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Pacific Pinot Noir

Pacific Pinot Noir: A Comprehensive Winery Guide for Consumers and Connoisseurs

Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Pages: 496
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  • Book Info
    Pacific Pinot Noir
    Book Description:

    Featuring more than two hundred in-depth winery profiles, this definitive guide is the best single source of information on world-renowned pinot noirs from California and Oregon. Drawing on his encyclopedic knowledge of a grape variety considered by many to produce the ultimate food wine, John Winthrop Haeger offers this expanded, updated companion volume to his award-winningNorth American Pinot Noir.Here, with three times the number of winery profiles, he focuses exclusively on what he calls the Pacific Pinot Zone, stretching from the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon to Santa Barbara in California and extending up to thirty miles inland. An introductory essay provides an indispensable view of pinot noir in the United States-including the dramatic effect that the movieSidewayshas had on its sales and production.Pacific Pinot Noirfeatures:* Detailed descriptive tasting notes and selected vertical tastings* At-a-glance graphics conveying information on tasting rooms, prices, and production for each winery* Regional maps showing key viticultural areas* Contact information for each winery

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94211-0
    Subjects: Environmental Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-X)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. XI-XII)
  4. About This Book
    (pp. XIII-XX)
  5. MAPS
    (pp. XXI-XXIV)
    (pp. XXV-XL)

    It seems inevitable that any assessment of North American pinot noir in 2008 should begin with The Movie.Sideways, released in November 2004 by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, is the story of two college buddies approaching middle age: one bitter, maladjusted, clinically depressed, and divorced; the other a failing actor, philistine, and lunk about to marry. The duo opt for a week of male bonding in Santa Barbara’s wine country before the impending marriage. By Hollywood standards, it was a low-budget film, costing only about $17 million to make, and based on a novel for which the author had,...

  7. Icon Key
    (pp. XLI-XLII)
  8. A TO Z WINEWORKS Dundee, Oregon
    (pp. 1-1)

    Established in 2001, A to Z is a partnership of Cheryl Francis, Sam Tannahill, Bill Hatcher, and Debra Hatcher. Separately, Francis and Tannahill own the francis tannahill brand, and the Hatchers own the william hatcher brand. Together, the foursome has experience with more than a dozen Oregon pinot projects and some of the state’s most respected names, including domaine drouhin oregon, archery summit estate, the eyrie vineyards, chehalem, and shea wine cellars. From 2001 to 2003, A to Z operated entirely as anégociantoperation, purchasing already-made wines from producers with surplus product, and then crafting a single pinot noir...

  9. ACACIA WINERY Napa, California
    (pp. 1-5)

    The creation of Acacia was the second seminal event of the 1970s in Los Carneros, after the debut of Carneros Creek Winery. A large group of investors underwrote the early years of the project, which was dedicated exclusively to pinot noir and chardonnay. Michael Richmond was Acacia’s evangelist, and Larry Brooks was its founding winemaker. The 1979 and 1980 vintages were made at Kenwood in Sonoma, but a large, barnlike winery was built on Las Amigas Road in time for the 1981 harvest. Within a few years, however, amid rumors of mismanagement and misappropriation of funds, and with some cabernet...

  10. ADEA WINE COMPANY Gaston, Oregon
    (pp. 5-7)

    Early in the 1980s, Dean Fisher, who had been a jet mechanic in the waning days of the Vietnam War, reinvented himself as a fabricator of metal equipment for the electric power industry. Based in Yamhill County, southwest of Portland, Oregon, he found himself surrounded by an emerging cottage industry with a quite separate appetite for metal fabrication, at which point he began custom building tanks, hoppers, and sorting tables for Oregon wineries. In the winter months, when the vineyards were dormant, Michael Etzel (see beaux frères), who was then absorbing winemaking expertise as a cellar rat for ponzi vineyards,...

  11. ADELAIDA CELLARS Paso Robles, California
    (pp. 7-8)

    As far a pinot noir is concerned, the story of Adelaida Cellars is the most recent chapter in the story of Hoffman Mountain Ranch. This story began in 1964 when Stanley Hoffman, a Beverly Hills cardiologist, wine connoisseur, and amateur winemaker, planted 60 acres of vines in an enormous walnut orchard northwest of Paso Robles, including the first (and for some time the only) pinot noir in the area. It is not clear whether Hoffman was looking for limestone soils, or whether he got them by happenstance, but this is one of the few spots on the Pacific coast where...

  12. ADELSHEIM VINEYARD Newburg, Oregon
    (pp. 8-11)

    David Adelsheim’s role in shaping Oregon’s wine industry, and its focus on the cool climate grape varieties of northeastern France, is so intuitively and circumstantially obvious to his peers that they often take his record for granted. Initially more interested in country living than in grapes or winemaking, Adelsheim drifted into wine incrementally, eventually playing a catalytic role in the creation of the Willamette Valley and Umpqua AVAs, and the smaller AVAs later carved out of the Willamette Valley; the state’s wine-labeling regulations; and many of its key institutions, including the Oregon Wine Board and the world-famous International Pinot Noir...

  13. ALMA ROSA WINERY AND VINEYARDS Buellton, California
    (pp. 11-13)

    Alma Rosa is the third act in Richard and Thekla Sanford’s long and distinguished career growing cool-climate wines (and especially pinot noir) on California’s southern Central Coast. The story begins with Sanford’s wartime service in Vietnam, which drove him to seek a civilian career “working close to the earth and caring for the landscape.” Travels in France also birthed a passion for viticulture and for fine Burgundies. Act One was the venerated Sanford & Benedict Vineyard, which eventually comprised 130 acres of cabernet, merlot, riesling, chardonnay, and pinot noir near the west end of what is now tha Sta. Rita Hills...

  14. AMITY VINEYARDS Amity, Oregon
    (pp. 13-15)

    Myron Redford, who purchased Amity Vineyards from its first owners in 1974, just three years after it had been planted, is appreciated as something of a counterculture figure in the Oregon wine scene. He is said to have discovered wine while hitchhiking from Ankara, where he spent a year in a collegiate study abroad program, to London, via (among other spots) the Mosel Valley. Eating and drinking along the Mosel, he learned the essential truth ofterroir: that each riesling from each vineyard in each village was distinctive—the individual site marked each wine.

    Redford’s first job in the wine...

  15. ANCIEN WINES Napa, California
    (pp. 15-18)

    Ken Bernards grew up in what is now the heart of the Oregon wine country, surrounded by cellar rats and pinotphiles. Armed with a degree in flavor chemistry from Oregon State University, he began his winemaking career at Domaine Chandon in 1987, working first as a research enologist and later as associate winemaker. In 1989 a trip to Burgundy solidified his enthusiasm for pinot noir, and a road sign near Dijon, pointing the way to an archaeological site, provided the name he was to use a few years later for wines of his own. Ancien Wines was created in 1992...

  16. ANDREW RICH WINES Carlton, Oregon
    (pp. 18-19)

    Andrew Rich explains that the first “really good” wines he remembers came from a friend of his parents who was “into wine.” Later, having become an avowed Francophile armed with a degree in French literature from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Rich took an entry-level job atTravel & Leisurein New York, where one of his responsibilities was to edit the magazine’s front-of-the-book wine department. This assignment brought an avalanche of invitations to the endless succession of tastings and wine lunches with which the industry courts the New York–based wine press, and led to a personal preoccupation with...

  17. ANNE AMIE VINEYARDS Carlton, Oregon
    (pp. 19-20)

    Anne Amie is the new name, since 2001, of Château Benoit, a property located between Carlton and Lafayette that was first planted to wine grapes in 1979. Twenty years later, it was acquired by Robert Pamplin Jr., a somewhat larger-than-life Oregon businessman, farmer, minister, author, entrepreneur, and founder of thePortland Tribune, a twice-weekly, controlled-circulation newspaper. It was then so completely refocused qualitatively that it was renamed, though the Château Benoit moniker has been retained to designate a second label. Thirteen acres of pinot noir (UCD 4 and Dijon 115) were planted on the winery site between 1999 and 2004,...

