Michael and Lois Sones, co-owners of Sones Cellars, met in the mid-1980s when they were both working on a cruise ship—Michael as a social photographer and Lois as a massage therapist taking a break from medical social work.
After 15 years at sea, Michael’s interest in making wine eventually took him to UC Davis where he received a degree in fermentation science. He then worked for many well-known local wineries such as Ridge, Bonny Doon, David Bruce, and Bargetto, and now lives in Santa Cruz with wife Lois and their daughter Michaela.
Michael is British, so their wine label is a blend of Lois and Michael’s two cultures—a ship’s masthead figure of Minerva depicted on the Great Seal of California, for Lois, who hails from the Golden State, and the image of Britannia, for Michael.
Michael is an expert at making wine, and Sones Cellars’ varietals can be found on many a store shelf. The new release of 2014 San Francisco Bay Petite Sirah ($28) is a mouthful of handcrafted wine that will get your attention. Its exotic aromas of licorice, smoke and warm spice, and flavors of cassis and dark berries are a treat for the taste buds.
One of Michael’s wines, the Hedgehog Red, is an environmentally conscious wine where you can pay for a full bottle initially, and then take your bottle to get refilled for a nominal amount. What a concept! A wild assortment of stuffed hedgehogs—those cute, spiny creatures found in England and other parts of the world, though not native to the Americas—is on display in the tasting room, mostly given as gifts by faithful Sones Cellars wine drinkers.
Carmel Wine Walk
Carmel Wine Walk Passports provide a “Wine Walk Flight” of up to four 1-ounce pours at your choice of any nine of the 15 tasting rooms. Passports ($65) do not expire, and corkage fee is waived at participating restaurants for bottles purchased at a Carmel Wine Walk tasting room. More info at carmelwinewalk.org.