Nicholson Ranch Winery is a winemaker-owned artisan winery situated on 40 acres between Sonoma and Napa Valleys on Highway 121. The winery estate is uniquely positioned at the crossroads of California’s most esteemed wine growing regions: Sonoma Valley, Sonoma Coast, Napa Valley and Los Carneros.
Nicholson Ranch is an Estate winery in the truest sense of the word. We grow our grapes, make our wine and age our wine on the property. We are known for our Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. We make a small quantity of Merlot and Syrah.
Our founder, winemaker and owner is Deepak Gulrajani. He began his winemaking career in his garage making home-made wines in the early 1990s. Deepak planted the vineyards in 1995 and he has been the winemaker for Nicholson Ranch since 2009. He was born in Mumbai, India and came to California for a job in the computer business in 1988. From his first introduction to wine he has been a fan of California Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, a love that continues today.
The Nicholson Ranch winery building is reminiscent of Mediterranean and California structures, with double-thick walls and deep overhangs. Salvaged first-growth redwood, native Douglas fir, a variegated slate roof and subtle earthen colors create Old World charm and sensibility.
Nicholson Ranch Winery has a gravity-flow design to preserve the delicate flavors and aromas of our Estate wines. The winery is built directly above the caves. At the topmost level, freshly harvested grapes are sorted and de-stemmed before being lowered into the fermentation tanks at the next level. After fermentation, the wine flows from the above-ground facility down into a settling tank in the caves. From there it is gravity-fed into barrels for aging.
Nicholson Ranch caves have 10,000 square feet of barrel aging space 40 feet underground directly below the winery building. With 600 linear feet, the caves provide an ideal climate for the development of wines as well as a low-impact solution for the environment. The caves maintain a constant temperature and humidity, averaging 55-65 degrees year round. As the wine ages in barrels, the optimal cave environment assures a better balance of evaporation and flavor retention.
Our 31 acres of vineyards were planted starting in 1995. Nicholson Ranch Estate vineyards are extraordinary for the character they bring to each wine. We use dry farming and sustainable techniques to produce low-yields with astounding concentration of flavors. Fourteen acres of Pinot Noir are planted in Dijon clones 113, 114, 115, 667 and 777. Thirteen acres of Chardonnay are planted in Dijon clones 76, 95, 96, and UC Davis 4. The plantings are rounded out with two acres of Merlot and one acre of Syrah.
The Nicholson Ranch mantra is holistic, embracing all aspects of the vine’s health and development. Quality starts in the vineyard. All vineyard work is done by hand to bring out the unique and intrinsic character of each individual variety. We do not use synthetic chemicals in the vineyard eschewing the use of weed killers and other chemicals. We practice dry farming and deficit irrigation to produce intensely flavored grapes. The grapes are fermented with native vineyard yeast that gives our wines distinct aromas and textures. The wines are aged underground under a natural cool environment and lastly they are bottled unfined and unfiltered. The resulting wines stimulate the senses, warm the heart and evoke a feeling of well-being.