Russian River Valley AVA
Longtime Pinot Noir growers in Sonoma's standout Green Valley region, Jim and Mary O'Connor finally achieve their winemaking dreams with the start of their own small, family winery
Perhaps one of the tiniest Pinot Noir producers in the Russian River Valley, O'Connor Vineyard is the dream of Jim and Mary O'Connor, who have grown wine grapes in the southwestern end of the Valley since 1996. After years of selling their fruit to neighboring wineries, the O'Connors finally decided to produce their own wine and in 2005 began the O'Connor Vineyard winery. The winery is a dream come true for the O'Connors and with just a few hundred cases produced each year, it is still a hidden treasure within the Sonoma County wine growing region.
The O'Connor Vineyard is a small four acre vineyard located on a ridge in the heart of Green Valley, a well respected sub appellation of Sonoma's Russian River Valley AVA. Here, the property enjoys cool, foggy mornings, sunny afternoons, and cold nights - the perfect environment for growing fully developed, balanced Pinot Noir fruit.
Green Valley is actually one of the smallest appellations in Sonoma County and is very tightly delineated in terms of geography and climate, making it the most consistent of any North Coast appellation in terms of soil, climate and flavor. As a result, the wines of Green Valley certainly share a distinctive flair that sets them apart from other sub regions of Sonoma. What's also interesting to note is that Green Valley is primarily about the vineyards; while there are over one hundred growers in the area, there are only a handful of wineries.
After purchasing the Green Valley property in 1990, the O'Connors sought the expertise of renowned Sonoma winegrape grower Warren Dutton to plant the family vineyard. Dutton was a fourth generation farmer who began growing grapes in the western reaches of Russian River Valley in the mid-1960's, at a time when most people thought the area was too cool to grow fruit for premium wines. His family now runs the successful Dutton Estate and Dutton Goldfield wineries. Dutton planted the O'Connors' property to four acres of Pinot Noir (Pommard, 115 and 777 clones).
Since 2005, the O'Connors have enjoyed crafting very limited amounts of Pinot Noir, always sourced exclusively from their Green Valley estate. Their wines are often awarded prestigious medals and ratings and Wine Enthusiast has even described the winery as 'focused, site-specific winemaking at its finest.'
We are happy to feature this incredibly passionate, family-owned, under-the-radar winery to our Pinot Noir Wine Club enthusiasts. Cheers!
Each and every wine selected for our six different Wine Clubs meets our strict guidelines for quality and rating criteria. Each wine is handcrafted by an authentic, small-production boutique winery with a compelling story to tell like the one above. Since our first Gold Wine Club shipment in 1992, we have added five more impressive Wine Clubs to choose from—each a showcase for highly-rated, sought-after wines you can enjoy as a Gold Medal, wine of the month club member.
Map of the area
Ron Johnson - Winemaker
With the advent of Jim and Mary O'Connors' son-in-law Ron Johnson as winemaker, O'Connor Vineyard has come full circle as a family-owned entity. Ron is a self taught winemaker who made his first batch of wine at the age of 22 (1996), after picking Pinot Noir grapes from the O'Connor Vineyard with his wife Sara.
He also makes homebrewed beer in his free time. After continuous praise from family and friends, Ron was asked to take over as the O'Connors' winemaker in 2012. Ron also works at the Yolo County Public Defenders Office and enjoys pursuing both of his passions - defending the indigent and making delicious wine and beer.