SONOMA COUNTY BARREL AUCTION HONOREES
Each year, the Sonoma County Barrel Auction (SoCoBA) Honorees are selected as Icons who have shaped the heritage and history of Sonoma County winemaking and Innovators to honor forward-thinking visionaries in our wine community. For the first time ever, a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient was recognized at SoCoBA 2022.
Join us in celebrating the contributions and achievements of your fellow wine industry leaders.
Lifetime Achievement, Icons & Innovators
Lifetime Achievement Award: Lifetime Achievement Award recipients have made a significant impact in the wine community, pioneered new techniques with groundbreaking work, elevated Sonoma County and put Sonoma County wines on the world stage.
Icons: Sonoma County Icons are individuals who have had a significant impact on the evolution, development and perpetuation of Sonoma County wine and have helped raise the global perception for Sonoma County wines.
Innovators: Sonoma County Innovators are visionaries, who are introducing new methods, ideas or products. They provide fresh insight and new ways of thinking about wine and Sonoma County that help shape the future of our wine region and industry.
2023 Lifetime Achievement Award
Tom Klein, Proprietor
Rodney Strong Vineyards
Following completion of his MBA at Stanford University and travelling through the great wine regions of the world, Tom became a management consultant for Rodney Strong Vineyards in the early 1980s. The opportunity to work with Rod Strong, one of Sonoma County’s wine pioneers, along with his love for fine wines, led the Klein family to purchase Rodney Strong Vineyards in 1989. Tom’s feet were firmly in the soil of Sonoma County for good.
Tom’s accomplishments at Rodney Strong Vineyards are astonishing. His third generation farming family’s significant and ongoing investments in vineyards, including the breathtaking Cooley Ranch Vineyard high above Lake Sonoma, planted but a decade ago and already hailed as one of the greatest vineyards in Sonoma County, have created the kind of wines Rod Strong himself could only have dreamed about. Under Tom’s direction Rodney Strong became an early leader in philanthropy and sustainability. Investments in sustainable farming, solar energy (Rodney Strong Vineyards has one of the largest solar arrays of any winery in California), becoming the first carbon-neutral winery in Sonoma County, and innovative winemaking have produced world-class wines while simultaneously improving the environment and supporting the community.
2023 SoCoBA Icons
Lee Sr. and Carolyn Martinelli, Owners
Lee Sr. and Carolyn Martinelli are both Sonoma County natives who met while attending Santa Rosa Junior College and have spent many years since farming the land that has been in Lee’s family for generations. Carolyn grew up on the far Sonoma coast helping her father raise sheep for wool. Lee Martinelli Sr. is the patriarch of Martinelli Winery and the sole farmer of Jackass Hill, home to the same vines that were first planted by his grandfather over 100 years ago and known for having the steepest non-terraced vines in Sonoma County. After 47 years, Lee Sr. has passed many of his responsibilities on to his children, the fourth generation; however, he has no plans to retire and pass on the responsibility of farming Jackass Hill anytime soon. He still enjoys finishing up a day’s work in the vineyard and opening a bottle of wine when the day is done.
2023 SoCoBA Innovator
Theresa Heredia, Director of Winemaking
Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery
Theresa Heredia has received numerous accolades by focusing on site-specific wines. She joined Gary Farrell Winery in 2012 and under her winemaking leadership, the Gary Farrell 2015 Russian River Selection Chardonnay took the top spot as #1 Wine, Top 100 Wines of 2017 from Wine Enthusiast. Gary Farrell has been named Winery of the Year twice, a Top 100 Winery by Wine & Spirits, and a Top 50 Sonoma Producer by Wine Spectator. Theresa was also a 2020 Winemaker of the Year Nominee from Wine Enthusiast.
As a Sonoma County Innovator, Theresa has been a champion for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) not only at Gary Farrell Winery, but within the entire wine industry. The winery has implemented a wide-ranging diversity pledge to create a diverse workforce and support those underrepresented in the wine industry.
2022 SoCoBA Honorees
2022 Lifetime Achievement Award
David Ramey, Ramey Wine Cellars
Sonoma County Vintners will bestow its very first Lifetime Achievement Award to legendary winemaker David Ramey as part of the Sonoma County Barrel Auction (SoCoBA) on Friday, May 6, 2022.
“We wanted to honor an individual who has made a significant impact in our wine community, pioneered new techniques with groundbreaking work, elevated Sonoma County and put Sonoma County wines on the world stage,” said Sonoma County Vintners Executive Director Michael Haney. “David Ramey is the perfect person to be our first ever Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. We appreciate his commitment to the Sonoma County wine region and our local community.”
“I am honored to be considered and selected for this award,” said David Ramey. “I was lucky enough to start making Chardonnay in Sonoma County in 1978. It’s very gratifying to still be making wine here all these years later.”
Iron Horse Vineyards
Past Sonoma County Barrel Auction Honorees
2020 Icons & Innovators
Icons & Innovators were announced in early 2020, prior to moving to an online format. Honorees were highlighted in the online programming.
Steve MacRostie, MacRostie Winery & Vineyards (Icon)
Marcello Monticelli, Gallo Family Wines (Icon)
Jordan Kivelstadt, Kivelstadt Cellars (Innovator)
2019 Icons & Innovators
Rod Berglund, Joseph Swan Vineyards (Icon)
Margot Van Staaveren, Chateau St. Jean (Icon)
The Duncan Family, Silver Oak Cellars, Alexander Valley (Innovator)
Ron Rubin, Ron Rubin Winery (Innovator)
2018 Sonoma County Barrel Auction Icons
Honorees included those who rose to the challenge in response to the 2017 North Coast fires.
Jim Bundschu, Gundlach Bundschu Winery
Jim Pedroncelli, Pedroncelli Winery
Angelo Sangiacomo, Sangiacomo Family Vineyards
Helen Bacigalupi, Bacigalupi Vineyards
Tom Klein, Rodney Strong Vineyards
David Americo Rafanelli, A. Rafanelli Winery
Tom Rochioli, Rochioli Vineyards
Lee & Carolyn Martinelli
Joe Rochioli Jr.
The Sangiacomo Family
Ed & Ted Seghesio
BARREL AUCTION VIDEOS
Watch the videos below to learn more about the Sonoma County Barrel Auction and the Sonoma County Icons celebrated in 2016, 2017 and 2019.