Best Wineries

Inman Family Wines in Sonoma County

By Published On: June 9th, 2023

In the Russian River Valley, Inman Family Wines Showcases Sustainability in its Wines, Vineyard and Garden.

Inman Family Wines makes small-lot Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and sparkling wines through the guidance of longstanding founder and winemaker Kathleen Inman, who founded the winery in 2002. 

Kathleen Inman, owner of Inman Family Wines.
Kathleen Inman. Photo Courtesy: Inman Family Wines.

Inman’s wines are light and fresh in style, meant to be paired with food, offering elegance and structure, many of them made from estate-grown grapes.

Inman’s estate, called Olivet Grange Vineyard or OGV, consists of 10.5 acres in the heart of Russian River Valley’s Olivet Lane area. Planted in 2000 to 13,500 grapevines, the vineyards are closely spaced and have several clones of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris in its loam and sandy loam soils with gravel underlay.

Inman Family Winery tasting room sign.
Tasting room entry. Photo Courtesy: Inman Family Wines.

Inman has long been a proponent of organic and sustainable farming and her wines reflect this commitment. She has been awarded for her work by both the North Bay Business Journal and Wine Industry Network, the latter of which named her one of “Wine’s Most Inspiring People” in 2020.

Tasting the Wines at Inman Family Wines

Tastings are held on the patio or in an intimate front tasting room that is part of the solar-powered winery built in 2010 from post-consumer recycled materials with publicly available electric vehicle charging station, surrounded by the estate vineyard.

Inman Family Wines tasting room interior.
Tasting room. Photo Courtesy: Inman Family Wines.

A tour through the vineyard gets into specifics of the soils, clones and philosophies behind close-spacing vines and organic and sustainable farming practices.

The tasting room is open by appointment Thursday through Monday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and cost $30/person. Appointment times are 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Private “Meet the Maker” tastings, which include a vineyard tour with Inman, are available by appointment for $100/person.

She has just recently added a “Sip and Stroll: Vineyard and Garden Tour and Tasting” of both the OGV Estate Vineyard and garden for $95/person, by appointment.

Inman Family Winery Olivet Grange Vineyard.
Olivet Grange Vineyard. Photo Courtesy: Inman Family Wines.

The Wines

Inman Family Wines produces an Olivet Grange Vineyard (OGV) Estate Pinot Noir ($75), Pratt Vine Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir ($73), Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($69), Pratt Vine Hill Chardonnay ($73) and Russian River Valley Pinot Gris ($40).

Inman Family Wines.
Wine portfolio. Photo Courtesy: Inman Family Wines.

It also makes a popular OGV Estate “Endless Crush” Rosé ($40), a single-vineyard Rosé of Pinot Noir from its Olivet Grange Vineyard.

In more limited quantities are three Inman sparkling wines – a Blanc de Noir ($78), Blanc de Blancs ($80) and Inman Sisters Extra Brut Luxe Cuvée ($90).

The 2019 OGV Estate Pinot Noir is “Rich, elegant and powerful, with a texture of silk satin shrouding grippy tannins and mouth-coating tastiness.” 

Kathleen Inman, owner of Inman Family Winery in the barrel room.
Kathleen Inman. Photo Courtesy: Inman Family Wines.

The 2019 Pratt Vine Hill Pinot Noir is “Exuding notes of red raspberries and their leaves with hints of fresh blueberries. Notes of freshly-turned soil and minerality make this wine well-balanced and intriguing.”

The 2019 RRV Pinot Noir is “A special blend of Pinot Noir from three highly regarded vineyards in the Russian River Valley to create this earthy, fruity and balanced wine.”

Inman’s 2022 Endless Crush Rosé OGV Estate is “Beautiful, pale, delicate pink, wine that is crisp and refreshing, yet pairs beautifully with a meal. A favorite in the tasting room since 2005.”

Inman Family Winery Rosé and Pinot Noir.
Rosé and Pinot Noir. Photo Courtesy: Inman Family Wines.

The 2021 Green Valley Chardonnay is Inman’s second Chardonnay from the Nunn Family Vineyard and described as “Not your typical California chard!”

The 2021 Pratt Vine Hill Chardonnay is also “Not your typical California Chardonnay, this delicious and wild wine aromas of lemon, lime, Fuji apple, nutmeg and a hint of toasted hazelnut.”

The Inman 2021 RRV Pinot Gris is estate-grown: “Bright, racy flavors of stone fruit and mineral. Named best Pinot Gris in the 2023 North Coast Wine Challenge.”

Kathleen Inman barrel tasting at Inman Family Winery.
Kathleen Inman barrel tasting. Photo Courtesy: Inman Family Wines.

Inman also partnered with Sonoma County-based chocolate maker Volo to make a 62% Dark Milk Chocolate with Raspberries and Toasted Pistachios bar that pairs beautifully with its 2019 Blanc de Noir.

The History of Inman Family Wines 

Kathleen Inman is the inspiration behind everything at Inman Family Wines, a gifted winemaker, farmer, cook and gardener who loves telling stories about her trials, tribulations and triumphs as a small producer. She does it all, from planting the vines to driving a forklift to move barrels in her cellar.

A third-generation native of the Napa Valley, Inman first got seriously interested in wine as a student at UC Santa Barbara, where she fell in love with Pinot Noir. In her junior year she worked at Napa Creek Winery on Napa’s Silverado Trail, learning to lead tours and work in the cellar.

Kathleen Inman and Simon at Inman Family Winery.
Kathleen and Simon. Photo Courtesy: Inman Family Wines.

After meeting her English husband, Simon, she moved to England for 15 years, where she worked in finance and became an avid organic gardener. In 1998 the family relocated to California to make Pinot Noir, buying the Olivet Grange property in the Russian River Valley in 1999.

A fierce advocate of eco-ethics, vineyard practices include the use of organic fungicides only, and the use of organic fertilizers, including Four Course Compost, which is derived from scraps that have been discarded from Bay Area restaurants and hotels. Worm castings are used to create a bio-fertilizer rich in nutrients, while permanent cover crops help producer higher-quality grapes, mitigate soil erosion and create habitats for beneficial insects.

Inman has become a leader in direct-press rosés, single-vineyard sparkling wines and the use of screwcaps for her wines. She is also an advocate for women and minority communities who have an interest in becoming winemakers.

Final Thoughts

A tasting at Inman Family Wines is casual and relaxed, with an emphasis on the estate as much as on the wines. It is a great way to spend time in the Russian River Valley understanding and appreciating its wines, including Rosés and sparkling. Plan on spending an hour and a half to two hours to taste and tour.

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