Rodney Strong, in Healdsburg, is named for its founder, who was a classically-trained professional dancer before retiring in 1959 to make wine. Originally from Washington state, Strong and his wife moved to northern California and bought and blended bulk wines to sell under their own label. In 1962 Strong purchased 159 acres in Sonoma County, and within a decade had acquired additional vineyards in the Russian River Valley. In 1989 the estate was purchased by the Klein family and is today still owned and managed by Tom Klein. The estate has grown to more than 500 acres in the Alexander Valley, Chalk Hill, the Russian River Valley and the Sonoma Coast. It is known for single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, and its reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Zinfandel is a black-skinned grape, but 85% of the wine produced is made into a rosy “White Zinfandel.” Red Zin is far more complex and bold, while still being light-bodied. It grows in popularity as winemakers continue to experiment with new styles and blends.