The Unusual Story of Windsor Vineyards Winery


Looking for a wine that stands apart from its peers? Windsor Vineyards wines have several features that make them unique. The direct-to-consumer winery produces wines that make great gifts for wine lovers, and provide a convenient way to purchase quality wines.

Windsor Vineyards-More than a Label

Don't bother to look for a bottle of Windsor Vineyards wine in your local wine shop; it won't be there. Windsor stands apart from many California wineries by only selling direct to consumers, and succeeding via catalog sales and outbound marketing programs. Windsor also personalizes its wine's labels for their customers.

A Dancer's Vision

Windsor Vineyards started up in Tiburon, California in Marin County on San Francisco Bay across from Angel Island. Ex-ballet dancer Rodney Strong started a wine nègociant business, sourcing wine that he liked, bottling it, and offering wine tasting and sales in his home and office on Main Street on Tiburon's waterfront. Strong acquired his taste for wine during a four-year stint dancing in Paris, part of it as lead dancer at the world-famous Lido on the Champs-Elysèes. This is a slightly different path than most winemakers take, bypassing UC-Davis' Viticulture and Enology department, and apprenticeships at various wineries. He started by bringing in wine and blending it to his own taste in his cellar and then putting his customer's names on their favorite bottles.

Windsor to Healdsburg

Strong took his big step in 1962, buying the old Monte Carlo Winery in Sonoma County's Windsor. In Windsor, Strong began making his own wine in a serious way, acquiring vineyard properties and growing his own vines. Later, he moved the winery facilities further north to Healdsburg and then began a separate winery with his own appellation, Rodney Strong. Both wineries are at the same location but operate independently with different winemakers and business models. In 1989, Strong sold the wineries to the Klein family, and they continued Strong's dream to make the finest and highest quality wines, with vineyard expansion and more capital investment in the wineries' operations and facilities. Windsor Vineyards continued with its direct-to-consumer business model, with wines produced from various varietals in Sonoma County and Mendocino County as well as Napa Valley and some of California's other best wine regions.

More than a Marketing Gimmick

The personalized label may be a marketing tactic to drive business from corporate and individual consumers, but if the wine was plonk, then it wouldn't be worth putting any corporation's or person's name on it. Image and reputation are too valuable to tarnish with wine better suited for a salad than for the Riedel. Windsor wines have won piles of awards from a score of wine competitions around the U.S., making the winery one of the top three award-winning wineries in the country. Even John Doe can confidently put his name on a Windsor label and not worry about besmirching his good name. Windsor offers a long list of reds, whites, dessert wines, blends, and sparkling wines to satisfy everyone's palate. Wines are sold by the case and are priced from the value to premium-priced scale for everyone's budget.

Windsor Vineyards and Beringer Blass Wine Estates

It's difficult to win awards and be successful and keep a low profile. Windsor's success attracted the attention of the global wine corporation, Beringer Blass Wine Estates. Windsor joined the Beringer Blass family in the year 2000. However, the changes for Windsor were minimal and the upside was an expansion of their customer base to over one million. The high-quality wines remained and the personalized wine label practice continues.

New Winemaker

The winemaker, Toni Stockhausen comes to Windsor with impeccable wine and educational credentials. She has spent time at wineries in Australia, France, and Italy. And, if the concept of terroir is critical to making wine, then it doesn't hurt a winemaker to have it in the blood. In Toni's case it's not a problem because her father is the legendary star winemaker at Australia's Lindemans, Karl Stockhausen. Toni is creating her own reputation and stands on her own talent.

A Different Approach

Transition is one of the few constants in the wine industry. Some wineries thrive in transition and others head south. Windsor Vineyards has managed to keep moving and to handle transition well, producing high quality wines to suit a broad spectrum of customers and letting them put their own face and name on the bottle.

Tasting Rooms

Windsor offers tasting to the public in two locations, at the original Tiburon tasting room at 72 Main Street and also at the Windsor corporate office at 9600 Bell Rd. Contact Windsor at (800) 289-9463 for tasting hours.

A Quality Gift

If you're looking for a unique gift for the person who has everything, then a personalized bottle of wine may just be the ticket. Is Mother's Day coming up? Send a bottle of Sonoma County Pinot Noir to Mom with a picture of the family and a personal message to celebrate her special day. Need a corporate gift for your number one customer in appreciation for their business? There's nothing like a few cases of Cabernet Sauvignon with your company's logo, name, and acknowledgment of the companies' symbiotic relationship. You can select labels from standard labels based on the wine varietal, or customize them with pictures and messages.Thanks to Windsor Vineyards, finding a quality, custom-labeled wine is easy to do. To order personalized wine, visit the Windsor Vineyards website.

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The Unusual Story of Windsor Vineyards Winery