We sat around a long table sampling wine yesterday at Loxton Cellars. It’s harvest time here in Sonoma and we are surrounded by Chris Loxton, winemaker and owner, as well as his lovely knowledgeable staff. Loxton is a 4th generation grape grower who originally hails from Australia. His family vineyard is in the Riverland of South Australia, which was first planted in the 1890’s. Chris is a brilliant man – he has a PhD in physics, but ultimately returned to his greatest passion: wine making. His career brought him to California where he has made his home in order to create Loxton Cellars. Residing in the heart of Sonoma Valley, Loxton’s winery is 5 acres of Estate vineyard, which comprises about 40% of his production. The remaining fruit is sourced from other Sonoma Valley vineyards where Loxton is actively involved in farming, some of which are just a stone’s throw away. His handcrafted wines have an emphasis on simplicity, are made without fining agents (making them vegan friendly) and also made without yeast whenever possible.
The winery’s mission is to avoid problems rather than fix them – like the old adage, they believe in “doing it right the first time around.” Loxton Cellars is known for its extremely clean facility and exceptional hands-on approach to wine making. At harvest time, Chris himself is on a ladder hand-sorting the grapes, walking the vineyards and carefully looking at his vines, the soil, and the leaves. He described to me how he is able to know when certain rows need a little more water simply based on the angle of the leaves at a specific time of day, and when the frost alarms go off at 4:00 in the morning, he carefully decides if the vineyards need the misting system or not. Will the sun be up soon? Will the water evaporate in time to avoid creating too much moisture on the grapes? The decisions that go into each and every varietal and row of his vines are thoughtfully decided by him. He personally tends to each and every aspect of his estate grapes and the wine making process.
Jokingly, he said, “Never trust a winemaker without a tan! You need to be out on the ground in your vineyard to really know what’s happening with your grapes.” His laid back demeanor sets a tone of calm confidence around the winery as a whole. But make no mistake, he is in constant motion, always overseeing every aspect. He even personally helps shovel every bin of grapes! Loxton and his team believe “it’s not really work when you’re doing something you love.” This sentiment reverberates throughout the whole facility, because everyone at Loxton Cellars truly seems to love their job – they are passionately knowledgeable and refreshingly calm and content during their day to day workings around the winery. When you visit the winery, you can feel the passion and joy of each person working there. I highly recommend all visitors take advantage of the “walkabout tour” so you can really see the incredible details and beauty of this Estate Vineyard.
Woodfield Properties aspires to showcase the beauty of small Estate Vineyards like Loxton to our guests. As you know, there are many fantastic, large-scale vineyards all throughout Sonoma Valley as well (and we want you to see those too!) but we also want you to experience the magic of the smaller, handcrafted wines that you can’t get in your local grocery store at home. Our wish for you is to make the most of your stay in Sonoma Valley, and to make it as unique of an experience as possible – branch out a little and taste something extraordinary that you can only find in this part of the Sonoma Valley. At your next dinner party, you and your guests can enjoy wines from a place where you actually walked the vines with the winemaker himself and understand the reasons for the particular notes in the wine you’re drinking. This is truly a beautiful experience to add to your wine country vacation. At Woodfield Properties, when you stay in one of our vacation rental properties, you will receive a bottle of Loxton wine as well as complimentary tastings at the vineyard. We also offer a “wine club member for a day” pass where you’ll receive a discount on the tours and special wine sales – it’s an experience you don’t want to miss out on – especially now, during Harvest time, where you can watch the whole process unfold. It is an extraordinary experience that takes place in front of the vineyard for all to see. So come join us! Stay in one our beautiful homes and visit Chris and the team at Loxton Cellars for a wine country experience you will never forget.