By Rick Riozza

The quick answer is: the bottles have left the markets in the shopping carts of many wine loving women. As your friendly neighborhood wine steward at the Ralphs Market in Palm Springs, I literally see 4 to 5 cases of Flowers wine—especially the Chardonnay, being sold on a weekly basis continually.

How did Flowers become so popular!? I mentioned that many of the buyers are women—of course there are a few men customers as well, but the majority are women. Perhaps it’s just the name “Flowers”—possibly identified as a feminine gist. Flowers’ Winemaker, Chantal Forthun, is one of the most formidable women winemakers in Sonoma—so maybe it’s her feminine touch that rings for the ladies.

Of course, we’re having fun here. With such sales on the books, the wine is no doubt world class and delicious. Further, the list price of the Flowers Chardonnay wine is over $50 a bottle. This is not a casual purchase—indeed, most Chardonnay buyers spend $12 or less. And in view of all the cases of wine they sell, we’ve got a lot of folks spending their money on something they truly desire.


Nearly 30 years ago, Flowers Vineyards & Winery pioneered the growing of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on the rugged coastal ridges of the extreme Sonoma Coast. Joan and Walt Flowers had a simple goal — make exceptional wine that captures the wild beauty of the land and the spirit of the Sonoma Coast.

“This passion drives everything we do — farming responsibly, harvesting by hand, using 100% native fermentation, and crafting wine with minimal intervention. Our unwavering commitment to creating distinctive wines that capture the spirit of the Sonoma Coast has been the bedrock of our success, and will continue to guide us for years to come.”

Flowers Winery sits outside the quaint town of Healdsburg, nestled among the towering redwoods on Westside Road. At this design-focused oasis, the Flowers team exercises intention in every element of their viticulture and winemaking with an emphasis on expressing the special terroir of their Sonoma Coast sites.

Their website highlights:

Sustainibility: Flowers Vineyards and Winery is dedicated to the natural winemaking process. Flowers’ vineyard practices are sustainable and include methods such as organic farming and hand harvesting. The winemakers use 100% native yeast in every wine. Using native as opposed to commercial yeast gives Flowers wine a beautiful complexity.

Elevated: Highly elevated grapes soak in more sun for a long, slow-growing season in the Sonoma Coast, a cool climate AVA (American Viticultural Area) where most of the vineyards stay warm above the fog line. High above sea level, fruit ripens easily on sunny slopes. These climate conditions give Flowers wine notable acidity and freshness.

Coastal: Sonoma Coast wines’ characteristics are inseparable from their oceanside growing environment. Mere miles from the Pacific, cool salty winds bring nuance and a mineral-rich salinity to Flowers wines.

Located just two miles from the Pacific Ocean, Camp Meeting Ridge estate consists of 321 acres with 18 acres planted to Chardonnay and only 11 acres of Pinot Noir. Elevations range from 1,150 to 1,450 feet, positioning the vineyard above the coastal fog layer, thus allowing generous amounts of sunshine during the growing season. This unique combination of abundant sunshine and cooling fog rolling in and out of the vineyard creates an ideal — and idyllic — growing environment for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Mentioned above, Flowers Winemaker Chantal Forthun has led the winemaking team at Flowers Vineyards & Winery since 2012. Using minimal intervention in the winery, Chantal and her team’s goal is to create wines with true site expression.

“Each vintage gives us a fresh opportunity to attentively farm our Sonoma Coast vineyards and take these grapes from vine to bottle. At Flowers, ‘minimal intervention’ doesn’t mean hands-off; it actually means more hands are involved in the preparation, requiring us to be present in each moment, through every step of the process.”

And now, reviews & winemaker notes of their recent Rose, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir:

2022 Flowers Rose Sonoma Coast ($35)Freshness and vibrancy characterize this light-hued Rose hailing from Sonoma Coast. Lifted aromas of rose petal, grapefruit zest and hints of wild strawberry echo this fresh and savory aromatics of its coastal origins. On the palate, layers of juicy pink grapefruit, fresh-cut watermelon and a stony minimality are supported by a thorough line of vivid acidity and refreshing finish.

2022 Flowers Chardonnay Sonoma: ($50) “Pale gold color. Enticing, airy aromas of lemon zest and lime blossom are brought back to earth with those of bayleaf and wet flint. Fresh flavors of Asian pear and Honeycrisp apple are supported by abundant texture in the mid-palate. With vibrant acidity, typical of the extreme Sonoma Coast, this Chardonnay finishes with length and elegance.

“Sourced from a number of coastal vineyards, including Flowers’ mature vines at Camp Meeting Ridge, this is as bright and fresh as it is creamy, its almond-like richness lifted by a pretty orange-blossom scent and lemony acidity. It’s a textural pleasure for filet of sole.”

 2022 FLOWERS SONOMA COAST PINOT NOIR ($50) “This fine-spun Pinot opens with fresh aromas of coastal evergreens and wildflowes. Hints of early-season cherries follow, macerated in warm spices (anise, cardamon, allspice) and layered over earthy sandalwood. Ripe yet tangy dark berries, wearing a little dust from the patch, star on a lightly textured palate, giving way to savory herbs.”

“Delicately tannic red tea, and a pop of salty sea beans. A fascinating play of light fruit and dark spice is finished with a bright squeeze of orange peel.” Well, what’s not to like here!! Cheers!