Whitehall Lane Winery stands out amid the surrounding countryside with its modern stucco building, a colorful mix of mustard-colored and blue-gray paint. The winery site itself has been growing grapes and making wine since the late 1800s.
The winery has had an extensive overhaul since new ownership took over in 1993. The talented new team purchased additional vineyard properties and began an ambitious replanting program. There are now six vineyards owned by the winery, from Carneros to Oak Knoll to Rutherford. According to owner Tom Leonardini, the fruit is the single most important part of the quality equation. To begin the new era the winemaking was updated and a new barrel program was instituted. The vineyards are now in full production and the winery is best known for its rich red wines.
Inside through the glass doors is a bright, stylish tasting room with stained concrete floors, large-format art on the walls, and windows that look into the winery operation. The angled concrete-topped tasting counter and sloped ceiling give a hip, asymmetrical feel to the place. The mood is casual and comfortable.
The Chardonnay is barrel-fermented in 35 percent new and 65 percent one-year-old French oak barrels. Approximately two-thirds of the wine is put through malolactic fermentation to enhance the wine's aroma, while retaining crispness and varietal characteristics. The Cabernet is made with a traditonal blend, adding Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, and Merlot. A dessert wine is also produced.