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Musical Chairs Part 1

Just when you think you know the lay of Sonoma County winery-land, a round of musical chairs gets it all mixed up again.

The former Belvedere Winery in the Russian River Valley will open soon as C. Donatiello Winery. Bill Hambrecht, owner of the winery formerly known as Belvedere, sold the Belvedere name to the same-named vodka company for an undisclosed sum (think 8 figures). Now he is teaming up with Chris Donatiello to start a new winery at the old location. Meanwhile, find Belvedere’s Sonoma County Chardonnay available at Bay Area Trader Joe’s for the fire sale price of $4.99 a ba-ba!


Then Davis Bynum sold their brand to Rodney Strong Vineyards last August, but the Bynums held on to their vineyards and winery property just down the road from the winery formerly known as Belvedere. Soon after, a “River Bend Ranch” sign popped up at the curve near the winery formerly known as Davis Bynum.

That didn’t last long. Now the winery formerly known as Davis Bynum and, briefly, River Bend Ranch will soon be a new winery with the innocuously ubiquitous (blame for emailing me a word of the day) name “Westside Winery.”

And that’s just for starters. Of course nature hates a void, so look for continuing coverage on who fills the other empty chairs right here on the winery blog.