Sonoma County region
A true balance between vineyard and nature, Balverne Wines is dedicated to sustainable farming practices, preserving the environment, and crafting world-class wines of quality and character.
Established in 2012 by Bob and Renée Stein, Balverne Wines offers estate-grown, sustainably-farmed wines from the northeastern corner of Sonoma County. The Steins' expansive 710-acre estate is uniquely located within both the Chalk Hill and Russian River Valley appellations, offering a wide diversity of terroir and microclimates that appeal to several grape varieties. From the unique volcanic soils and warmer 700' elevations of Chalk Hill, to the renowned cool-climate pockets of the Russian River Valley, the Steins' vineyards are planted to Bordeaux, Rhône, and Burgundian varietals - all of which thrive on the property. The Steins have made it their mission to honor this special setting by crafting a small collection of wines of premium quality and distinctive character.
Balverne Wines may have been founded in 2012, but the grape growing history of the estate goes back much further than that - to the 1800's! The land was originally part of the Rancho Sotoyome land grant of 1841 and was acquired by Antonio Perelli-Minetti, who was the first to plant grapes on the property. In the 1920's, the estate was used as a summer residence and extensive stonework from the gardens can still be seen there today. The ownership changed hands yet again in 1972 to John Kongsgaard and Doug Nalle, who began producing wines under the famous Balverne Cellars label. Their wines became very well known and were poured in the finest restaurants across the country, including the White House.
In 1992, the property was purchased by the current owners, Bob and Renée Stein, who dreamed of creating a sustainably-focused estate that embraced the premium vineyards, rugged wildlands, and native wildlife of the region. For the first few years, the couple continued to sell the vineyard fruit to well-known Napa and Sonoma wineries as they worked tirelessly on their vision. They ultimately decided to preserve 350 acres of oak woodlands as 'Forever Wild' space, allowing both the wildlife and agricultural landscape to thrive on the property.
Winemaking finally resumed on the property in 2005, originally under the 'Windsor Oaks Winery' brand, and in 2012, Bob and Renee Stein added the Balverne Wines tier to honor the legacy of their estate. The Windsor Oaks label eventually transformed into 'Notre Vue Estate Winery' in 2017, which the property is called today.
The winemaker for Balverne Wines and Notre Vue is Alex Holman, an industry veteran with years of US Army and chemistry experience. Holman is a San Francisco native who has spent his entire winemaking career working with family-owned wineries. Most recently at Rack and Riddle, Holman has also made wine for Keller Estate, J. Rickards, Dry Creek Vineyard, and Paul Hobbs. Having worked in every sub-AVA in Sonoma County, Holman feels the diversity of Notre Vue Estate's terroir and grape varieties is second to none. He is very passionate about crafting wines from this extraordinary estate.
Today, the Stein family's estate's two labels, Balverne and Notre Vue, are overseen by Bob and Renée's son, Jared Stein. Bob sadly passed away in March of 2021, but his legacy continues with a strong commitment to the environment and a desire to craft the best wines possible.
The winery offers two unique tasting experiences for visitors, including a Lakeside Pavilion in the Russian River Valley and a Terrace setting, perched high above the Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards in Chalk Hill. We are pleased to present the latest Balverne Pinot Noir offering to our Pinot Noir Wine Club members and hope you enjoy. Cheers!