Valley of the Moon is the most historic wine property in Sonoma County as well as one of California’s viticutural icons. Haunted by history and romance, the Sonoma Valley was called “Valley of the Moon” by the Native Americans who inhabited the area because as the moon ascended in the evening sky, it appeared to rise, again and again, over the peaks and glens of the Mayacamas mountain range. Thus, the moon in all its phases is the symbol for Valley of the Moon Winery and Vineyards, which are located in the very heart of Sonoma Valley. The etched design on the bottle of each Valley of the Moon wine depicts the lunar phases surrounded by a “cosmos” of white dots; thereby, portraying the expression of moonlight as the reflected light of the sun. The land on which the Valley of the Moon Winery and Vineyards is located has an illustrious past. Once, it was part of the vast 48,000 acre Agua Caliente Land Grant owned by the legendary statesman General MarianoVallejo, the 19th century Mexican Governor of California. After California became part of the United States, the property changed owners several times before 1863 when the “Stone Tract” portion of the property was conveyed to Mr. George Whitman. According to the best records, Mr. Whitman was the first owner to grow wine grapes on the land. He also built a winery there and by 1876 his enterprise was a hugely successful one, annually producing 50,000 gallons of wine and at least 2,000 gallons of brandy. Later in the 19th and early 20th centuries a succession of owners would take possession of this illustrious property, including George Hearst, the father of the now famous newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. Prohibition hit Sonoma County especially hard, and like most California vineyards the Valley of the Moon property languished during Prohibition and its aftermath. The entire viticultural region would have to await the wine Renaissance of the 1960’s and 70’s for the first signs of redemption. For the Valley of the Moon estate, it was not until winemaker Mike Lee and Gary Heck, the present owner, took possession of this historic property that its restoration began. Under the guidance of Heck, Lee, and winemaker Pat Henderson, Valley of the Moon has finally been restored to its former glory. Today, the Valley of the Moon Winery and Vineyards is distinguished by the marriage of its rich history to a new state-of-the-art wine production facility. The creation of Valley of the Moon wines begins with hand selection. All of the fruit comes from the estate and a few select nearby vineyards that are chosen on the basis of their long histories of producing the absolute highest quality fruit. As vineyard management is simply the most important part of winemaking, these vineyards must also share the estate’s “banana belt” microclimate, which allows the grapes to develop deep rich flavors and colors. Warm Mediterranean-like days followed by cool Sonoma Valley evenings, characterized by the nightly fog banks that roll in from the Pacific Ocean and up into the Valley of the Moon, keep the fruit at an optimum temperature. Valley of the Moon produces traditional red and white varietals, bottling an outstanding Zinfandel from a vineyard planted in the 1940’s, a Syrah, a Sangiovese, a Barbera and a Meritage called Cuvee de la Luna, in addition to the winery’s benchmark Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay offerings. At Valley of the Moon Winery, the minimum amount of sulphite is used, so that a range of twenty-five to thirty-five parts per million free-sulfites is typical, a very low percentage, especially for white wines. Furthermore, Valley of the Moon uses no other preservatives in its wines due to improved filtration technology and a philosophy that espouses healthy, natural tasting wines.