Red Car sees pinot as Graton's future

Santa Maria winery to relocate; next door will be Dutton-GoldfieldGRATON – Red Car Wine, a boutique producer of Sonoma County wines, this summer plans to complete its relocation of production from Southern California to this west county community to be closer to source vineyards.

Red Car Wine Co. plans to open its tasting room and blending operations in the 7,000-square-foot former Sebastopol Tractor store at the northwest corner of the intersection of Highway 116 and Graton Road, according to co-founder and winemaker Carroll Kemp.

He thinks the growing popularity of California pinot noir will transform the Highway 116 corridor from Sebastopol through Forestville into Russian River Valley in the next 15 years.

"I think Graton in a relatively short time period will be ground zero for high-end pinot noir," he said. "People in Sonoma County will not want it to become like Napa Valley with 5 million people visiting a year, but it will be a commercial tourism corridor around pinot noir."

Mr. Kemp, a former entertainment industry executive and film producer, started Red Car with Mark Estrin at Mr. Kemp's Los Angeles-area house in 2000.

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