For Immediate Release
October 2007

Contact:  Pat Summers
       Summers-McCann Public Relations

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Sonoma Valley, California:  Observing crush at Deerfield Ranch Winery’s expanded facility on Highway 12 in Kenwood, California, offers an opportunity to witness what it takes to make “clean wine.”  Dramatically reducing the level of sulfite and histamine, which cause allergic reactions and roaring headaches for some people, begins with the winery’s unique, state-of the-art three-tiered sorting system.

cave doors “We hand sort all of our grapes and remove anything you wouldn’t feed to a baby,” says Winemaker Robert Rex, who founded the award winning, boutique winery with his wife PJ in 1982. “Yeast produces histamines during fermentation to protect itself from toxins in the juice. We maintain a clean fermentation environment and monitor the yeast for stress to assure ‘happy’ yeast and very little histamine in the finished wine.”

The three tiered sorting system represents a sizeable investment for any winery, especially one producing 12,000 cases a year, according to PJ , who is personally sensitive to sulfites and histamines.  “It takes eight more people to do the sorting,” she says.  “It’s expensive to make clean wine – but I can drink it without side affects!”

sorting Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), is used to keep wines from prematurely oxidizing during barrel ageing and to protect them from excess oxygen pickup during the bottling process, according to Robert, a chemist educated at University of California, Berkeley. “SO2 attracts oxygen molecules and becomes non-reactive (inert) SO3,” he explains.  “We insure low levels of sulfites because we do not release our wines until the Sulfur Dioxide reaches non-reactive levels.”

In addition to artisan winemaking techniques, which insure clean wine, Deerfield Ranch Winery is committed to biodynamic farming.  The winery’s expanded facility and caves, built on a 47-acre parcel purchased in 2000, includes a Bioreactor (water treatment system), which recycles all of the facility’s wastewater.  Everything from the vineyards to the facility’s 23,000 square feet of caves have been created to operate in sync with the natural environment.

table main floor in cave The winery’s ambitious expansion included the restoration of 14 acres of wetlands.  Serene views from the caves reach over the marsh, where native grasses have replaced blackberry vines, to the hills on the east side of Hwy 12. “Our goal was to restore the wetlands, reestablishing the natural habitat and creating a beautiful place for people to enjoy nature,” says PJ.

The Deerfield Ranch winery and vineyard plan included “green” strategies from the beginning. “The fact that our winery property encompasses the bulk of the Kenwood Marsh gives us a unique opportunity to demonstrate how winemaking and grape growing can co-exist in a sensitive environment,” Robert points out.

Deerfield Ranch Winery is currently constructing left hand turn lane to improve safety on Highway 12. When the turn lane is complete the winery will open for public tasting.  Tasting is now available by appointment.  For more information visit



Location:  22000 Sonoma Highway in Kenwood, CA
Mailing address:  1310 Warm Spring Road, Glen Ellen, CA 95442
Telephone:  707.833.5214