Winemaker John Hamel of Hamel Family Wines. / Photo by: Paige Ricks
The French word for a monopoly, monopole, refers to a vineyard site from which one producer sources grapes exclusively, a place where no one else has access to make wine.
These aren’t common in California. Given its relative youth vis-à-vis other renowned growing regions of the world, Sonoma is not a place where it’s typical for generations of one family to own a piece of land over centuries and continuously plant and farm it to wine grapes.
Of course, when it comes to making wine, the monopole estate model is just one approach. Another approach is to lease land from someone else, which can be close to having an estate. The third approach is to buy grapes from someone else’s vineyard.