By Duane Wells

If you’ve ever been the sort to turn up your nose to sparkling wines or consider yourself an exclusive devotee of French Champagnes, then I pray you give Iron Horse wines a chance to turn everything you thought you knew so consummately well on its ear.

A few months back, I was invited to a luncheon attended by Iron Horse Vineyards indefatigable CEO, Joy Sterling. Before we sat down to lunch all of the guests had the chance to sample Iron Horse Vineyards’ Brut Cuvee, a superlative sparkling wine about which I have been singing praises ever since.

To be quite honest, I practically talked Joy’s ear off at lunch because I wanted to know more about this sparkling wine that to me seemed like one of the best kept secrets in California. Well color me clueless, because not only is Iron Horse Vineyards not a secret, it is one of the most celebrated sparkling wines in the country. You might even say that Iron Horse has become the wine of diplomacy. Why do I say that you ask? Well let’s just take a quick peak back through history, shall we?

When President Ronald Reagan and Mikhael Gorbachev held their now famous summit which ended the Cold War, it was Iron Horse that was served.

When George H.W. Bush went to Moscow for the signing of the first START treaty, he had Iron Horse Classic Vintage Brut in tow. For the Clinton’s official White House Dinner on New Year’s Eve 1999 they chose Iron Horse to toast the new Millennium. Likewise the Clintons chose Iron Horse to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the White House attended by all of the living presidents except Ronald Reagan who was too ill, at the time, to travel.

When newlyweds Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, visited the White house former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush chose Iron Horse Wedding Cuvee as the toasting wine for the State Dinner honoring their visit just as they did when the Pope dropped in on his 2008 visit to the United States.

And more recently the Obamas served Iron Horse at the State dinner honoring the Queen of England in May 2011. All told, Iron Horse has now been served at the White house for five consecutive presidential administrations. How’s that for popular?

Convinced yet?

Needless to say, when I was recently up in Sonoma for a visit, Iron Horse was at the top of the list and I had the chance to tour the magnificent 160-acre estate with its

spectacular views clear across Sonoma County to Mount St. Helena.  I also sample a great many Iron Horse wines, each one as unique and wonderful in character as the next. A personal favorite, the 2006 Iron Horse Brut Rosé…heavenly.

So whether you’re toasting your same-sex nuptials, looking for the perfect spot to while away a romantic afternoon with your partner, or just looking to raise a glass with your BFF, Iron Horse should most definitely be on the menu.

The Iron Horse Tasting Room is open seven days a week from 10am to 4:30pm.

For more information about Iron Horse Vineyards visit