Producer Profiles

Crafting Delicious Sonoma County Wines - Rodney Strong Wine Estates

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30/11/2018 Rodney Strong is the 13th Winery from Sonoma County Wine Industry

A trinity of winemaking routes crossed when Rick Sayre joined the team as Winemaker in 1979, and again when the Klein Family, 4th generation California farmers, purchased the winery in the year 1989 and initiated a reintroduced commitment of modern artisan winemaking. Over the years, Rodney Strong Vineyards has earned the reputation for critically acclaimed Single Vineyard and Reserve wines, stand out Estate releases and best-in-class

Today, Rodney Strong Vineyards continues its history of innovation as one of California’s most respected wineries, crafting delicious Sonoma County wines that reflect passion and creativity.

Rodney Strong Team

Their approach is for the grapes from each vineyard and growing region to express their essential character in the special wines they craft. Gentle supervision, attentive use of barrel & stainless steel fermentation, and proper oak aging enhance the natural characteristics of the fruit.

TOM KLEIN - Proprietor

Tom earned a business degree from Stanford and is a fourth-generation California farmer. His one of the projects was evaluating a small winery in the Russian River Valley called Rodney Strong Vineyards and, in a chance meeting; he was introduced to founder Rod Strong and winemaker Rick Sayre. Already evolving an interest in wines, this encounter planted a seed that would grow into a lifelong passion.

JUSTIN SEIDENFELD - Director of Winemaking

Justin says, “People recalling the occasions that wine makes better and memorable is the reason I make wine. Hearing about how and when someone enjoyed a wine I made inspires me.”

Justin Seidenfeld serves as Winemaker for Rodney Strong Vineyards; the iconic Sonoma County Winery was founded in 1959 by namesake Rod Strong. His winemaking career began in Sebastopol, California, where he was an intern at Iron Horse winery in 2005. He swiftly rose from cellar hand to taking on winemaking responsibilities with a position in 2006 at the venerable Robert Mondavi Winery in the Napa Valley.

As a harvest, Justin walked some of California’s premier vineyards and gained a comprehensive understanding of quality land and viticulture. His additional responsibilities included overseeing small lot Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir winemaking.


Greg Say’s – “Making the Reserve and Single-Vineyard wines here are an honor”.  Greg joined the Rodney Strong Vineyards team in 2005, as a position of Lab Director. His inborn acumen for winemaking became immediately clear to his peers, and he quickly ascended to an appointment as Associate Winemaker in late 2007. In 2010, he was promoted to Winemaker, overseeing all aspects of operations and winemaking in our Artisan, “Winery within the Winery.”


Brothers Ridge Vineyard

135 Acres of Land| Established 1997

The Brothers Ridge vineyard was found on the hills of the small town of Cloverdale. Their acre of land is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, with small blocks of Merlot and Malbec making up the transformation. The soils here are well-drained loam supported by sandstone, splintered shale, and ancient greenstone. With advancements surpassing 1,000 feet, vineyards are planted on west-facing slopes, perfectly situating the vines to capture the full warmth and light of the afternoon sun.

Varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec Vineyard

Other Vineyards - Hubbard Ranch, Jane’s Vineyard, Pine Flat, River East Vineyard, River West Vineyard, Rockaway Vineyard, Alexander’s Crown Vineyard and more


Crisp & Aromatic Wines

When their Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc arrives at the winery, they are immediately delivered to a gentle grape press. Simply the juice expressed will undergo primary fermentation, in either small barrels or stainless steel tanks, depending on the style to be created. Barrel fermented whites tend to be richer, spicier, and more complex, while steel fermented whites are brighter and fruitier. Both will be fermented at cool temperatures and may be encouraged to undergo a secondary process, called malolactic fermentation. Malolactic fermentation adds additional complexity and softens the acidity of the wine. Some of our white wines are a combination of both.

Blending & Aging

Throughout every wine’s time at the winery, it is constantly under assessment by the winemaking team. Even the lightest and freshest styles of white wine benefit from at least some aging time. Wines that are barrel aged soften, concentrate, and pick up a broad array of complexity depending on the age, toast level, wood source, and barrel maker. As each lot ages, the winemakers systematically taste every tank and barrel to evaluate the wine’s progress. It is then up to the winemaking team to assemble the lots into a harmonious unity, anything from combining different varieties, blending one variety from within an appellation, or highlighting a single vineyard from lots representing just one specific vineyard sites. This is done entirely by taste and represents the culmination of innate ability and years of winemaking experience.

The 2024 Sommeliers Choice Awards results are out! View the results here.