Sustainably Farmed Vineyard   Gustafson Vineyards  Estate Wines Like No Other

Our Story

Gustafson Family Vineyards, the highest elevation winery in Dry Creek Valley, enjoys commanding, panoramic views of Lake Sonoma, Dry Creek Valley, and the Mayacamas Mountains, a distance of thirty miles to the east.

The 247 acre estate is home to twenty acres of noble vines, an olive orchard comprised of four Tuscan varieties, with the balance of the estate an ecologic preserve filled with porcini and chanterelle mushrooms, deer, wild boar, and other wild life.

The lean volcanic soils regulate growth and add complexity to the wines. Grapes grown at such high elevations produce wines of elegant and subtle character.

The vineyard is "our soul" and the winery is "our heart". Vines are tended by hand, gently nurtured from bud break in the spring to harvest in the fall, under the direction of Vineyard Manager and Winemaker, Emmett Reed.

Harvested in the cool morning air, fruit is gently processed, and fermented in small lots with manual punch downs to develop soft tannins and rich flavor profiles.

All red wines are aged from 15 to 24 months in French & American oak and bottled at the winery.

Our dedicated hospitality team is knowledgeable in all phases of the vineyard and winemaking process, a benefit which is shared in our tasting room and with our wine club members. Our tasting rooms – at the Estate and in Healdsburg offer an ideal environment for wine enthusiasts to sample from ten wines and to enjoy our wine and food pairing.

And don't miss our estate grown olive oil.

  Scroll down to view our milestones.

Lifelong Vision

Gustafson Story   2002

Dan Gustasfon, a landscape architect and real estate developer based in Minneapolis, had a lifelong dream of developing an estate vineyard. He had studied California's Sea Ranch as young landscape architect, and during his time there, had developed a natural affinity for the rugged mountains of western Sonoma County.

Dream Realized

Gustafson Story

In the spring of 2002, Dan discovered an undeveloped 87-acre parcel along Skaggs Springs Rd. Dan peered over the fence, and explained to his family that this would be a perfect place to grow grapes. Dan saw his dream come true that year with the purchase of those 87 acres in Dry Creek Valley. The old sheep ranch, at 1800 feet above sea level, has rich, red volcanic soil known for producing superb wine grapes.

Vineyard Planting

Gustafson Story   2004

The land had previously been cleared to pasture sheep, and in the spring of 2004, Dan planted 5 acres of vines within those existing clearings. The first five acres included Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and a small olive grove. Dan oversaw the vineyard planting from a vintage Airstream situated near the iconic Heritage Tree.

Stewards of the Land

Gustafson Story   2004

Great care was taken to preserve old groves of madrone, oak, and redwood trees, including the "Sonoma County Heritage Tree." This 300-year-old madrone has a trunk diameter of eleven feet and is thought to be the largest madrone tree in Sonoma County, and perhaps the entire state of California.

Estate Expansion

Gustafson Story   2005

Construction began on the estate residence, which was designed by architect Tim Bjella and built by general contractor Grant Lane. A second round of planting added 7 acres to the estate vineyard, including Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot.

First Harvest

land   2006

The Gustafson Family enjoyed their first harvest of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah from the young estate vineyard, and the grapes were custom crushed at Mauritson winery. Dan also expanded the mountain estate with the purchase of an adjacent 160 acre parcel, which included a ranch home for our future winemaker.

Winemaker Emmett Reed

land   2007

Winemaker Emmett Reed was hired in the summer of 2007 in preparation for the first estate crush. Winery tanks and equipment were installed just weeks before the harvest and the barrel cellar was constructed underneath the estate residence.

First Estate Harvest

Gustafson Story   2007

The young estate vineyard yielded a beautiful 32-ton harvest of Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Owner Dan Gustafson doubled as Winemaker Emmett Reed's "cellar intern." All of the 2007 vintages went on to score 90+ points in the Wine Enthusiast.

Final Estate Plantings

Gustafson Story   2008

An additional 12 acres were added to the estate vineyard, including Zinfandel on our beautiful Picnic Ridge and Riesling & Sauvignon Blanc in the remote Summit View Block. Vineyard plantings are now complete at 20 acres; varietals of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Rosé of Syrah.

Ecological Preserve

Gustafson Story

The balance of the land will remain as an ecological preserve. The 200+ acre preserve is characterized by old growth madrone and manzanita, several of California's native oak species, and isolated strands of redwoods. The preserve is home to many of California's wild and beautiful creatures, including bobcats, rattlesnakes, wild turkeys, red-tailed hawks, and wild boar.