  18. ARCADIAN WINERY Santa Ynez, California
    (pp. 21-24)

    Joseph Davis, the eldest son of a Monterey, California, fishing family, financed his college education at the University of Puget Sound through the combination of an athletic scholarship and work in Tacoma’s Vinoteque wine shop. The latter was seminal. For Christmas in 1982, one of the shop’s loyal customers gave Davis a bottle of 1978 Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche. Davis remembers that the wine was so impressive that it dictated his choice of career. Following graduate extension work in enology at UC Davis, ten vintages at morgan winery in Salinas, and a year’s stint as acting president of...

  19. ARCHERY SUMMIT ESTATE Dundee, Oregon
    (pp. 24-27)

    Archery Summit was Gary Andrus’s first Oregon-centered and pinot-oriented wine venture, begun in 1992. Andrus had discovered wine during travels related to his first career as an Olympian and professional skier. He worked harvests in Bordeaux when it was too warm to ski in the northern hemisphere, studied enology at Montpellier in France, and used the proceeds from his share in the Copper Mountain, Colorado, ski resort to finance the purchase of Pine Ridge Winery in Napa Valley, which was his inaugural wine project. Eventually drawn by the challenge of pinot noir, finding that he liked Oregon pinots best in...

  20. ARGYLE WINERY Dundee, Oregon
    (pp. 27-29)

    Argyle, on Dundee’s main drag, occupying a combination of a former filbert processing plant and centenary frame house that served for a time as the town hall, is the creation of Rollin Soles, its founder and winemaker, and Brian Croser, one of the most important figures in Australian wine. Soles is a born and raised Texan (he talks the talk and looks the part) who discovered wine in college, worked as a cellar rat in Switzerland, earned a master’s degree in enology at the University of California Davis, and worked in California for both Wente and Chateau Montelena—all before...

  21. AU BON CLIMAT Los Olivos, California
    (pp. 29-32)

    Jim Clendenen is one of the authentic pioneers of fine pinot noir in North America. Famous for his substantial physical stature, wild coiffure, occasionally outlandish dress, and outspoken opinions about winemaking and connoisseurship, he could more justifiably be appreciated for his fundamental enological and viticultural curiosity, his encyclopedic familiarity with the best makers in Burgundy and elsewhere (built on a gregarious personality and fluent French), and his uncompromising craftsmanship. Born in Ohio to (by his own description) “gastronomically impoverished parents during the culinary Dark Ages of the American 1990s,” Clendenen studied prelaw at the University of California Santa Barbara, played...

  22. AUGUST WEST WINE Sebastopol, California
    (pp. 32-33)

    August West is a partnership of Howard Graham, a retired Silicon Valley financial executive who was most recently the CFO for Siebel Systems; Gary Franscioni, a Salinas Valley farmer involved with wine grapes since 1996 (see roar wines); and Ed Kurtzman, the winemaker at testarossa vineyards from 1999 to 2002. Graham was an early investor in Testarossa, and remains a member of its board of directors. Kurtzman is an alumnus of Bernardus (in Carmel Valley) and chalone, where he worked from 1995 to 1998; he is also the winemaker for freeman vineyard and winery. Founded in 2002, August West is...

  23. B. KOSUGE WINES Napa, California
    (pp. 33-34)

    Byron Kosuge, a Davis-trained enologist who began college as an English major, worked for a decade at saintsbury, then amassed intercontinental experience making mostly pinot noir and syrah in California (see the miura profile for additional information) and Chile, where he is the winemaker for Kingston Family Vineyards in the Casablanca Valley. He launched his own wine brand in 2004. The B. Kosuge portfolio is focused on coastal California north of San Francisco, and primarily on pinot noir, with syrah cast in a supporting role.

    In 2004, there were three pinots, one called “The Shop,” crafted from a three-acre vineyard...

    (pp. 34-37)

    In 1978, the same year that Bryan Babcock entered Occidental College in Los Angeles, his parents purchased 110 acres of ranchland on Highway 246 between Buellton and Lompoc as a retreat from careers in dentistry and restaurants. Two years later, having observed the preoccupations of their new neighbors, the Babcocks converted 25 acres of their ranch to vineyard. When Bryan graduated from college in 1982, the lure of the vineyard was strong enough to overcome his fascination with “ideas, goods, services, and the marketplace.” He abandoned the idea of earning an MBA and enrolled instead at the University of California...

  25. BAILEYANA WINERY San Luis Obispo, California
    (pp. 37-38)

    For most of the twentieth century, the Niven family operated a chain of retail grocery stores covering most of northern California, from Fort Bragg to Fresno. Under increasing pressure from larger chains in the 1960s, Purity Stores was first downsized, and then liquidated, as the family turned its sights to new opportunities. Agriculture appealed generally; viticulture appealed in particular. Advisers from the University of California Davis and California State University Fresno, hired by the family in 1969 to survey viticultural opportunities up and down the California coast, were especially bullish about the Edna Valley’s potential for ultrapremium wine grapes. On...

  26. BEAULIEU VINEYARD Rutherford, California
    (pp. 38-40)

    Beaulieu, the iconic wine estate founded by Georges de Latour at the turn of the last century, has been involved albeit peripherally in the story of American pinot noir ever since. A good deal of folklore has grown up around the record, however, and certain key information is not known for sure. What is known is described in Chapters Three and Four ofNorth American Pinot Noirand summarized here for convenience.

    First, although pinot noir was planted and bearing in Beaulieu’s Rutherford vineyards before Prohibition, the origin of the plant material is not documented. De Latour’s early interest in...

  27. BEAUX FRÈRES Newburg, Oregon
    (pp. 40-42)

    Beaux Frères is a well-known, all-pinotnoir project owned by Michael Etzel; his world-famous (in wine circles) brother-in-law, Robert M. Parker Jr.; and a Canadian wine lover and investor named Robert Roy. It is in the newly minted Ribbon Ridge AVA of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Etzel and his wife found the property, which was then an 88-acre pig and dairy farm, in 1986. The first 5 acres of vines were planted in 1988, and the first fruit, harvested two years later, was sold to ken wright and ponzi vineyards. Etzel, who was then working for Ponzi as a cellar rat, was...

  28. BELLE GLOS Rutherford, California
    (pp. 42-43)

    Charles F. Wagner’s family has farmed in the Napa Valley for more than a century. The family planted riesling, pinot noir, and cabernet sauvignon on a ranch east of Rutherford in the 1960s, sold grapes to neighboring wineries, and founded Caymus Vineyards in 1972. Caymus’s reputation for distinctive, concentrated, and ageworthy wines was built on the cabernet—especially a bottling called Special Selection that debuted in 1975. The Wagners abandoned their riesling in 1987, and their pinot noir (which gave relatively large-framed, low-acid wines on the Rutherford site) in 1990. The family’s enthusiasm for pinot persisted, however, perhaps in honor...

    (pp. 43-45)

    Brian O’Donnell’s first career, in the late 1970s and 1980s, involved product marketing for some of the companies—including Intel and Xerox—that built the global reputation of Silicon Valley and birthed the personal computing revolution. Some evenings and weekends, however, O’Donnell took courses about wine, and he made wine and beer in his San Jose garage. Through the local home wine- and beer-making crowd, he met Rick Moshin, a grape grower in the Russian River Valley; an early batch of O’Donnell’s home wine was vinted from Moshin’s 1987 harvest of pinot noir. (Commercially, Moshin’s grapes were sold to davis...

  30. BELLE VALLÉE CELLARS Corvallis, Oregon
    (pp. 45-46)

    Joe Wright moved from high school in Southern California to the wine business in Oregon via work in a Glenwood Springs, Colorado, wine shop, where he absorbed wine information voraciously. After attending a seminar presented by Kevin Chambers, then president of the Oregon Wine Board, at the Little Nell Restaurant in nearby Aspen, Wright was so firmly hooked that he packed his bags for the Willamette Valley, landed a cellar rat job at willamette valley vineyards, and continued his vinous education on what the trade calls “the production side of the house.” In the course of six years at Willamette...

