Watkins Family Winery
Sonoma County region
Handcrafting boutique wines in Sonoma County since 1979
Watkins Family Winery is a small, family-owned winery in Sonoma County specializing in mountain-grown wines from the rugged slopes of the Mayacamus Mountains. The family has been handcrafting boutique wines in Sonoma County since 1979, beginning as wine grape farmers and garagistes (a French term used to describe undiscovered, independent winemakers making small batches of wine in garage-type settings). For many years, the Watkins family only produced two barrels of wine each vintage, sourcing grapes exclusively from their estate vineyards in the countryside of Sonoma County. It wasn’t until 2003 that they decided to increase their production start selling Watkins Family wines to the general public.
Winemaking at Watkins Family Winery is overseen by proprietor Randall Watkins, who grew up on a vineyard in the foothills of Taylor Mountain in Sonoma County. When Randall was just 10 years old in 1979, he helped his father plant the Watkins Family Zinfandel and Chardonnay vines and it instilled in him a special connection to California’s wine country. Randall later earned a bachelors degree in sociology and management from UC Davis and after a brief period working for a consultant in San Francisco, realized his heart still lay in wine country and he moved back to Sonoma. He began his winemaking training at Buena Vista Winery and Hartford Family Winery, traveled to Carmen Vineyards in Chile, and then returned home to become the assistant winemaker at S. Anderson Vineyards in Napa Valley. Randall also completed his master’s degree in enology at UC Davis and went on to produce highly regarded wines at Carmenet Winery and Moon Mountain Vineyard.
Today, Randall Watkins is the proprietor and head winemaker of his namesake Watkins Family Winery and the consultant winemaker for three other small wine brands in the region. Watkins Family Winery is best known for their Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Syrah, all produced from premier hillside vineyards in Sonoma County.
Randall Watkins enjoys using Old World winemaking methods and his meticulous attention to detail comes through with the thought and care given to each step in his process. Randall’s resulting wines are bursting with flavor, with excellent varietal expression, and a great balance of fruit, tannin, and structure. He is certainly a winemaker to watch and one of the top up and coming producers in Sonoma County.