Winery Dog

Winery Dog   2008

Construction on the estate home neared completion, and Emmett produced the first vintage of our famously delicious Estate Rosé of Syrah. Emmett and his wife Jessi also adopted Rampage, the world's best winery dog, from a local shelter.

Tasting Room

Gustafson Story   2009

The original Estate Tasting Room opened just weeks before Passport to Dry Creek Valley, in a cozy converted garage that doubled as our winery storage facility. The proximity to the winery allowed our guests a behind-the-scenes look at the estate winemaking process.

First Big Break

Gustafson Story 2010

The 2007 Estate Petite Sirah & 2007 Estate Zinfandel were awarded 92 points in the Wine Enthusiast, and the 2007 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon earned a fantastic 90 points. Our Summit View block produced its first harvest of Estate Sauvignon Blanc and Estate Riesling, and the 2010 Estate Riesling won a double gold in the International Eastern Wine Competition.

Vineyard Replanting

Gustafson Story   2011

A small slide on the lower slopes of our Picnic Ridge block was replanted from Zinfandel to Syrah. The new Syrah planting, which is characterized by cool temperatures and afternoon shade, is dedicated to the production of our popular Estate Rosé of Syrah. The additional planting takes our Rosé production from a mere 100 cases in 2008 to almost 300 cases by 2013.

Developing a Reputation for Excellence

Gustafson Story 2012

Our estate tasting room steadily developed a reputation for excellent wines, beautiful views, and friendly hospitality. Additional tasting hours by appointment were added for Friday - Monday, and the Picnic Area became a year-round attraction for Wine Club Members and their guests.

Estate Vacation Rental

Estate Home   2012

The estate residence opened to the public as a vacation rental, offering our guests world-class luxury and a behind the scenes look at our estate vineyard and winery. The popular estate residence is now available year-round via VRBO.

New Faces

Gustafson Story 2013

The Estate Tasting Room expanded into its current location in late 2013, and Sharon Garber joined our hospitality team to welcome the increasing weekend traffic. Vanessa Ramirez joined our production team as Emmett's harvest intern, and her knack for hospitality made her a natural fit for our Tasting Room as well. Both have moved on to new ventures as of 2016.

Hospitality Milestones

Estate Home   2013

Gustafson welcomed 900+ guests during the annual WDCV Passport Weekend, up from 300 guests in 2009. Guests left the event with rave reviews and cases of our estate wines.

Healdsburg Tasting Room

Estate Tasting Room 2014

Dan Gustafson opened the new downtown Healdsburg tasting room at 34 North St. The new location presents our estate wines in a cosmopolitan setting, and features a private VIP tasting room. Come by and check it out if you haven't already!

Another New Face

Gustafson Story   2015

In the fall of 2015 Tara Albertson joined the Gustafson team to work full-time in the downtown tasting room. Her previous tasting room experience, working at other Sonoma county wineries, was perfect to assist with the increasing amount of traffic coming into the Healdsburg tasting room. Tara also began working on Gustafson's new food & wine pairing experience to be released in the following year.

Food & Wine Pairing Experience with SHED

Estate Tasting Room 2016

Gustafson began offering our Food & Wine pairing experience! Partnered with the Healdsburg SHED, directly across the street from the downtown tasting room, this experience includes a flight of 5 estate wines paired with different cheeses and charcuterie. This experience is available at either tasting room location with at least a 24 hour notice and is discounted for wine club members!

New Team Member

Gustafson Story   2016

Steve Spinella joins the Gustafson team to assist Vanessa at the Estate tasting room during the busy harvest season. Towards the end of 2016, Steve is promoted to a full time employee, filling in for Vanessa after she makes the move to Bend, Oregon with her boyfriend in November of 2016.

Another New Face

Another New Face 2017

The Gustafson team grows a bit more in February of 2017 when Sierra Downey joins the staff. Sierra was hired to work full-time in the Healdsburg tasting room, to assist Tara with customers, and to take on the task of social media for the winery.

New Tour, Tasting, & Lunch Experience at our Estate

Things to Come   2017

Official launch of the Tour, Tasting, & Lunch experience at our Estate Tasting room in Geyserville! Let one of our wine educators take you on a guided tour of our Dry Creek Mountain vineyards and winery while tasting through a flight of our estate wines! The experience will conclude with a glass of your favorite Gustafson wine and boxed lunch provided by our friends at Healdsburg SHED as you enjoy our panoramic view of Lake Sonoma and the Dry Creek Valley below.

*Offered by appointment ONLY, Fridays – Mondays at 11 a.m. at our Dry Creek Valley Estate

Exciting Things to Come

Things to Come   2018

Please stay tuned for new and exciting things to come from the Gustafson Family Vineyards team in 2018!