track in the front pasture. Since 1936, the Wood family has operated Beltane as a working ranch, adding grass-fed beef and produce gardens, olive and fruit orchards that supply their casually elegant bed and breakfast inn.Beltane’s valley floor vineyards have an exceptional pedigree, with soils first planted in the 1870s with French cuttings imported by pioneer viticulturist John H. Drummond. In more recent times the vineyards have supplied award-winning grapes to wineries including Duckhorn Vineyards and Cakebread Cellars. In 2009 the family reserved 7½ tons of fruit for their first vintage.“It’s a magical piece of ground,” says winemaker Kevin Holt, who helped select the vines for Beltane Ranch’s first private label wine, a Sauvignon Blanc. He chose those on a rugged knoll overlooking the heart of the valley that face west to absorb the cool morning fog and the hot afternoon sun. The vineyard’s slightly higher elevation and harsher soils add complexity to the fruit, creating what Holt describes as “intensely flavored wine that opens into rich, bright aromas with hints of ripe honeydew melon, pear, fig, white peaches, passion fruit and a little spice from the new barrels." They come by those flavors honestly.
Adjacent orchards support more than 50 varieties of heirloom citrus, stone fruit, apple, fig, pear, persimmon and pomegranate trees. They also share the ranch with ancient oaks, grassland pastures, olive orchards, horses, cattle, centuries-old stone walls and the 1892 house with wrap-around porches that still stands sentinel over Sonoma Valley.Rosemary Wood’s family acquired the 1,600-acre Beltane Ranch to raise turkeys, sheep and cattle. In 1970, Rosemary opened the Victorian ranch house as a bed and breakfast inn.
Rosemary’s daughter Alexa now oversees the ranch with help from her children, Alex Benward and Lauren Benward Krause. Beltane Ranch produces less than 1,000 cases annually of Estate Sauvignon Blanc and Estate Field Blend Zinfandal. The property is currently only open for private events and bed & breakfast guests. More information is available at www.beltaneranchwine.com.