  31. BENTON-LANE WINERY Monroe, Oregon
    (pp. 47-48)

    In the 1980s Steve Girard owned a winery and vineyard his father had planted at the corner of the Oakville Cross Road and the Silverado Trail in the Napa Valley. Enamored of pinot but unable to grow it well in mid-valley Napa, Girard studied the alternatives. His assessment of climates, exposures, and soils led him to settle on the southern Willamette Valley, between Eugene and Corvallis, which he considered to be the “ideal” spot. In 1988 he purchased several hundred acres of southeast-facing sheep ranch in the lee of a mountain, known locally as Old Baldy, near the town of...

  32. BERAN VINEYARDS Hillsboro, Oregon
    (pp. 48-49)

    In the 1970s Bill Beran was a physicist at Tektronix Inc., a Beaverton, Oregon, firm best known for test and measurement equipment, and a home winemaker. In 1979 Beran and his wife, Sharon, moved to a farm 8 miles south of Hillsboro, Oregon, where they planted a small vineyard. About 3 acres were dedicated to own-rooted pinot noir, 1.5 acres to riesling, and 1.5 to chardonnay, all acquired from erath vineyards’s nursery. Sometime later, they discovered that their farm was also home to another acre of pinot, subsequently identified ampelographically as UCD 2A, planted in 1972, that had been abandoned...

  33. BERGSTRÖM WINES Newburg, Oregon
    (pp. 49-51)

    Josh Bergström was an undergraduate at the University of Oregon in 1996, majoring in business, when his parents decided to leave Portland, where Josh had been raised, to retire in, of all places, Dundee. Bergstrom describes his parents as “professional amateurs” in vinous matters, suddenly taken with the idea of a vineyard as a retirement project. As for himself, Bergström confesses to having an underlying “artistic temperament” that attracted him to such things as photography and probably contraindicated his planned-for career in business. Simultaneously, it seems, father and son applied themselves to wine. They made overnight driving trips to the...

    (pp. 51-53)

    Bethel Heights is a 75-acre site on the west slope of the Eola Hills, just north of Bethel Road and south of the Temperance Hill Vineyard. It represents one of the earliest vineyard plantings in the Eola Hills (the first acres of vines were set out in 1977), and a durable hands-on partnership of five individuals variously related by blood and marriage. It is a pioneer in sensible and sustainable viticulture and is one of the most respected producers of pinot noir in the state. The estate vineyard is just shy of 50 planted acres—an undulating rectangle roughly bisected...

  35. BOUCHAINE VINEYARDS Napa, California
    (pp. 53-55)

    Bouchaine Vineyards occupies an historic structure on Buchli Station Road in Los Carneros that was built in 1899 as the Garetto Winery. The building has been operated continuously as a winery ever since, even during Prohibition, when it was used to produce sacramental wine. Beringer Brothers used the premises as a racking and blending facility between 1951 and 1980, but sold it to a Delaware-based partnership headed by Gerret and Tatiana Copeland in 1981. Known first as Château Bouchaine, it was rechristened Bouchaine Vineyards shortly after the Copelands became sole owners in 1991. The couple are serious Francophiles who have...

    (pp. 55-56)

    Terry Brandborg, a San Francisco warehouseman and longshoreman, began winemaking as a hobby in 1975 and founded Brandborg Cellars, duly bonded, in 1986, in a Marin County, California, garage. That year, he produced 300 cases of riesling, chardonnay, zinfandel, and pinot noir from Anderson Valley fruit. Production increased gradually to 1,000 cases by 1990—at which point production outgrew the garage—and then to 2,500 cases made in leased space near Point Richmond in 1991. The pinot produced in this period was sourced from the Bien Nacido Vineyard in Santa Maria, and from several Russian River Valley sites. In 2001...

  37. BREGGO CELLARS Boonville, California
    (pp. 56-58)

    Breggo Cellars is the creation of Douglas Ian Stewart and Ana Lucia Benìtez-Stewart—he a child of Sonoma, a one-time middle school teacher, the author of a book about small-scale farming in the Brazilian Amazon, and a proprietor of an ice creamery in San Francisco; she an Equadorian who once worked as a park ranger in the Galapagos and as a fundraiser for Galapagos-based research and protection. In 2000, having searched across northern California for affordable land well suited for a vineyard, Stewart purchased a 200-acre sheep ranch in the Anderson Valley between Boonville and Philo, where he and Ana...

  38. BREWER-CLIFTON Lompoc, California
    (pp. 58-60)

    Brewer-Clifton is a micro-producer dedicated to a simple, pure protocol. It crafts single-vineyard wines from Santa Barbara sources (now almost entirely Sta. Rita Hills) that are farmed identically, and it employs identical methods and treatments on all its wines. At least in theory this protocol eliminates all factors that could obscure each vineyard’s unique fingerprint. Furthermore, a key feature of the protocol is 100 percent whole-cluster fermentations, which are now greatly out of favor almost everywhere, except among hardcore traditionalists in Burgundy.

    Greg Brewer is a former French instructor at the University of California Santa Barbara, who reinvented himself as...

  39. BRICK HOUSE WINE COMPANY Newburg, Oregon
    (pp. 60-62)

    Doug Tunnell’s first career, in television news, involved postings in Bonn and Paris, among other places, in the 1980s. In an hour on the autobahn, he could get from Bonn to vineyards in the Ahr, Mosel, and Rheingau; an hour by high-speed train took him from Paris to Burgundy. He grew passionate about wine. When he learned that BurgundynégociantRobert Drouhin had purchased land in Oregon, a stone’s throw from Tunnell’s grandfather’s farm outside McMinnville, Tunnell resolved to forsake television news, to return to his Oregon roots, and to reinvent himself as a grape grower. In 1989 he purchased...

    (pp. 62-65)

    Craig Broadley’s conversion from a career in book publishing and distribution to serious, small-scale winemaking began in the early 1970s and revolved around an unlikely trio of institutions: Berkeley’s legendary Chez Panisse restaurant, San Francisco’s City Lights bookstore and publishers, and Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant. At Chez Panisse, just a block from home, the Broadleys developed a taste for food and wine. Kermit Lynch’s Burgundies, from makers who were just beginning to break withnégociantsand bottle their own wines, became favorites. And City Lights, Broadley’s employer, was amenable to a book-distribution scheme based not in San Francisco but in...

  41. BROGAN CELLARS Healdsburg, California
    (pp. 65-66)

    Margi Williams Wierenga is the daughter of williams selyem’s co-founder Burt Williams. She was a teenager when her father and Ed Selyem launched theirgaragisteproject, and she was working for Williams Selyem as a salaried employee when it was sold in 1988. Rather than take a position “within the corporate environment,” she launched her own brand, named for her paternal grandmother. The first vintage, in 1998, consisted of zinfandel, chardonnay, and pinot noir from Lone Redwood Ranch on Laughlin Road at the south edge of the Sonoma County Airport, and some semillon sourced from the northern part of Sonoma...

  42. BUENA VISTA CARNEROS Sonoma, California
    (pp. 66-67)

    Buena Vista is one of the oldest names in California wine, having been created in 1857, when the famous—and also infamous—Colonel Agoston Haraszthy abandoned his effort to grow vines at Crystal Springs on the San Francisco peninsula; he established himself and his project in Sonoma instead, where it attracted considerable attention. The vineyards, which were then northeast of Sonoma in the foothills of the Mayacamas Range, succumbed thereafter to phylloxera, and the brand lapsed until it was acquired in 1941 by Frank Bartholomew, a San Francisco newspaperman.

    In 1968 Bartholomew sold the historic stone winery and the Buena...

  43. BYRON VINEYARD AND WINERY Santa Maria, California
    (pp. 67-70)

    Byron is an exceptionally complicated piece of California’s recent wine business history. It began life in 1984 when a partnership driven by Byron Kent Brown (see ken brown wines) and several partners purchased a small, 10-acre parcel adjacent to the historic Tepusquet Vineyard, built a barn-like, wood-shingle winery in time for that year’s harvest, and planted a few acres of chardonnay. Although Brown and his partners focused on both major Burgundian varieties, they did not grow pinot noir until much later. Instead, from 1984 through 1989, they purchased their pinot grapes from neighboring Tepusquet, from Sierra Madre (about 7 miles...

