Hanson of Sonoma
This July, Hanson of Sonoma, the only wine-based all-organic vodka distillery in the country, will open up a tasting room in the Los Carneros Appellation of Sonoma. A first of its kind in Wine Country, the tasting room will offer a unique experience to visitors that, in addition to vodka flights and expertly-crafted cocktails, will also offer an educational behind-the- scenes look at the distillery, grape sourcing and harvesting (through short films to be shown in the theater).
The Hanson team brought on Krzysztof Pawlik, who spent 10 years with the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group as general manager and beverage director, to lead operations at the tasting room and develop the initial cocktail program. Highlighting the versatility of the product line and showcasing the bounty of ingredients from the surrounding area, an edited list of six to eight cocktails will debut with the opening. There will be no shot glasses, but rather the spirits will be served in carefully sourced Old-Fashioned glasses. In the coming months, they will also add cocktail classes and guest bartender events.
Hanson of Sonoma has garnered loyal fans across the country since it launched four years ago. Founded by brothers Chris and Brandon Hanson, Hanson of Sonoma is truly a family-owned and operated business. Chris and Brandon convinced their father Scott to join the company, and soon after sister Alanna and brother Darren joined as well. With five mainstay flavors – Original, Cucumber, Ginger, Mandarin and Habañero – Hanson’s grape-based vodkas are distilled using a custom-designed double pot and 50-plate column still (assembled at the distillery by the Hansons) and infused with all-organic hand-selected ingredients. Working in partnership with neighboring Ceja Vineyards, the Hanson team sources a variety of organic grapes to first produce a wine which is then distilled using traditional distillation methods. Using grapes gives Hanson of Sonoma vodkas a smooth mouthfeel and a distinct slightly sweet flavor profile. Seasonal flavors like Boysenberry and Espresso are also available in limited quantities, and the tasting room will offer additional exclusive flavors for tasting and purchase only at the distillery.
Scott Hanson, who spent the first half of his career as an artist, building and running galleries across the country, worked in collaboration with local metal fabricator Andrew Bradford to design the tasting room and cocktail bar. The walls are flanked with reclaimed hardwood and custom designed blackened natural steel bottle shelving behind the bar gives it an industrial edge. The countertop at the bar is made from honed Calcutta marble while the back bar tops are clad in brushed copper. The Hansons installed the highest quality bar equipment including custom built Tobin Ellis cocktail stations, a Kold-Draft ice machine and a Nordaq Fresh water filtration system designed to be a superior palate cleanser. Bar stools allow for seating at the bar and there are high-top tables and chairs for additional seating. An outdoor courtyard, perfect for picnics and cocktails during the warmer months and for hosting large events and gatherings, surrounds a pond that uses reclaimed water from the distillery (and also irrigates the vineyards and landscaping). The Hanson of Sonoma Distillery and tasting room is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located at 22985 Burndale Road, Sonoma, CA 95476. Visit HansonofSonoma.com or call (707)343-1805 for more information.