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As president of Sonoma County Winegrowers, Karissa Kruse drinks a lot of wine. And while this may seem like a dream job, the task of picking her favorites can be quite daunting. “On most days and occasions, I can be caught with a glass of bubbles or chardonnay,” she admits, “but I feel pretty lucky that I get to try so many great wines and varietals on the job.” 

Since complete sustainability is the organization’s number one mission, it’s no surprise that Kruse seeks a wine made from sustainable grapes and farming practices. But we asked her to delve a little deeper and share her favorite bottles, both budget-conscious and bougie, to be enjoyed in different settings. Check out all of her top picks below, including an award-winning rosé that retails for only $18! 

Note: Prices will vary. Looking to visit the region yourself? Take a look at our comprehensive Sonoma County travel guide.  


Fireplace Companion: The Best Wine for Cooler Months

Under $25: Pedroncelli Zinfandel Mother Clone (Only $15!)

“This multi-generational family has been making great wines in the Dry Creek Valley since 1927!”

Over $25: Ramey Sonoma Coast Syrah 

“Though probably better known for his chardonnays, David Ramey also crafts an incredible Syrah.” 


Dinner Date: The Best Wine to Serve with a Meal

Under $25: Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches Chardonnay or Le Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 

“This is easy—both of these wines are easy sippers packed with flavor.” 

Over $25: Dutton-Goldfield Pinot Noir 

“Confession with this one: I may be a little biased because my boyfriend is Steve Dutton. This is essentially our ‘house wine.’”


Party Time: The Best Wine for Celebrating Special Occasions

Under $25: Roederer Estate Brut

“It’s all about bubbles! I love this one from our neighbors in Anderson Valley. Just pop and enjoy.”

Over $25: Kistler Chardonnay

“For a big celebration, my go-to is [this bottle]! Ah, I do love it so.”


Summer Saturdays: The Best Wine for Warmer Months

Under $25: Rodney Strong Rosé of Pinot Noir

“Rodney Strong is a go-to for many varietals, but their rosé is a yummy bright explosion in the mouth on a hot summer’s day.”

Related: The Best Wine Clubs and Subscriptions 

Over $25: Schramsberg Blanc De Blanc Sparkling Wine 

“I love a good chardonnay-based bubbly.”


Just for Fun: The Best Wine to Impress Guests at Dinner

Way Over $25: Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon

“This is what I’m ordering at an upscale restaurant when I’m trying to impress my guests. My preference is for the Alexander Valley, but the Napa Valley also delivers the oohs and ahhs.”

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