  44. CALERA WINE COMPANY Hollister, California
    (pp. 70-73)

    Josh Jensen, a Bay Area dentist’s son who discovered good Burgundy while reading for a master’s degree in anthropology at Oxford, is one of the authentic pioneers of pinot noir in North America. Convinced from the outset that “dirt, low yield, and barrels” were the keys to great pinot, and passionately dedicated to the proposition that the right dirt was the same limestonerich soil that underlies the slopes of the Côte d’Or, Jensen chose the loneliest course of any North American pioneer. Because there is very little limestone in California, his Calera Wine Company was, until very recently, many miles...

  45. CAMBRIA WINERY AND VINEYARD Santa Maria, California
    (pp. 74-75)

    The Tepusquet Bench, the farmable benchland at the base of the San Rafael Mountains overlooking the Sisquoc River, has been the pounding heart of Santa Barbara wine country since the 1960s. The first vines were planted at the southeast end of the bench, in 1964, by Uriel Nielson and Bill DeMattei, two friends and former viticulture majors from the University of California Davis. A second and much larger investment was made in 1972 by Louis and George Lucas, table grape farmers from the Central Valley, who developed more than 1,000 acres of vineyards in the central portion of the bench,...

  46. CAMERON WINERY Dundee, Oregon
    (pp. 75-77)

    John Paul began his professional life with a doctorate in oceanography and a staff research job in plant biochemistry. His winemaking career commenced, a bit later, with the 1978 crush at sokol blosser winery, followed by four years at Carneros Creek, some time “kicking around” in Burgundy, and six months in New Zealand. If he had not been completely preoccupied with pinot noir at the outset, there was a conclusive epiphany in 1979, when Paul was invited to a tasting of the 1976 wines from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. He remembers that “the wines were so gorgeous that I couldn’t...

  47. CAMPION WINES Napa, California
    (pp. 78-79)

    Larry Brooks, a Rutgers University graduate who majored in botany, minored in art history, and continued his life sciences training in plant pathology at the University of California Davis, more or less stumbled into winemaking at the end of the 1970s when Michael Richmond, acacia winery’s founder and evangelist, hired him as a cellar rat. In the three decades since, however, few individuals have accumulated more handson experience with California pinot noir. His fingerprints, as Acacia’s winemaker, are on at least nineteen vintages. Then, as a senior executive for Acacia’s parent, the Chalone Wine Group, he invented the Echelon program...

  48. CAPIAUX CELLARS Angwin, California
    (pp. 79-81)

    The son of a French-born plasma physicist, raised in California’s Silicon Valley, Sean Capiaux remembers that table wine was always a staple when the family dined. When the time came, as a high school senior, to pick a college, a major, and (ultimately) a career, Capiaux chose California State University Fresno and majored in enology, minoring in chemistry. When he graduated in 1989, he first worked at Jordan Vineyards and Winery in the Alexander Valley and then spent a harvest at Houghton Winery in West Australia, as well as two years as assistant winemaker for Gary Andrus’s Pine Ridge Winery,...

  49. CARABELLA VINEYARD Wilsonville, Oregon
    (pp. 81-82)

    Mike Hallock was a petroleum engineer working in Denver when an unusual “urban” winery called Columbine Cellars opened its doors there in 1992, using grapes farmed primarily in western Colorado. The winery failed, but not before Hallock had volunteered to help the winemaker, taken a few courses at the University of California in his spare time, and made Columbine’s final (1994) vintage of cabernet, chardonnay, and merlot by himself. In 1995 Hallock and his wife purchased a vineyard site in Oregon, on the southeast face of Parrett Mountain, a spur of the Chehalem Mountains already “settled” by a few grapegrowers...

  50. CASA CARNEROS Napa, California
    (pp. 82-83)

    Casa Carneros is the personal pinot noir project of Melissa Moravec, winemaker at Carneros Creek until 2001, and her husband, Kurt Reaume. It is 7 acres of vineyard on Bayview Avenue in the southeastern corner of the Carneros appellation, planted in 1989. The flagshaped parcel consists of about fifty rows running north–south on a gentle south-facing slope, commanding an impressive view of San Pablo Bay. The top of the property is so heavily strewn with rock that Moravec describes grape growing in this section as “nearly hydroponic”; the bottom of the vineyard is Haire clayloam. Now perfectly manicured and...

  51. CASTLE ROCK WINERY Palos Verdes Estates, California
    (pp. 83-84)

    Castle Rock is the brainchild of Greg Popovich, the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs basketball team, a reputed wine connoisseur, and a significant player in many aspects of the California wine scene. He is also a key investor in a to z wineworks. In sales terms, Castle Rock, founded in 1994, was the twenty-ninth largest wine company in the country by 2005 and probably ranks higher now, having increased its sales by an estimated 80 percent from 2005 to 2007. Very atypically for a large-volume brand, more than half of its production is pinot noir: 206,000 cases of...

  52. CHALONE VINEYARD Soledad, California
    (pp. 84-87)

    When the son of a French homesteader planted the first wine grapes in the isolated, chaparral-covered highlands southeast of Soledad in the 1890s, his choice was no stranger than the vineyard enterprises undertaken by scores of other French, Italian, German, and even English immigrants to the Golden State. Lucien Charles Tamm’s vineyard was less than 6 miles as the crow flies from Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, where vines had been planted a century earlier. By 1860, as commercial winemaking replaced the original mission vineyards, more than 50,000 vines had been planted in Monterey County as a whole. But...

  53. CHATEAU ST. JEAN Kenwood, California
    (pp. 87-88)

    Founded in 1974 by a trio of central valley table grape farmers, and entrusted from the outset to its legendary founding winemaker and first employee Dick Arrowood, Chateau St. Jean established an enviable reputation during the 1980s for a large family of intense and finely crafted single-vineyard chardonnays (and other white wines) sourced from vineyards throughout Sonoma County. Ten years after its founding, the brand was sold to Suntory International. In 1986 Arrowood and his wife established a separate personal wine project, and in 1990 he left Chateau St. Jean to pursue his own project full time. The brand was...

  54. CHEHALEM WINES Newberg, Oregon
    (pp. 88-91)

    Harry Peterson-Nedry, a North Carolina—born chemist whose first career was centered in high-tech manufacturing, created the Chehalem brand in 1990 to market wines made from his family’s Ridgecrest estate on Ribbon Ridge. Chehalem’s first wine was the 1990 vintage of Ridgecrest Pinot Noir, released in 1993. Also in 1993, Willamette Valley natives Bill and Cathy Stoller became co-owners of Chehalem, and in 1995 the partners purchased the former Veritas Winery, on Highway 99W just northeast of Newberg, for use as their production facility. Vintages before 1995 had been made in a 1,000-square-foot brick outbuilding adjacent to Peterson-Nedry’s home in...

  55. CLOS DE LA TECH Woodside, California
    (pp. 91-93)

    Thurman John (T. J.) Rodgers, a Dartmouth College graduate who invented benchmark technology for microchips while he was a graduate student at Stanford—and who later founded Cypress Semiconductor Corporation, a hugely successful producer of chip-based sensors, controllers, clocks, and related devices for companies ranging from Apple to Daimler-Chrysler—is also a passionate aficionado of red Burgundy and the proprietor of an all-pinot project in the Santa Cruz Mountains called, aptly if not euphonically, Clos de la Tech. Rodgers entered the pinot business in 1994 when he and his wife Valeta Massey planted a single acre at their Woodside, California,...

  56. CLOS DU VAL WINE COMPANY Napa, California
    (pp. 93-95)

    Clos Du Val, co-founded by the son of a Bordeauxrégisseurand dedicated from the outset to cabernet sauvignon, was nonetheless a near-pioneer in Carneros, purchasing 180 acres of bare ranchland on Old Sonoma Road in the northeast corner of the appellation as early as 1973. The property, originally called Gran Val but later renamed Carneros Vineyard, remained undeveloped for seven years; however, the first pinot noir was not planted there until 1981. A total of 11.6 acres were planted to pinot between 1981 and 1984: first to a field selection said to have come from the joseph swan vineyard,...

