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Gold Medal Wine Club
5330 Debbie Road, Suite 200
Santa Barbara, California 93111
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Sojourn Cellars - Sonoma County

Pinot Noir that showcases the character and personality of various individual vineyards.

After the infamous dot-com crash of 2000, many in the high tech world were left scrambling. Amidst the bust, however, came a very unexpected success story that’s the basis for this month’s Pinot Noir Series selection, Sojourn Cellars. Ex-computer software salesman Craig Haserot decided to move to Sonoma County after the crash, hoping to pursue a new career path while escaping the cold weather of San Francisco.

Haserot began playing tennis at the local Maxwell Farms Regional Park and struck up a friendship with doubles partner, Erich Bradley, who was then the winemaker at Arrowood Winery and Audellsa (both in Sonoma). Bradley specialized in producing Cabernet Sauvignon from select local vineyards. Haserot and Bradley bonded over their passion for Pinot Noir, and began playing with the idea of making their own wine. Haserot had the background in sales and marketing, while Bradley was happy just making wine – without all the business details. It was the beginning of a wonderfully successful friendship and business partnership. In 2001, the two made 150 cases of project Cabernet from Sonoma’s Glen Ellen vineyard – and the finished product was better than they ever could have anticipated.

“When we released the Cab, it was actually really good and we realized there was potential with our wines,” Haserot explained. “The following year, we upped the Cab production to 250 cases and then to 350 cases in 2004.”With Bradley’s experience in making Sonoma Cabs, it was only natural that Cabernet Sauvignon would be the first endeavor for Sojourn Cellars, but it wasn’t long before their love for Pinot Noir lead to new experimentation. “Our real passion was always Pinot, so in 2004 we decided to make 210 cases of Sangiacomo Vineyard Pinot Noir,” Haserot stated.

This first Pinot release took home 95 and 92-point ratings and really set the stage for the caliber of wines produced thereafter. What Haserot and Bradley didn’t anticipate was the reaction 2004’s Sideways movie would have on the California Pinot Noir industry. “Our sales literally took off!” Haserot enthused. The two increased their Pinot production tenfold and what started out as an avid hobby had become an incredibly successful business move.

When Haserot and Bradley brainstormed names for their budding winery, a friend aptly suggested Sojourn, which actually has two significant meanings: the French sojourner refers to a journey, vacation or road trip, while the English sojourn implies rest, relax and respite.

“That’s how we came up with the lawn chair,” Haserot explains about the wine label’s simplistic depiction. “People really like it, too! It’s how drinking a glass of wine should be.” Sojourn Cellars’ celebrated Tasting Salon concept in downtown Sonoma further promotes the winery’s appealing philosophy with a living room-type setting of cozy furniture and a dining room table (no tasting bar). Both Haserot and Bradley join guests for private 45-minute seated sessions to taste their limited production, highly rated wines – with no tasting fees.

“It’s a part of what we do,” Haserot explains. “We’re like, ‘Come on into our house! Sit down, relax…enjoy yourself. If you want to buy something, that’s great. If not, that’s OK too.’” The tasting salon is certainly unique in its personal approach to winetasting, and the customers seem to be enjoying themselves as well.

At a current production level of 5,000 cases, Haserot is comfortable with the size of Sojourn Cellars and would like to only slightly increase the production size in the coming years.

Sojourn does not own its own vineyards, which gives them the flexibility to select fruit from some of the most celebrated vineyards in Sonoma and Napa Counties. By helping direct farming operations, the Sojourn team can assure that their grapes are produced using world-class growing techniques.

Sojourn Cellars’ most recent portfolio includes 7 Pinot Noirs, 3 Cabernets and 1 Chardonnay from some of Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino County’s most highly coveted and desirable vineyards.

