Sonoma Creek Winery is located in the western reaches of the Los Carneros appellation on the site of the Larsen family's old Sonoma Rodeo. Where rodeo stock, racehorses, and polo ponies once grazed, Tom and Becky Larsen now grow organic, dry-farmed grapes for their award winning wines. The heritage of the property on which Sonoma Creek Winery sits and the history of the family that has owned it since the 19th century bring to life stories of the Wild West and capture the California experience - the transformation from rough and tumble western outpost to the world's fourth largest producer of fine wine. The young M.G. Vallejo, the Mexican Military Governor, first graced what is now Sonoma Creek Winery in June 1834 on his way to secularize the Mission San Francisco Solano de Sonoma, the last and most northern of the 21 California Missions. Vallejo established the town of Sonoma that would for many years be socially and politically more significant than Yerba Buena, the 'trashy little town' on the bay now known as San Francisco. What is now Sonoma Creek Winery was once the Embarcadero, the farthest navigatable point up Sonoma Creek from San Francisco Bay. Where Chardonnay now ripens, small craft landed European visitors as early as1823. Beginning in 1847 steamboats docked there before making the return voyage to San Francisco. It was a steamboat captain who built the Civil War-era farmhouse, which now serves as the winery's main office. Tom Larsen's great grandfather, Michael Millerick, bought the house and 120 acres of surrounding land in 1899. From 1929 to the early 1950's the Sonoma Rodeo was held on the Millerick Ranch. The largest and longest running rodeo in the Bay area, it was the event of the year in Sonoma. Thousands of fans filled the stands and feasted on beef roasted in underground pits, while world champion and hall of fame cowboys competed at the various events. To no one's surprise the locals held their own at the rodeo; one year legendary vintner August Sebastiani even won a roping trophy. In 1977, Tom Larsen and his father decided to plant Chardonnay on the site of the old rodeo. This 40 acre block on the home ranch gradually led the family beyond home winemaking as they soon began producing more wine than they could consume themselves. In 1984 Tom earned his degree from UC Davis, the nation's foremost school of enology, and the following year Sonoma Creek Winery was founded. Today, Sonoma Creek Winery produces a whole line of super tasty, premium Sonoma County varietals, including award winning Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Noir. All of Sonoma Creek's wines receive extended barrel aging in American or French oak, and in the case of the estate's reds are bottled unfined and unfiltered, a practice we wish more California producers would enact, since it results in richer, more natural tasting wines. The history of Sonoma Creek Winery, and to a large extent that of California as well, is depicted on Sonoma Creek's label by a colorful rendition of a jumping horse, a reminder that the Wild West in California was not so long ago.