  57. CLOS LACHANCE WINERY San Martin, California
    (pp. 95-96)

    When Bill Murphy was a senior executive with the Hewlett-Packard Corporation in California’s Silicon Valley in the 1980s, he thought a few acres of vineyard would be a “swell” way to landscape part of his large backyard in the hills above Saratoga. Five years later, with some “estate” chardonnay that was “good enough to sell,” Murphy and his wife established Clos LaChance (LaChance is Brenda Murphy’s maiden name), moved first into rented space in the historic Novitiate Winery in Los Gatos, and then to a custom-designed and custom-built facility in the heart of the CordeValle Resort in San Martin, in...

  58. COBB WINES Occidental, California
    (pp. 96-97)

    The 1,200-foot ridge between Occidental and Bodega Bay, south of the Russian River’s mouth, has been an object of interest for pinotphiles ever since Scott Zeller planted his Summa Vineyard on Taylor Lane in 1980. First Williams Selyem—and then other makers—transformed Summa grapes into fine, head-turning wines, in spite of the risks associated with harvests that often stretched into November. In 1989, David Cobb, a marine biologist with San Francisco Bay Area roots whose prior hands-on viticultural experience was a backyard vineyard in Mill Valley, planted 5 acres of pinot noir on Fitzpatrick Lane, about 1 mile from...

    (pp. 97-99)

    The man behind Cooper Mountain Vineyards is Robert Gross, a New Yorker educated in the South and a psychiatrist, homeopath, and acupuncturist who is said to have discovered Oregon because he was in love with pinot noir. In 1978 Gross and his wife Corinne hand-planted 20 acres of pinot noir, pinot gris, and chardonnay on the west slope of Cooper Mountain, a old volcanic cone southwest of Beaverton, in the middle (more or less) of the Tualatin Valley. For some years they sold the fruit, which was coveted by neighboring winemakers; in 1985, with Rich Cushman as their consulting winemaker,...

  60. COPAIN WINE CELLARS Santa Rosa, California
    (pp. 99-100)

    Wells Guthrie, who began his wine career as the tasting coordinator forWine Spectator, lived two years in the Rhône Valley (working for Chapoutier and gleaning wisdom from Jean-Louis Chave) before launching his own California label and custom-crush service in 1999. In between, he worked for one year with Helen Turley at her brother’s winery in Napa, where he learned “a lot” but discovered that his own tastes and style had little in common with Turley’s predilection for “hot fruit” and “oak-driven wines.” Guthrie admits that the Rhône Valley is his first and truest love, but Copain has also produced...

  61. COSTA DE ORO WINERY Santa Maria, California
    (pp. 100-102)

    Gary Burk’s family, in a durable partnership with the Espinola family, has grown greenhouse tomatoes and various field crops near Santa Maria since 1978. In 1989, while Burk was in Los Angeles pursuing his quite separate career in music performance, the family diversified into wine grapes, planting 30 acres about 6 miles east of Santa Maria, not far from the confluence of the Sisquoc, Cuyama, and Santa Maria rivers. In 1993, when Burk returned home for his sister’s wedding to Rick Manson, the areas most celebrated chef (Chef Rick’s restaurant is in Orcutt, just south of Santa Maria), he met...

  62. CRISTOM VINEYARDS Salem, Oregon
    (pp. 102-104)

    Cristom was created in 1992 when Pennsylvanians Paul and Eileen Gerrie purchased an abandoned vineyard and failing winery on Spring Valley Road, on the eastern side of the Eola Hills. The Gerries recruited Steve Doerner, who was then winemaker at Josh Jensen’s calera wine company to pursue their ambitions with Burgundian varieties. Doerner, a biochemist trained at the University of California Davis, who recalls that he was “only mildly curious about wine” when he was hired at Calera, is still Cristom’s winemaker a decade and a half later.

    The first wines were made entirely from purchased fruit sourced from well-known...

  63. CUVAISON ESTATE WINES Napa, California
    (pp. 104-105)

    Cuvaison, founded in 1969 by two Silicon Valley engineers, is now in its fourth life. In the first, under the ownership of its founders, it produced wines from the original estate vineyard on the Silverado Trail, south of Calistoga. In the second, from 1974 to 1979, its owner was New York publisher Oakleigh Thorne, whose winemaker, Philip Togni (see chalone vineyard) attracted attention with “eccentric” wines. From around 1980 to the turn of the millennium, the brand invested seriously in Carneros and developed a fine reputation (especially for chardonnay) with winemaking under the charge of John Thatcher and ownership in...

  64. DAVID BRUCE WINERY Saratoga, California
    (pp. 105-107)

    David Bruce, the son of staunch teetotalers and a dermatologist by profession, has been a person of note in American pinot for more than half a century. Bruce says he discovered wine through an interest in cooking while he was a medical student at Stanford University in the 1950s. “I first tasted wine,” he explained in an interview with wine historian Charles Sullivan, “to see if it really was fit to enjoy with food.” Bruce then bought the relatively few trade books about wine that were available at the time. Alexis Lichine’s description of Richebourg inThe Wines of France...

  65. DAVIS BYNUM WINES Healdsburg, California
    (pp. 107-109)

    Davis Bynum Wines, the second eponymous wine project of San Francisco journalist Davis Bynum, operated as a hands-on, family-run business from its founding in 1973 until the brand and its remaining inventory were sold in 2007 to rodney strong vineyards, America’s twenty-third largest wine company. In 1965, Bynum, who had judged wine for the California State Fair and the Los Angeles County Fair and who had made wine at home, opened a storefront facility in Albany, California, where he made some wines from scratch, blended and bottled others, and sold a large percentage of his product in gallon and half-gallon...

  66. DAVIS FAMILY VINEYARDS Healdsburg, California
    (pp. 109-111)

    Guy Davis has touched wine from almost every angle. While putting himself through college in the early 1980s, he worked evenings at a French restaurant in Seattle where, after he sent out the last meal to the dining room and cooked the after-service staff supper, he shared very good bottles, and life-altering conversation, with the restaurant’s French owners. At the end of the 1980s, after a stint selling securities, Davis became a wine buyer in Sonoma County. During that time, he worked a harvest at Lore Olds’s Sky Vineyards on the top of Mount Veeder, where he discovered that “nurturing...

  67. DE LOACH VINEYARDS Santa Rosa, California
    (pp. 111-113)

    Cecil De Loach, a Georgian by birth, an urban anthropologist by training, and a firefighter for most of his life by occupation, purchased a 24-acre ranch on Olivet Road northwest of Santa Rosa in 1969, primarily as a place to retire. Much of the property had been planted sixty years earlier to zinfandel vines, however. De Loach learned to farm these, relying on word-of-mouth instruction from the ranch’s previous owner and on extension courses taken at the University of California Davis. Subsequently, as the “wine thing” began to consume De Loach and his wife, they purchased additional land nearby, planted...

  68. DEHLINGER WINERY Sebastopol, California
    (pp. 113-117)

    When Tom Dehlinger graduated from the University of California Berkeley in 1969 with a degree in biochemistry, he and his family assumed he would follow his parents into a career in medicine. But Dehlinger was not sure about medical school and thought he might like doing a bit of lab work instead, at least until he could sort his options thoughtfully. When he approached Napa and Sonoma wineries about working at their in-house labs, he was advised to obtain a proper background in enology first. So in August 1970, he explored the graduate program offered at the university’s Davis campus,...

  69. DIERBERG VINEYARD and THREE SAINTS Santa Ynez, California
    (pp. 117-118)

    Jim Dierberg is a Missourian, a lawyer, and banker, who credits his interest in wine (which also includes the cross- and hybrid-based Hermannhof Winery west of St. Louis in the Missouri River Valley) to his mother, who had Frenchvigneronroots. Turning his sights toward true vinifera in the 1990s, Dierberg purchased a 20,000-acre ranch in Happy Canyon, in the warm east end of the Santa Ynez Valley in the 1990s, and began planting cabernet sauvignon there in 1997. That same year, he acquired a second parcel well suited for pinot noir—165 acres on the south side of Orcutt...

