Near Sonoma County’s southern border lies The Donum Estate, which has been producing esteemed Pinot Noir for nearly 20 years. But there’s far more to Donum’s artistic excellence than its wine.
The nearly 200-acre estate boasts a sculpture garden with some 40 works by major artists planted among the rolling hills of Pinot Noir grapes and 150-year-old olive trees. For years, only a select few had walked among Ai Weiwei’s zodiac animals, Keith Haring’s “King and Queen,” and Louise Bourgeois’ giant, spindly-legged “Spider.” Now, with the recent completion of a new winery and stylish tasting room, The Donum Estate is coming into its own as one of Sonoma’s most noteworthy wineries, inside the bottle and out.
When Donum began making wine in 2001, it was intended to be the ultimate Pinot Noir project. Today, the winery produces its wine from grapes grown on its Carneros estate and vineyards in the Russian River and Anderson Valleys.
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The 187-acre estate has a museum-quality sculpture garden with work from Fernando Botero and Richard Hudson. Ai Weiwei illustrations, based on his Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads, also grace the estate’s wine labels, with each vintage corresponding to the year’s Chinese zodiac sign.
Donum’s art collection was previously only accessible to the public via limited advance tasting reservations ($80 per person) and a single annual party. The company is now launching weekly tours to allow more art and wine lovers access to the open-air museum.
In 2019, after years of making estate-grown wines off-site, Donum will produce its first Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays at its Carneros property. The winery is gravity-flow, with grapes crushed on one level seeping down to barrels on the level below.
The new winery also has a tasting room called the Donum Home, designed by MH Architects. It has five skylights and a wall of windows.
A painting by Chinese artist Liu Xiaodong graces the back wall of the Donum Home.
Richard Hudson’s “Love Me” crowns Donum’s highest hill and sits like a beacon above the vineyards.