The tasting room for Auteur Wines is located in a charming bungalow just off of the historic Sonoma Plaza in downtown Sonoma. The winery was founded in 2003 by Kenneth Juhasz and his wife Laura, with a focus on wonderful expressions of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Auteur strives to create pure, profound and authentic wines and has earned a solid reputation for producing amazing wines. The Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs have earned many well-deserved accolades over the years.
Auteur Wines – The Story
The winery’s name Auteur (pronounced “oh-tour”) is taken from the French, meaning composer or author. This reflects the winery’s philosophy to be independent to explore the diversity of vineyards, push boundaries and collaborate to produce wines which tell their story of time and place.
Kenneth originally found his passion for wine while working in restaurants and wine shops during college. After graduating, he started his wine career in Oregon and eventually spent time in Napa and New Zealand before planting roots in Sonoma. Along the way, he has been the winemaker or consulted for Donum Estate, Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery, Pali Wine Co., Blue Farm, Dunstan Wines and Tuck Beckstoffer Wines. Kenneth was especially inspired by the wines of Burgundy, and his winemaking values the traditions of the old world while integrating the freshness and vitality of the new world.
Laura grew up in rural Wisconsin, and after college moved to Oregon for her first job. There, she met Kenneth at an Irish Pub in Portland. They immediately connected and after a few moves and ventures they ended up in Sonoma. As co-owner and COO of the winery, Laura manages the daily operations. Over time, Kenneth and Laura have grown Auteur Wines from a first vintage production of 75 cases to a winery currently producing about 2000 cases of wine per year.
Auteur Wines – The Wines
Auteur Wines produces Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and a Rosé of Pinot Noir. The current lineup includes wines made from fruit sourced from a variety of appellations including Los Carneros, Anderson Valley, Sonoma Coast and the Willamette Valley. Specific vineyard sources include Gaps Crown, Labyrinth, Manchester Ridge, Savoy, Roberts Road, Green Acres, Durell, Hyde and Shea Vineyards. Each wine is crafted to showcase the uniqueness of each of the vineyard sources and the case production of each wine is very small, usually between 100 and 150 cases.
Generally speaking, the wines of Auteur Wines are made from cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and are made in a style which highlights the refreshing brightness and minerality that cool-climate fruit can provide. The wines are elegant with nice structure and acidity. The Chardonnays are crisp and fresh, and the Pinot Noirs range from more restrained to more round and full; all are well balanced with wonderful minerality and savory notes. The Rosé showcases bright red fruits and enticing aromatics.
To give you a better sense of the structure and characteristics of wines produced by Auteur Wines we’ll highlight a few here. The Green Acres Chardonnay (2014) shows amazing aromatics which include tropical melon, nutmeg and blood orange, with a broad palate of brioche, apricots and lemon curd, all supported by nice minerality and acidity. The Durell Chardonnay (2014) features savory aromatics of hazelnuts, honeysuckle and white peach, all wrapped around a wonderful freshness at its core. The Manchester Ridge Pinot Noir (2013) displays a core focus of black cherry and blackberry rounded out with bright red fruits, along with expressive elements on the palate which highlight savory components like cardamom and tea, with ample tannins and a long finish. The Savoy Pinot Noir (2013) exhibits vibrant plum notes with anise and black peppercorn accents and blueberry and black fruits on the palate with nice earthy elements and rich tannins.
We have enjoyed Auteur Wines for some time now, and always appreciate opportunities to visit the tasting room and more fully explore their portfolio of wines. In our opinion, the entire wine catalog is exceptional. We encourage you to seek out and purchase their wines, and we also suggest you lay some bottles down. That way, you can discover for yourself the wonderful nuances a little cellar time will produce in these delicious wines.
Auteur Wines – The Tasting Experience
Auteur Wines hosts tastings by appointment only, between 10:30 am and 3:30 pm daily. The environment is comfortable, intimate and friendly. The quaint bungalow is very welcoming and makes you feel like you’re in a friend’s home. You may end up enjoying your tasting in an oversized leather chair, or sitting around a large dining table. All tasting experiences are seated and last about one and half hours, depending on the size of the group.
The cost for the tasting experience is $35 per person, but the fee is waived with wine club membership or a minimum purchase. The customer service experience is warm, welcoming and informative.
Location and Contact Information
Auteur Wines is located at 373 First Street West in Sonoma. The winery’s tasting room is conveniently located just a ½ block North of the Sonoma Plaza. The drive there is about 75 minutes from San Francisco, 45 minutes from Santa Rosa, or 25 minutes from Napa. You can contact the winery at (707) 938-9211 (call or text) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Auteur Wines – Nearby
If you plan to visit Auteur Wines, we also recommend that you seek out other wineries in the area such as Sojourn Cellars, Three Sticks Wines, Hawkes Wine, and Gundlach Bundschu. Nearby restaurants we particularly enjoy include Cafe La Haye, Cochon Volant BBQ Smoke House, El Dorado Kitchen, El Molino Central, The Girl & the Fig, LaSalette, and Oso Sonoma. Or, you can follow the drop-down menus above to see our Favorites by Wine Region for additional suggestions in Sonoma Valley or in the other appellations in Sonoma County. You’ll also find our favorites for other wine country travel destinations in Napa, Santa Barbara, Monterey and more.
We, the Two Guys From Napa, highly recommend that you plan a visit to Auteur Wines to enjoy another wonderful tasting experience in the Sonoma Valley. Cheers!