  70. DOMAINE ALFRED San Luis Obispo, California
    (pp. 118-120)

    Domaine Alfred is Terry Spizer’s restoration of Chamisal, Edna Valley’s oldest vineyard, on Orcutt Road about 4 miles southeast of the San Luis Obispo city limits. In 1972 Norman Goss, a classical musician turned restaurateur, who owned the Stuffed Shirt restaurants in Pasadena and Newport Beach, had worked with Uriel Nielson (see byron vineyard and winery) to plant 30,000 vines at Chamisal just weeks before the Niven family planted their first vines at Paragon Vineyard. Spizer, a veteran of the sales and marketing side of Silicon Valley’s semiconductor business and founder of several electronics companies, acquired the property in 1994....

  71. DOMAINE CARNEROS Napa, California
    (pp. 120-121)

    Domaine Carneros occupies a 138-acre ranch at the corner of Duhig Road and the Carneros Highway. First planted to vines in 1982 by the Allen family of Sequoia Grove Vineyards, with advice from Tony Soter, the property was purchased in 1986 by a joint venture dedicated to Champagne-method sparkling wine, involving Champagne Taittinger and its American importer, Kobrand Corporation. The joint venture adopted the Domaine Carneros name; built an eye-catching if incongruous winery and visitors’ center modeled on the Château de la Marquetterie near Epernay, owned by the Taittinger family; and engaged Eileen Crane, a veteran of Domaine Chandon and...

    (pp. 121-124)

    BurgundynégociantRobert Drouhin has been involved with Oregon pinot noir almost from the outset—albeit unintentionally. Several Drouhin wines were among the pinots bested by the eyrie vineyards’s 1975 South Block Reserve when the latter was entered in a Paris tasting organized byGaultMillaumagazine in 1979. When Drouhin orchestrated a rematch the following year, presumably hoping to redeem the tarnished reputation of fine Burgundies, the Eyrie wine placed second in an all-Drouhin field. Five years later, Drouhin decided that Oregon might be just the place for his daughter, the first member of her family to be university trained...

  73. DOMAINE SERENE Dayton, Oregon
    (pp. 124-127)

    In the survey of restaurants, retailers, and reviewers used to select producers for coverage in these pages, Domaine Serene was the most visible American pinot brand of all. It was more visible than quite a few small-production icons and was present on a few more lists than even its most-visible competitors—neighboring domaine drouhin oregon, and talley vineyards and au bon climat in California—all three of which have longer histories. This will not surprise consumers who saw the full-page, full-color advertising in which Domaine Serene recently invested, but the advertising followed the visibility, not vice versa.

    This enormously successful...

  74. DUMOL WINE COMPANY Orinda, California
    (pp. 127-128)

    DuMol began modestly in 1996 when Max Gasiewicz, a Davis-trained winemaker who worked in the 1980s with Tonnellerie Radoux and in the 1990s for de loach vineyards, negotiated 5 tons of grapes from Warren Dutton’s Widdoes and Jewell vineyards for a personal wine project named for his children, Duncan and Molly. The passive investors in this venture were an East Bay businessman, Kerry Murphy, who had “retired” after “selling several companies,” and a Walnut Creek restaurateur, Michael Verlander. When Gasiewicz passed away unexpectedly after making just two vintages of DuMol—six barrels each of pinot noir and chardonnay in 1996...

  75. DUNAH VINEYARD AND WINERY Sebastopol, California
    (pp. 128-130)

    After Rick and Diane DuNah sold their electronic components manufacturing company (the main products were backlit liquid crystal displays) in 1992, they purchased 44 acres of apple orchard and horse pasture on a stunning hilltop southwest of Sebastopol. Although still active in the company they had sold, they contemplated retirement. With advice from Ted Lemon (see littorai wines) and John Ferrington (whose family had sold grapes from a respected Anderson Valley vineyard to williams selyem for many years), they considered growing grapes, even though they had had no previous experience.

    In 1996 both DuNahs enrolled in viticulture classes at Santa...

  76. DUSKY GOOSE Dundee, Oregon
    (pp. 130-131)

    In 1974 John Bauer began planting vineyard on a perfectly-sited, south-facing slope in the Dundee Hills, straddling the 500-foot contour, on the south side of Worden Hill Road. In the fashion of the day, he set out a bit of cabernet sauvignon, riesling, gamay, and chardonnay, and a bit more pinot noir than anything else. He named the vineyard for the Dundee Hills and sold grapes to an illustrious list of local producers, including adelsheim vineyard and rex hill winery. Twenty-eight years after the first vines were set out, Bauer sold the 17-acre parcel to Neil Goldschmidt, the former mayor...

  77. DUTTON-GOLDFIELD WINES Graton, California
    (pp. 131-133)

    Dutton-Goldfield is a fortuitous partnership between veteran winemaker Dan Goldfield and Steve Dutton, whose much-respected family owns and farms more than five dozen of the best vineyard parcels in western Sonoma County. Goldfield is a Philadelphian originally; his brother is said to have introduced him to pinot noir through a tasting of 1969 Burgundies. Trained first at Brandeis in chemistry and philosophy, and then at the University of California Davis, in enology, Goldfield worked at robert mondavi, Schramsberg, and la crema, then a small Petaluma-based chardonnay and pinot house. When La Crema was acquired by Kendall-Jackson in 1994, Goldfield went...

  78. EDNA VALLEY VINEYARD San Luis Obispo, California
    (pp. 133-135)

    In 1979, a marriage of convenience between Jack Niven (see baileyana wines) and Philip Woodward (see chalone vineyard) created a partnership called Edna Valley Vineyard. It happened as follows. In 1972 and 1973, Niven had planted Edna Valley’s first large commercial vineyard, called Paragon. In 1973 and 1974, Woodward had built a new, larger “modern” winery at Chalone to replace the repurposed chicken coop that had served there since 1965. In 1976 and 1977, just as cash was needed to pay for the new winery at Chalone, Mother Nature inflicted a monster drought on the Central Coast, which reduced Chalone’s...

  79. EL MOLINO WINERY St. Helena, California
    (pp. 135-137)

    Reginald Oliver’s childhood scoutmaster was George Cooper, a NASA test pilot who eventually founded Cooper-Garrod Estate vineyards near Saratoga, California. Under Cooper’s influence, Oliver purchased a wine press while he was still a teenager. Twenty-six years later, following a Wall Street career that gave him “time to think and read about wine, and the financial resources to afford La Tâche and other Burgundies,” he restored a tiny, nineteenth-century house and winery that had belonged to his aunt, 3 miles north of St. Helena. The venerable El Molino Winery was then repurposed to accomplish what nearly everyone else in mid-and upper-valley...

  80. ELK COVE VINEYARDS Gaston, Oregon
    (pp. 137-139)

    In 1974, when Joe and Pat Campbell bought the first piece of the property in the coastal foothills southwest of Gaston that is now home to Elk Cove Vineyards, they had agrarian pursuits in sight, but not necessarily wine. The property had originally been prune orchard and was then planted primarily to cherries. While there were no vineyards in the immediate area, a buzz about wine grapes emanated from the nearby Dundee Hills and from neighboring precincts in the Chehalem Mountains. And so, the Campbells planted grapes and began to make wine as soon as the vines began to bear...

  81. EMERITUS VINEYARDS Sebastopol, California
    (pp. 139-140)

    In the early 1990s, Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards, a hugely successful Sonoma-based, chardonnay-oriented producer, began to feel itself surrounded by pinot noir. Quietly, vineyard manager Kirk Lokka and winemaker Terry Adams planted 2 acres of pinot in a remote corner of the Cutrer Vineyard. A few years later, Brice Jones and the other principals approved a “stealth” project to vinify some of the pinot in-house, experimentally, in a converted shed about a mile from the chardonnay winery. Although no pinot was released under the Sonoma-Cutrer label until 2002, pinot noir was by then grown in all five of Sonoma-Cutrer’s vineyards. What was...

