Sonoma ValleyTasting Experiences

Tasting at BR Cohn Winery

Winery: B.R. Cohn Winery

Ownership: Corporation owned by Vinatage Wine Estates. Founded by Bruce Cohn and purchased by Vintage Wine Estates in 2015.

Winemaker: Crazy enough, I’m not sure. According to the B.R. Cohn Website Marco Digiulio is their winemaker, but while tasting there, 3 different staff who had all worked there for at least 3 years said the winemaker was “Robin” but none of them knew the person’s last name.

Location: Located on Highway 12 in Glen Ellen (Sonoma Valley). The estate used to be where they did production, but now production is done at Kunde Winery (at least that is what the staff said, but since they don’t know the name of their winemaker, this might not be correct. The tasting room used to be Bruce Cohn’s house. They do still grow most of their wine grapes on the estate.

Types of Wines:  Cabernet sauvignon is their signature wine, of which they produce several wines. They also make a couple of whites including pinot gris, reisling, chardonnay and semillon. Their other reds include malbec, cabernet france, sangiovese, merlot and a blend.

Wine Price Range: $24 to $100

Production Size/Distribution:   Overall production is 10 to 15 thousand cases. According to their tasting room staff, they also have what they call their Silver Label brand which is about 30 thousand cases annually and distributed more widely.

Tasting Experience Options: Walk-in tasters are welcome. They are open daily, 10 AM – 5 PM. For groups larger than 6 people, they request you make a reservation. They offer indoor tastings at their tasting bar for $20, which offers visitors to select 5 wines to taste. They also offer tastings on their patio for $30, which also includes 5 wines, but guests taste only the 5 wines they are serving on the patio that day. They list on their website that there is an experience they call “A Taste of B.R. Cohn Monday through Friday at 11 AM, 1 P and 3 PM but the staff in the tasting room really didn’t know anything about it. That experience (whatever it might be) is $50 per person. They also offer an estate cabernet and chocolate tasting daily at 1:30 PM at $40 per person.

Tasting Experience Rating*: 66 points. We do wish we had gone elsewhere for the day. Thank goodness Little Vineyards is located next door as we decided to drop in after our visit.

Wine Rating*: 77 to 84 points. Totally forgettable. Not bad, just not memorable in any way.

The Good: Not much to say here other than the property is lovely. They have some terrific estate olive oil available for tasting in their store, as well as some very good balsamic vinegar. The oil trees on the estate are beautiful and the view of the vineyards is wonderful. The estate does have a history with their olive trees. The trees are over 160 years old and according to the website it is, “The first estate olive oil produced in California in over a century when it was first pressed in 1990. B.R. Cohn Olive Oil Company helped launch the California olive oil renaissance.”

The Bad: Most of this tasting would have to fall into this category. The wines are just OK and the tasting staff seemed to know very little (including not knowing the name of their winemaker). When asked what their winery “story” was, they talk a lot about the founder, Bruce Cohn, and his connection to the Doobie Brothers (he was their manager). The staff is not very knowledgeable about wine in general (our tasting person was confused about what Bordeaux varietals are in general and did not know the history of petite sirah which is part of their blend wine.) While tasting we had the chance to talk with three staff members and they all seemed half asleep.

*Ratings are on a 100 point scale.

90 to 100 points=Outstanding
80 to 89 points=Good
70 to 79 points=OK (not good but not bad)
60 to 69 points=Wish we had gone elsewhere.
Below 60 points=Run fast in the other direction.