Wine Country Personality: Steve Noble Ledson

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wcPersonality_LedsonWinery_SteveNoble.jpgSteve Ledson has always taken pride in doing a good job. While still a young child, he helped his father on the family farm and learned the business like any other proud, hard-working Sonoma County getting his hands dirty. Early on in life, Steve knew he was destined to dream in details, he achieved success right out of high school by starting a residential development business but soon yearned for something more. After being instilled with the importance of carrying on traditions; Steve Noble Ledson adopted his father's passion for growing grapes--as well as his grandfather's and great-grandfathers before him--and decided to start a winery of his own.

Steve started by planting 17 acres of Merlot in the heart of Sonoma Valley on property on which he hoped to build his dream home surrounded by vineyards just off of Highway 12. In 1993 when his Merlot was ready for its first harvest, Steve had started to build his 16,000 square foot dream home complete in Gothic style, reminiscent of a French castle in Normandy. However, when cars kept pulling into the driveway to look at more than just the vineyards, Steve realized his fantasy home may be better suited as a showpiece perfect for housing tasting rooms, lavish gatherings, and picturesque views.
Initially Steve tried to sell his Merlot to larger wineries, but was soon convinced by a friendly soul to bottle the special grapes himself and create the one-of-a-kind Ledson wine enjoyed by many today. Since its humble beginnings in the wine business in 1997, The Castle opened to the public in 1999 and Steve has been behind every decision from planting varietals all over the county to harvesting, blending, and of course, tasting for the right time to bottle.

wcPersonality_LedsonWinery_SteveNoble1.jpgSteve not only gets his hands dirty keeping track of all his grapes throughout many different Bay Area counties, but he makes absolutely sure that every single bottle that bears his name is the best quality it can be by being involved in every aspect of the wine-making before putting it on the shelves. From growing the grapes in the right appellation and climate to barrel choice for aging and even label design, Steve loves being completely immersed in every stage of the business.

Aside from heading up the hugely popular and elegant Ledson Winery & Vineyards, Steve bought property in the Historic Sonoma Town Square and built the Ledson Hotel & Harmony Lounge in the same style as the existing buildings in order to make his guests feel as if they are stepping back in time. In fact, he designed each of the six rooms in a different style and named every one after a different family member to represent his local family heritage.

Even with the success of the winery and hotel, Steve wasn't done creating; he decided to share some of his good fortune with children in the area who may not have the same opportunities he did. In 2005 Steve founded the Ledson Harmony Foundation for Children and used his wine, along with the generous help of celebrities over the years--singer Michael McDonald, actor Jeff Bridges, 49er Dwight Clark, and most recently San Francisco Giant and Baseball Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda--to raise money for underprivileged kids, schools, youth groups, and special programs around Sonoma County.

In 2006, Steve teamed up with his cousin Bill Cunningham to bring the family-winery tradition back to Mendocino and name it after Steve's great-great-grandfather Zina Hyde Cunningham. Located in Boonville, the gorgeous Anderson Valley location may not be as well-known as Sonoma County yet but it is fast becoming the next popular spot for grape-growing and the wines are still made with the same care, dedication, and attention to detail and have since won multiple awards and recognition.

From his first entrepreneurial steps at his family farm to his savvy business strategies and meticulous design work, Steve Noble Ledson has built himself quite a life.

Ledson Winery & Vineyards
7335 Sonoma Highway
Kenwood, CA 95452
Special Tasting Offer

Ledson Hotel & Harmony Lounge
480 First Street East
Sonoma, CA 95476

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Ledson is by a country mile the most beautiful winery I have ever visited. The building and landscaping are incredible. The wines are pretty decent too!

Steve is everything in this article...and more. He's also bright, personable and one heck of a developer. And if all this isn't enough...he's been able to land a very impressive bride. Talk about a guy who's earned an "embarrasment of riches".

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