    (pp. 140-142)

    As Leon Adams (The Wines of America, 1978) tells the story, Dick Erath, then a California-based electronics engineer and home winemaker, purchased grapes from Richard Sommer’s vineyard near Roseburg during an Oregon vacation in 1967 and “took them home and made them into wine.” Within two years, Erath had taken winemaking classes at the University of California Davis, moved to Oregon (but settled farther north than Sommer, in search of cooler weather), purchased the site for his first vineyard on Chehalem Mountain, and planted no less than twenty-three varieties on 4 acres. Three years later, Erath made his first commercial...

  83. ESTERLINA VINEYARDS Healdsburg, California
    (pp. 142-144)

    Murio and Doris Sterling’s four sons, an exceptionally talented cohort with an impressive collection of college and advanced degrees, are all active players in Esterlina Vineyards, the family’s youngest business, which was founded in 2000. The family has roots in the Dominican Republic and has wide experience in farming and ranching in several venues—everything from row crops to cattle. In the 1990s, Murio and son Eric, a trauma physician in Santa Rosa, California, who had been increasingly drawn to the wine business that surrounded them, purchased a 30-acre cabernet vineyard in the Alexander Valley. Most of the grapes were...

  84. ETUDE WINES Napa, California
    (pp. 144-147)

    Etude was Tony Soter’s first personal wine project, launched in 1982. An alumnus of Stag’s Leap, Spring Mountain, and Chappelet, and with a formidable reputation as a consulting winemaker for some of Napa’s most exalted brands, Soter had become fascinated with pinot noir. He found it a “quixotic and unforgiving grape” that made wines with “transparency.” He sometimes characterized it as the “yin” to cabernet’s “yang.” And this made it, he argued, “the best vehicle for learning aboutallred wine.” Very deliberately and reflectively, he decided to call his project Etude, the French noun for a study, a case...

  85. EVESHAM WOOD WINERY Salem, Oregon
    (pp. 147-150)

    Russ Raney was in Germany on a collegiate study abroad program when he discovered wine. He subsequently apprenticed at Weingut Erbhof Tesch in Langenlonsheim, in the Nahe valley, just upstream from its confluence with the Rhine, and earned a degree in viticulture and enology from the state technical school of the Rhine Palatinate (Rheinpfalz), in Bad Kreuznach. After five years selling wines in St. Louis, Missouri, Raney and his wife moved to Portland and searched the Willamette Valley for sites well suited to the Burgundian and Alsatian varieties they preferred. In 1986 the Raneys launched Evesham Wood Winery, named for...

  86. THE EYRIE VINEYARDS McMinnville, Oregon
    (pp. 150-153)

    In 1965, armed with a degree from the University of California Davis, some observational experience in Burgundy, and convictions born of examining climates similar to Burgundy’s in the New World, David Lett—known to various people in the wine trade as “Papa Pinot”—planted the first few acres of pinot noir in Oregon’s Dundee Hills. In 1970 he made 115 cases of wine from his young vines, but the wine was so thin and pale that he called it Spring Wine rather than pinot, and sold it—with difficulty—for $2.65 a bottle. But just half a decade later, Lett...

  87. FAILLA WINES St. Helena, California
    (pp. 153-154)

    Ehren Jordan discovered wine while working as a part-time stock boy for a Washington, D.C., liquor store, while he pursued a bachelor’s degree in art history at George Washington University. Following the wine business to California via ski trails in Colorado, Jordan took a job in the tasting room at Joseph Phelps Winery in 1990. There, he found himself decreasingly interested in the business side of wine but increasingly fascinated with its production. In 1991 he tried his hand making wine, crushing a tiny lot of pinot noir given to him gratis by Angelo Sangiacomo. After this modest beginning, Jordan...

    (pp. 154-156)

    Nearly everyone who watched American television in the 1950s and 1960s was exposed to Fess Parker’s classic portrayals of the hero-frontiersmen Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone. Far fewer know that the actor had a hugely successful second career in California real estate development, including a major resort and hotel complex on the Santa Barbara waterfront and a 700-acre ranch in Foxen Canyon, where (among other things) he planted a small vineyard in 1989. Rather quickly, the small vineyard grew into a much larger enterprise involving purchased as well as estate grown fruit, a capacious production facility, and one of Santa...

  89. FIDDLEHEAD CELLARS Lompoc, California
    (pp. 156-159)

    Enology, for Kathy Joseph, was “an escape” from medical school. Headed toward medicine, she had a solid undergraduate background in microbiology and biochemistry. After she worked a summer in Simi Winery’s tasting room and learned tasting from the much-respected Zelma Long, her undergraduate work was repurposed as the foundation for a graduate degree in viticulture and enology. Following some early work experience at Long Vineyards and at Joseph Phelps Vineyards, as well as five vintages at the Robert Pecota Winery, Joseph created the Fiddlehead brand in 1989, dedicated to pinot noir and sauvignon blanc. Her business model was a 3,000-...

  90. FLOWERS VINEYARD AND WINERY Cazadero, California
    (pp. 159-162)

    Walt and Joan Flowers were veterans of the wholesale nursery business in Pennsylvania when they found themselves increasingly fascinated by wine. In the 1980s, when they traveled regularly from Pennsylvania to Oregon to inspect or purchase stock for their nursery, they began making side trips to Napa and Sonoma. They were enamored of red Burgundy and impressed by Jensen and Selleck pinots from Calera. When they finally decided they wanted to buy a vineyard, the love of pinot drew them west from Napa and Healdsburg to cool, pinot-friendly sites near the coast. In 1989 an advertisement inWine Spectatorfor...

  91. FLYING GOAT CELLARS Santa Ynez, California
    (pp. 162-164)

    Flying Goat Cellars is the personal pinot project of Norman Yost, a University of California Davis graduate in environmental science, who has made wine, or has helped to make wine, for a long list of vintners in the Dry Creek, Napa, Russian River, Willamette, and Santa Ynez valleys since 1981. Influenced by a former college roommate who majored in fermentation science, Yost’s wine career was launched with harvest work at E. & J. Gallo’s Frei Brothers Winery just months after graduation. Nine months later, he was the assistant winemaker at Napa’s Monticello Cellars, taking extension courses in viticulture and enology on...

    (pp. 164-165)

    Foley Estates Vineyard and Winery is one of two closely connected wineries created by William Foley II, the founder and chief executive officer of Fidelity National Financial Corporation, in 1996. The other is Lincourt Vineyards. Until 2003 both enterprises cohabited in a repurposed dairy farm on Alamo Pintado Road, near the hamlet of Ballard, that housed J. Carey Cellars from 1973 until the late 1980s. (Several years after the Firestone family purchased J. Carey, and then changed its name to Curtis Winery, the family sold the former Carey premises to Foley in 1995 and relocated Curtis to a new site...

  93. FORT ROSS VINEYARD San Francisco, California
    (pp. 165-167)

    As vineyards have shifted westward, from the inland coastal valleys and the lee side of the Coast Range to the true coastal valleys and the coast itself, the annals of California winegrowing have been littered with stories of would-be vintners advised not to plant because the site would be too cold or too remote, or because the whole project was just too crazy. It was no different when Lester and Linda Schwartz, both South Africans originally and San Franciscans by adoption, bought 969 precipitous acres south of Fort Ross, overlooking the Pacific, in 1988. As an undergraduate, he was trained...

  94. FOXEN VINEYARD AND WINERY Santa Maria, California
    (pp. 167-169)

    Foxen Vineyard and Winery was established in 1987 by Dick Doré and Bill Wathen on a corner of the horse and cattle ranch midway between Santa Maria and Los Olivos where Doré was raised. Doré, whose first career was in banking, had become enamored of wine when he and his family lived for eighteen months in Europe during the mid 1970s. Wathen, another native of the southern Central Coast, found his way to wine through a degree in fruit science from California State Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo, worked for Santa Barbara viticultural pioneers Louis Lucas and Dale Hampton,...

