Wine Country Living in the Russian River Valley

Handing a 23-year-old with no wine experience a vineyard and winery in California may sound like a risky move, but for Eduardo and Ana Enriquez, it has paid off. Less than a decade after they invested in a wine business with their daughter Cecilia, she’s now successfully running Enriquez Estate Wines on Eastside Road in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County.

As a new winemaker, Cecilia sought out mentors in the winemaking world, and those relationships helped her understand the business and get it off the ground. Cecilia now handcrafts 600-700 cases of wine annually, focusing on small production and varieties unique to Russian River Valley, such as Muscat, Cabernet Franc, Tannat, and Syrah.

Her Tempranillo is especially well received — the 2013 Tempranillo Reserve was awarded a Gold Medal at the 2019 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. The 2013 Enriquez Estate Wines “Brisa” — a Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, and Chardonnay blend — was awarded a Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition in 2017.

As part of her wine adventure, Cecilia met and married Winemaker Dana Von Sternberg, who crafts small lots of cool- climate varieties from California’s northern coast for boutique label Vokel Cellars. The name Vokel represents Dana’s winemaking philosophy – the vineyard speaks for itself. In contrast to Cecilia’s Enriquez Estate Wines, Dana’s Vokel Cellars focuses on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and Vokel’s wines are only available through word of mouth.

It’s uncommon to find two winemakers married to each other but creating wine for different brands, especially when one of them represents a family-owned winery. When asked why they haven’t joined forces under one label, Cecilia replies, “We came together under different labels, and we make very different wines. We never really thought about joining forces.”

Each is committed to his/her own label and style of winemaking.

They’ve focused on complementing each other’s work while building a wine country lifestyle together in the Russian River Valley. Cecilia and Dana live and work on the Enriquez Estate property, tucked away off Eastside Road near Forestville, surrounded by vineyards and quintessentially Sonoma County. Since it was purchased in 2015, the property has been completely renovated, including a beautiful milk barn that they’ve restored into a luxury, two-bedroom rental avail- able for  those  seeking a rustic yet elegant getaway in wine country. During their stay, guests are treated to Enriquez Estate Wines and given access to massage therapists and private chefs  for a truly premiere experience.

Enriquez Estate is more than a winery and vineyard—it’s a wine country experience. Visitors to the estate can tour the beautiful 8.5-acre estate on ATVs, enjoying breathtaking vineyard views and then relaxing with a picnic lunch prepared by a private chef at the property’s lookout point. And in 2020, Enriquez Estate Wines will offer a “Brunch in the Vineyards” series highlighting local chefs.

Enriquez Estate Wines offers a wide range of experiences, including a popular wine club program that offers members unique access to wine discounts, lodging, events, and activities.




Article By: Layne Randolph