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. Randall Watkins is the proprietor and winemaker behind the brand that is best known for its Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Syrah, all produced in very limited quantities from premier hillside vineyards in Sonoma County. This tiny family winery was founded in 2003 and has only increased its production slightly since that time.
The Watkins family started making wine in Sonoma County in 1979, beginning as wine grape farmers and garagiste winemakers. For many years, they only made two barrels of wine each vintage, which was just enough to share with friends and family. It wasn’t until 2003 that the Watkins family decided to increase their production (to 8 barrels) and start selling their wines to the general public - Watkins Family Winery was born.
Winemaking at Watkins Family Winery is overseen by proprietor Randall Watkins, who grew up on his family vineyard in the foothills of Taylor Mountain in Sonoma County. He learned about viticulture and winemaking at a young age, and even helped his father plant the Watkins Family Zinfandel and Chardonnay vines when he was just ten years old. It forever instilled in him a special connection to California’s wine country and a passion for continuing his family’s wine-growing legacy.
Later on, Randall earned his bachelors degree in sociology and management from UC Davis, and after a brief stint working for a consultant in San Francisco, he realized his heart still lay in wine country. Moving back to Sonoma, Randall began his winemaking training in the cellars and labs of Buena Vista Winery and Hartford Family Winery. He went on to work at Carmen Vineyards in Chile, and then earned the assistant winemaker position at S. Anderson Vineyards in Napa Valley. At this time, Randall returned to UC Davis to complete his master’s degree in enology, and then spent several years producing highly regarded wines at Carmenet Winery and Moon Mountain Vineyard before embarking on his own Watkins Family Winery.
At Watkins Family Winery, Randall 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. His resulting wines are bursting with flavor, with excellent varietal expression and a great balance of fruit, tannins, and structure that embrace each vineyard’s terroir.
Randall Watkins is also the consultant winemaker for three other small up-and-coming wine brands in Sonoma County. He is certainly a winemaker to watch and one of the top up-and-coming producers in the region. We our Garagiste Wine of the Month Club Members enjoy one of his latest achievements. Cheers!