Pure and joyous laughter traveled from the near distance as the wind started to kick up on a warm afternoon. Rays of sunlight hitting the lance-shaped dark green leaves on the olive trees revealed a silver underside that glimmered in the light. And a husband and wife were sitting outside on a beautiful olive oil estate tucked away in the region of Provence in France. All the wine and food that graced the plates of this food and wine-loving couple came from the area. As their kids seemed so happy playing on the property, it became apparent that mom and dad didn’t have to explain the importance of spending time outside and soaking in nature while having a deeply cultural experience.
“We need to make this an actual part of our life,” whispered the wife as the golden sunset cast a glowing light onto the lavender.
This moment was a life-changing trip for Raghni Naidu and her family as they made their way from Barcelona, Spain, where they eventually found their heart in Provence. Even though those words were spoken from a profound truth within Raghni, she knew that the reality of finding that wine country life for her family was complicated and perhaps impractical. Yet she wanted to at least look into the idea when they returned home to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Journey of Four Continents
Raghni was born and raised in the northern Indian state of Punjab in a town known for its food, where her mother is a famous local cook. Her father is a very gregarious man, so the combination of her mother’s great food and her father’s incredible charm made their home a popular place for many friends and family. Also, her parents are adventurous people who love to travel far and wide, bringing back seeds for new herbs to add to the garden or different types of spices, so Raghni’s home was filled with smells and tastes from all over the world.
She went to Australia for university, explored the diverse world of Melbourne, which has various neighborhoods representing many different cultures. She ended up meeting her husband there, who lived in an opposite area of India in the South, and in many ways, it was like they were from different countries. Yet their love for exploring various cultures worldwide by trying food in countless neighborhoods, each representing a different region across the globe, bonded them together and those memorable early experiences made their love blossom and led to them getting married.
After they both graduated from school, they decided to move to the United States as her husband worked in tech and after living in a couple of different U.S. states, they ended up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where they still live today.
Willed It To Happen
In 2018, Raghni’s husband had a work trip in Monaco, and so, they decided to make a family trip out of it, with most of their time spent in Provence. After three months of acknowledging her intentional dream during that trip, she closed on a beautiful vineyard in the Sonoma Coast, which included a gorgeous home with a pool that could be used as a retreat for guests, sharing their wine country dream with others. At first, Raghni was just compelled to search for properties to see what was out there, and one day, she drove up to a beautiful home on the top of a knoll that had exceptional views of the vineyards below, and she said to herself, “If I am looking to be in wine country, this is it!” This would be a space where she could show her daughter and son a cultured life among nature within a wonderful community where visitors would come from far and wide.
But being a woman who was raised to appreciate smells, tastes, textures and the quality of food and wine from a very early age, she needed to try the wine that was made from the Pinot Noir grapes on the estate vineyard – and the wine told her that these were “exceptional quality grapes.” And today, she is making sparkling, Pinot Noir rosé, Grenache Blanc and Viognier wines from purchased fruit as well as her Estate Pinot Noir.
No expense was spared as she only wanted excellence in the bottle as well as the packaging to reflect that excellence from the outside, and hence, from her first vintage, she used a high-quality wax to seal the top. That drive for only accepting the highest standards of quality finds itself in the guest house on the property that she has remodeled to create a luxurious experience for those wanting to have a secluded Sonoma wine experience surrounded by the Naidu Wines vineyard – the name given to the wines Raghni produces.
Raghni launched her Naidu Wines during the pandemic as it was slated for a 2020 release and she went back and forth on whether to wait but in the end she decided to go for it. She refused to cut corners in any way and even though she had never been afraid of hard work, she had never worked so hard in her life to create a wine and a space that lived up to her extremely high standards. Her 2019 Naidu Pinot Noir wine made the wine list at a 3-Star Michelin Restaurant called SingleThread in the heart of Sonoma wine country.
Seeds of Creating Extraordinary Experiences
The incredible smells and tastes of the food and wine was coursed out to the guests, encouraging lively conversation of a beautiful conviviality that fed the soul and senses in the haven-like place. A young girl and boy run in and out of the space yet take in the incredible energy that showed them how to live a life based on a generosity of spirit. Yet this was not the Naidu Wines estate, it was Raghni’s childhood home and as she now looks back on that time in her life, she realizes that that is where it all started and deep down inside she was looking for a space where she could create the same experiences from her childhood.
Sonoma has become an ideal setting for everything Raghni and her husband desired for a happy existence as it is a place rooted in a local wine and food history with stunning vineyard views but even better, it is globally diverse with a rich multi-cultural community that has welcomed Raghni and her family with open arms. As a family, they love to celebrate every holiday as it represents their love for delving into different cultures and experiences. In turn, they welcome all to join them in their own cultural celebrations, such as celebrating the Festival of Colors (Holi) at their estate.
Raghni and her husband don’t have the big biological family that each has back home in India; still, they have made their own extended wine family in Sonoma and instilled in their children that a life filled with sharing the best things in life is a life well lived.
NV Naidu, Brut Sparkling Wine, North Coast, California: Blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Nose of toast with citrus flowers and white strawberries with lemon meringue flavors that has fine bubbles that caress the palate with crisp acidity.
2021 Naidu, Rosé of Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, California: 75% of the Pinot Noir comes from Naidu Estate Vineyard and the rest of the Pinot Noir comes from the Marshall Ranch Vineyard, less than a mile away. Pretty nose with jasmine oil and cherry blossoms with a stony minerality and juicy red cherry and zingy cranberry flavors with a vibrant floral finish.
2021 Naidu, Grenache Blanc, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California: 100% Grenache Blanc from Catie’s Corner Vineyard. Delicious nose with honeysuckle and white peach aromas that has tropical notes on the palate of green mango fleshed out with ripe Bosc pear flavors on the full body with a zingy lemon zest note lifting the finish.
2021 Naidu, Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California: 100% Pinot Noir showcasing two vineyards: Naidu Estate and Marshall Ranch Vineyard with both having sandy loam soil of Goldridge and they are both sustainably farmed. This vintage is made up of the Dijon clone as well as clones 23, 115 and 777. An extremely elegant and harmonious Pinot Noir with juicy black cherry flavors enhanced by notes of violets and crushed rocks that has a silky texture with hints of plum tart and cardamom pods and a touch of grated nutmeg that finishes with a pristine red cherry flavor.