  1. Sojourn
    2010 Pinot Noir
    Sangiacomo Vineyard


    95 - The Pinot Report
    id: 1179
    Pinot Noir

Erich Bradley

Co-founder and winemaker for Sojourn Cellars, Erich Bradley has been making wines in Sonoma County since 2000. His focus on meticulous farming methods and minimalist winemaking has made him into the exceptional winemaker he is today with more 90+ rated wines than most winemakers can dream of.
A native of Palo Alto, California, Bradley first became interested in wine when his family bought a twenty-six acre ranch in Sonoma County’s Valley of the Moon in 1998. Bradley helped his family develop a small vineyard there while studying winemaking at U.C. Davis and viticulture at Santa Rosa Junior College. In 1999, he started as a harvest lab technician at Arrowood Vineyards and Winery - a position that eventually lead to a full time winemaking position - and in 2003, Bradley became winemaker for Audelssa Estate Winery. He continues to hold that position to this day.

With Sojourn Cellars, Erich Bradley’s passion for Pinot Noirs has truly come alive as he explores various regions of Sonoma County and crafts some of the best Pinots this state has ever seen!

About The Region

Situated on Roberts Road at the western base of Sonoma Mountain, the Sangiacomo Vineyard is a legendary site for producing world-class Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. The vineyard was originally developed by the Sangiacomo Family in 1998, and they have since held a longstanding commitment to realizing the potential of this special site. They’ve found that several factors combine to make this an extraordinary vineyard for Pinot Noir: well-draining soils, climate, and clonal diversity. Furthermore, the Sangiacomo Vineyard is located in a pocket at the base of Sonoma Mountain where cool air and fog from the Pacific Ocean get trapped - this means longer hang time for the fruit, and more developed, riper fruit flavors. Sojourn Cellars has been sourcing fruit from Sangiacomo Vineyard since 2004 and feels very grateful to have access to such highly desirable grapes year after year. The Sangiacomo Vineyard Pinot Noir consistently garners the most critical acclaim among the Sojourn Pinot profile.

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Sauteed Mushrooms


10 boneless chicken breast halves with skin
40 small, tender oregano springs
1 Tbs. finely grated orange zest
vegetable oil, for rubbing
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 stick unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 pounds wild mushrooms,thickly sliced
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice


Light a grill. Gently loosen the skin from the chicken breasts and stuff 4 oregano sprigs and a pinch of orange zest under the skin. Smooth the skin over the filling. Rub the chicken with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over low heat, skin side down, until browned and crisp, 12 minutes. Turn and grill until just cooked through, 15 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to plates and let rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook over low heat until golden, 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring a few times, until the mushrooms release their liquid, 4 minutes. Carefully pour off the liquid; you should have 1/2 cup. Continue to cook the mushrooms, uncovered, over moderately high heat, stirring often, until richly browned, 15 minutes. Add the parsley, lemon juice and the reserved mushroom liquid and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the mushrooms over and around the chicken and serve.

Stir-Fried Five-Spice Pork with Lettuce Cups


1 Tbs. peanut oil
1 1/2 lbs. boneless pork shoulder, outer fat trimmed & 1/2-inch dice
1 small onion, 1/3-inch dice
1 carrot, thinly sliced crosswise
1 celery rib, thinly sliced on the bias
3/4 tsp. Chinese 5-spice powder
1/3 cup canned whole water chestnuts, drained & coarsely chopped
3 Tbs. chicken stock or low sodium broth
2 1/2 Tbs. hoisin sauce
8 basil leaves, torn into pieces
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. Asian sesame oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
Iceburg lettuce leaves, for serving


In a large skillet, heat the peanut oil until shimmering. Add the diced pork shoulder and stir-fry over high heat until browned and just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to a plate. Add the onion, carrot and celery to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the 5-spice powder and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the water chestnuts, stock and hoisin sauce, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the pork to the skillet and stir-fry until heated through and coated with the sauce, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil, scallions, and sesame oil; season with salt and pepper. Spoon the pork into bowls and serve with lettuce leaves for wrapping.