By Tanya Henry
Marin County is known for many things—but wine isn’t one of them. A couple of regions further north share that singular notoriety. However, there are a handful of great wines that are either made with grapes from Marin, or by winemakers who live or work here. I haven’t included them all, as some have such a small production that their wines are virtually unavailable, or they source their grapes from far-flung locales. Most of the wineries highlighted here produce rosé—and it’s a good time of year for enjoying the pink stuff!
Brooks Note Winery produces pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot blanc and rosé with grapes grown on its two West Marin Vineyards: Chileno Valley Vineyard and Azaya Ranch Vineyard. Its crisp 2016 Brooks Note rosé made from pinot noir grapes is especially delicious; brooksnotewinery.com.
Husband-and-wife team Tom and Mary Stubbs planted chardonnay and pinot noir grapes in 1996 on 600 acres just inland of Tomales Bay. Today, the couple sells their small-production, Burgundian-style wines to wine lovers via their website and winery, Stubbs Vineyard; stubbsvineyard.com.
Three types of wines, including a rosé, chardonnay and pinot noir are produced at Skywalker Vineyards. Skywalker’s rosé, though on the pricier side, is a well-balanced example of not too much fruit or floral; skywalkervineyards.com.
My personal favorite winemaker/genius and longtime Bolinas resident is Sean Thackrey. He now makes his wines in Forestville, but they are still like no other. His Pleiades XXIII Old Vine Red Blend is legendary, and his Fifi Rosé with tropical notes and bright red hue makes for summertime perfection; thackreyandcompany.com.
West of Temperance winery uses grapes that come from all over the state; however, it all started with two guys in Stinson Beach. In fact one of them worked with Thackrey for many years before he launched West of Temperance. Obscure and Rhone varietals, along with syrah and sangiovese are what this winery is all about. Production is small and mostly mail-order/online, but it’s growing; westoftemperance.com.