Roche Vineyards, which operates the popular indoor/outdoor downtown tasting room near the northwest corner of the Plaza, has completed construction of a large new winery and production complex in Carneros at 22097 Bonness Road. The 17,000-square-foot facility has the capacity to produce up to 50,000 cases of wine annually and it will include a second tasting room.
The Roche family opened their first winery and tasting room in Carneros in 1989. In 2009, the family sold the winery buildings to HP Land LLC and Jeff O’Neill of O’Neill Vintners. Roche opened a new tasting room in downtown Sonoma at 122 W. Spain St. that same year.
At the time of the sale, the family kept the bulk of its 2,000-plus-acre estate by Sonoma Raceway and, soon after, sold more than 1,500 acres to the Sonoma County Land Trust.
Their old winery buildings were torn down and Ram’s Gate Winery opened in that spot on lower Arnold Drive in 2011.
Thirty years after its founding by two pathologists, Joseph and Genevieve Roche, Roche Winery continues to be a family-owned and operated business. The new generation running the winery includes their son Brendan (who runs the winery) and his siblings Mara (who runs catering), Carrie (who oversees social media) and Michael Carr (their longtime winemaker).
The new winery was designed and built to accommodate production needs but also with an eye toward room for the next generation of Roches to grow into, said Brendan.
“My family, staff, and our customers are eagerly anticipating the completion,” he said. “We’ll have the flexibility to offer more winery-centric tasting options, while keeping the same relaxed and cozy ambiance our downtown tasting room has become so well-known for.”
Roche also offers custom crush and production services for a variety of local wine companies including August Sebastiani’s 3 Badge Beverage Corp. and Tony Moll’s Three Fat Guys.
Roche wines can’t be purchased in stores or in restaurants, only directly from the tasting rooms or their wine club.
The new tasting room on Bonness is expected to open in late fall and will be open seven days a week.
The Roche Land now owned by Sonoma Land Trust
Sonoma Land Trust purchased the 1,657-acre Roche Ranch in 2007 for $13 million. The ranch’s acquisition brought the connected open space along San Pablo Bay to more than 20,000 acres and provided the opportunity for a trail to run from the toe of Sonoma Mountain to the Bay. The property is adjacent to Tolay Lake Regional Park and it includes two and a half miles of Tolay Creek which flows into San Pablo Bay just north of the Infineon Raceway.