Preserving the traditions of the West through food, wine and sport
Many may think that Old West ideals are a thing of the past, long gone and forgotten. But for Darius Anderson, co-founder of Sonoma’s Wing & Barrel Ranch, they’re so alive. It is on a mission to rekindle the passion for those same traditions that once thrived in previous generations.
The new Wing & Barrel Ranch is the most prestigious private club on the West Coast. This ranch is unique for this side of the United States, an area where sports clubs are not very common. Located in California wine country, with views of the Mayacamas and Sonoma mountain ranges, this club offers members a unique place to escape city life. And most importantly, a place to reconnect with nature through long-standing hunting traditions and outdoor activities that include sporting clays, fishing and more.
One of its primary missions is to preserve the traditions of the athletic lifestyle and provide opportunities for current and future generations to enjoy the outdoors and natural beauty of California. In addition to offering seasonal pheasant, chukar and quail hunting on over 1,000 acres, Wing & Barrel Ranch is the only Chris Batha-designed Sporting Clays course on the West Coast; shooting ranges with 15 fully automatic fields, each containing three firing positions and offering more than 90 target presentations; and a stocked pond on site offering anglers the opportunity to practice fly fishing.
As for culinary offerings, the ranch offers culinary programming led by Executive Chef Victoria Acosta, formerly of the restaurant at Meadowood, and Chef Culinary Advisor Charlie Palmer. The Wing & Barrel Ranch offers a range of seasonally inspired wine dishes, much of which comes from their own herb and vegetable garden, combined with locally sourced meat, game and fish. The ranch also offers members the opportunity to attend guest chef dinners and educational talks.
“Wing & Barrel Ranch aims to stimulate the mind, body, and palette with fishing, hunting, shooting sports, ax throwing, archery, and everything the athletic lifestyle has to offer. to give,” says Anderson.
“The Show’s speaker series stimulates the mind, featuring debates and discussions with makers, musicians, philosophers, architects and more. The palette is rounded out by winemakers from Sonoma and Napa, California, a amazing food, farm to table, water to table (local oyster and caviar program), field to table and more.
We spoke with Darius Anderson, co-founder of Sonoma’s Wing & Barrel Ranch, about the club’s inspiration, culinary offerings, vision, and more. Here’s what he had to say.
Where did the inspiration for Wing and Barrel come from?
Wing & Barrel Ranch co-founder Mike Sutsos, Sr., and I are lifelong friends. We have spent our lives traveling the world following our passions – for shooting, exceptional food, fine wine and cigars. These experiences are the source of the vision for this extraordinary club, combining an enthusiasm for sporting life and all that surrounds it.
Wing & Barrel Ranch brings together the best of sports culture and the Bay Area’s appreciation for food and wine. The Club was founded with a deep appreciation for the surrounding rugged landscape, hayfields and vine-covered hillsides, which represent the history of the land.
With views of the Mayacamas and Sonoma mountain ranges, Mount Tamalpais and Mount Diablo, the Club is a sanctuary where members can escape to the countryside. The members of Wing & Barrel Ranch carry on the traditions of the sporting and hunting lifestyle and ensure that future generations can enjoy the land.
What are your main goals with Wing & Barrel Ranch when it comes to preserving western traditions?
Combining sportsmanship with fine wine and food, Wing & Barrel Ranch offers members a chance to reconnect with the land’s rich history and fully appreciate the majestic beauty of the Sonoma Valley. Wing & Barrel Ranch preserves the traditions of the sports lifestyle.
The ranch offers a world-class game lodge, acres of seasonal bird hunting, year-round sporting grounds, fishing, custom shooting lessons, dog training, and boarding. This is accentuated by Vintner member gatherings, fine dining and travel programs as additional benefits of membership.
How long have you had this vision of opening a place like this?
Wing & Barrel Ranch is the most prestigious private club on the West Coast, located in the heart of the Sonoma and Napa Valleys. The property is designed as a full sensory experience, transporting members back to their roots to reconnect with nature. Wing & Barrel Ranch members can film with California’s top winemakers at the ultimate West Coast sports club.
No other club brings together so many of the world’s best winemakers, offering members a rare insight into the year’s harvest and vintages to come. Wing & Barrel Ranch offers the only West Coast Sporting Clays course designed by renowned designer Chris Batha. Vineyard shooting ranges include 15 fully automatic fields, each containing three firing stations and offering over 90 target presentations.
Members receive custom pre-loaded Clay Cards to use at the CNC firing stations. Wing & Barrel Ranch offers the only line of state-of-the-art pistols and rifles in Sonoma and Napa. The range provides a safe and controlled environment to practice marksmanship with or without instruction.
Why are women and children particularly important in this regard?
In order to have growth in the industry, the sport and the venue must be embraced by mothers and daughters. WBR has created a family-friendly environment that makes women more likely to join. WBR prioritizes women and girls to ensure they are inclusive at the club.
Food and wine are key to the experience at Wing and Barrel, let us know how integral they are to the overall experience here.
Members have access to a world of luxury outdoor experiences complemented by seasonal menus prepared by James Beard Award-winning Chef Charlie Palmer and premium wines from the Club’s world-class winemaker partners. At Wing & Barrel Ranch, members not only have access to the land, but also the opportunity to enjoy a host of epicurean amenities that are sure to please even the most discerning palate.
Members have access to exceptional experiences with the winegrowers who are members of the Club. Opportunities abound with monthly Winemaker Series shoots, luncheons and dinners. Winery members include such notables as A. Rafanelli, Chateau Montelena, CIRQ Estate, Hearst Ranch Winery, Michael Mondavi Family Estate, Ram’s Gate Winery, Silver Oak, Twomey and more.
What is the Winemakers Shooter Series?
At Wing & Barrel, many curated experiences highlight the special role of these winemakers. This is on display during the Winemakers Shooter Series, which allows members to join the Club’s winemaker partners for a highland bird hunt or sport clay shoot at the famous Winemakers’ Shooting Ranges. Outings conclude with a celebratory meal with wine pairings, as well as a visit to a winery and dinner at one of two nearby restaurants by resident chef Charlie Palmer.
Chef Charlie Palmer is a culinary advisor at Wing & Barrel Ranch. Influenced by his upbringing working in his family’s vegetable garden in upstate New York, Palmer is passionate about food grown from the soil. During his career, he opened 13 notable restaurants across the country as well as a growing collection of boutique hotels, each reflecting the local environment.
What inspires the food and drink menu? How are the dining experiences here?
Members enjoy sumptuous culinary offerings to suit a range of palates. Led by Executive Chef Victoria Acosta, who previously worked at the restaurant in Meadowood, Wing & Barrel Ranch offers an abundance of culinary delights inspired by the seasons. In collaboration with Chef Culinary Advisor Charlie Palmer, Acosta presents seasonal wine cuisine for members.
Chef Acosta tends to an on-site herb and vegetable garden, incorporating the freshly grown produce into the culinary offerings. The menu features locally sourced meat, game and fish as well as seasonal fruits and vegetables to create exceptional wine cuisine.
Recently, Wing & Barrel hosted the Van Winkle family (of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon) for a weekend of hunting, sports, and a grand finale dinner. Other guest chef dinners include Chef Rogelio Garcia – California Michelin Star Chef + Former Michelin Star Chef, Chef Chris Consentino, Chef Tyler Florence, Chef Charlie Palmer, Chef Matt McCallister and Chef Laura Cole.
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