  95. FRANCIS TANNAHILL Dundee, Oregon
    (pp. 169-170)

    Francis Tannahill is the Lilliputian, highly personal, countertrend wine project (initially featuring the unlikely combination ofvin-de-paille–method gewürztraminer and syrah sourced from the extreme north and south ends of Oregon) started in 2001 by Cheryl Francis and Sam Tannahill. Francis was then the co-winemaker at chehalem, and Tannahill handled winemaking for archery summit estate. A year later, and having since become a married couple, Francis and Tannahill added pinot noir to their portfolio, while simultaneously forming a partnership with Bill and Debra Hatcher called a to z wineworks.(In effect, A to Z, which is a much larger operation, generates...

  96. FREEMAN VINEYARD AND WINERY Sebastopol, California
    (pp. 170-172)

    Ken Freeman’s fascination with wine is said to date from supervised childhood visits to Zachys, then morphing from a corner store in Scarsdale, New York, into one of the country’s premier wine merchants, and from trips through European wine lands when his parents traveled across the Atlantic. His wife, Akiko, the daughter of a distinguished Japanese academic family in love with wine and food, was exposed to similar infatuations growing up in Tokyo. After the couple met, married, and moved to San Francisco in 1988, the idea of establishing their own winery gained traction. A decade later, capital generated from...

  97. THE GAINEY VINEYARD Santa Ynez, California
    (pp. 172-173)

    The Gainey family owes its initial wealth to a successful Minneapolis-based business that makes and sells the yearbooks, class rings, and academic regalia with which schools and colleges celebrate their annual rites of passage; the family owes much of its orientation to a passion for breeding Arabian horses that began when Daniel C. Gainey (1897–1979) was given an Arabian pony at a corporate sales meeting. Both the business and the passion brought Gainey and his son to Santa Barbara in the 1950s. In 1962 father and son purchased an 1,800-acre ranch at the east end of the Santa Ynez...

  98. GARY FARRELL WINES Healdsburg, California
    (pp. 173-176)

    Gary Farrell created his eponymous wine brand in 1982, on a Lilliputian scale, while his full-time job was making wine for davis bynum wines. In fact, Farrell’s brand and Joe and Tom Rochioli’s brand (see rochioli vineyard and winery) were born simultaneously, from a single transaction, and Farrell was briefly the winemaker for both. Joe Rochioli Jr. had sold his entire crop of pinot noir to Davis Bynum from 1973 through 1981. In 1982, anticipating the construction of a winery on his own property, he asked that part of the crop be vinified under the Rochioli name, on a custom-crush...

    (pp. 176-179)

    Gloria Ferrer is the American wine project of Grup Freixenet, the well-regarded Penedès-basedcavaproducer whose Carta Nevada and Cordon Negro labels are known around the world. The Carneros project began in 1982, dedicated exclusively to champagne-method sparkling wine, which was made at Piper-Sonoma and at chateau st. jean until 1986. In 1983 and 1986, the Ferrer family bought two adjacent parcels on the western edge of the Carneros appellation and planted 200 acres of chardonnay and pinot noir between 1984 and 1989. Called the Home Ranch, the vineyards occupy mostly flat, clay-loam soils, irregularly laced with gravel and loamier,...

  100. GOLDENEYE and MIGRATION Philo, California
    (pp. 179-181)

    In the beginning, Dan Duckhorn was the king of merlot. Then, in the late 1980s, he and his wife began to realize they were being increasingly seduced, even at their own table, by the charms of pinot noir. Quietly, Duckhorn purchased small lots of pinot grapes from the Elke vineyards in Anderson Valley, and from Sonoma Mountain, and then made some experimental pinots that were not commercially released. He began to look for cool-climate property in Russian River. But when the Obester property, just southeast of Philo, came on the market in 1996, Duckhorn abandoned his Russian River search and...

  101. GREENWOOD RIDGE VINEYARDS Philo, California
    (pp. 181-183)

    When he is not involved with wine on his ridgetop ranch near Philo, Allan Green practices graphic design, plays center field on an over-50 baseball team named for the winery, and collects winecans. That’s right, wine cans. He is the son of Aaron G. Green, a San Francisco architect once affiliated with Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed the Greens’ house, winery, and tasting room; he is also the son of an anesthesiologist mother with an abiding interest in the health benefits of wine. His brother, a filmmaker, was the inadvertent catalyst for the family’s wine venture.

    Seized with enthusiasm...

  102. GUNDLACH BUNDSCHU WINERY Sonoma, California
    (pp. 183-185)

    Shortly after the end of Mexican rule in northern California in 1846, quite a few would-be vintners planted vineyards, and some also established wineries in and around Sonoma, the northernmost of the Franciscan missions. Some of the names are familiar, such as Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, who founded the town of Sonoma around the mission in 1834, and Agoston Haraszthy, the Hungarian nobleman who created buena vista. But the standout for persistence and durability among these pioneers was Jacob Gundlach, a Bavarian immigrant who had built a successful brewery in San Francisco at the beginning of the 1850s. In partnership with...

  103. GYPSY DANCER ESTATES Cornelius, Oregon
    (pp. 185-186)

    Gypsy Dancer is Gary Andrus’s second Oregon-based pinot noir project, created when he purchased the former Lion Valley Vineyards, in the Tualatin Valley southwest of Portland, in 2002. He had been absent from Oregon briefly in 2001 after the sale of archery summit, his first Oregon project, to Leucadia National, a New York investment house. Lion Valley’s vineyard was 12 acres planted in 1995, meter-by-meter, on south- and southeast facing slopes, in Laurelwood soils, to Dijon 114 and 115. Gypsy Dancer reports that some of the Lion Valley vines were subsequently grafted to Dijon 667 and 777, and to budwood...

  104. HALLECK VINEYARD Sebastopol, California
    (pp. 186-187)

    Ross Halleck, the founder of one of Silicon Valley’s premier marketing services agencies in the 1980s, expanded his business late in the decade to help wine producers enhance their brand identities. In addition to household-name technology giants such as Hewlett-Packard, 3Com, and Sun Microsystems, his client list grew to include the likes of iron horse, Beaulieu, St. Supery, and Kendall-Jackson. Bitten by the proverbial wine bug, Halleck and his wife, Jennifer, then planted a 1-acre pinot vineyard (Dijon 115, 667, and 777) on a steep slope behind their home west of Sebastopol in 1992 and 1993, to “serve as a...

  105. HAMACHER WINES Carlton, Oregon
    (pp. 187-189)

    Eric Hamacher is a 1960s child who discovered wine while his contemporaries were consuming six-packs of standard American beer. Raised on California’s Monterey Peninsula, he studied viticulture and enology at the University of California Davis in the 1980s. Because his roommate was an Oregonian, a few bottles of Oregon pinot noir infiltrated their regular weekly tastings of French Burgundies. In 1987 he worked the crush at rex hill vineyards and fell decisively in love with Oregon. “I saw,” he recalls, “Oregon’s incredible potential for pinot noir.” What was missing, he thought, was “consistency.” He liked what he calls Oregon’s “Wild...

  106. HAMEL WINES Healdsburg, California
    (pp. 189-190)

    Kevin Hamel earned a bachelor’s degree in fermentation science from the University of California Davis in 1978. Unconventionally, he began his career at Cockburn’s, in Portugal. From Cockburn’s he moved into wine retailing, managing the wine department of Corti Brothers Market in Sacramento for the legendary Daryl Corti; thence to wholesale wines sales; and finally to wine production, first at Santino Winery in the Sierra Foothills, and then at Preston Vineyards in Dry Creek Valley. At Preston he established an enviable reputation for nicely-crafted wines made from Rhône Valley grape varieties, which became his specialty. In 1994, while still it...

  107. HANDLEY CELLARS Philo, California
    (pp. 190-192)

    Milla Handley entered the University of California Davis intending to study art. Six years later, she graduated with a degree in fermentation science, one of the first such degrees awarded to a woman. After three years with the legendary Dick Arrowood at chateau st. jean, she moved to Anderson Valley in 1978, working first at Edmeades for Jed Steele. In 1982 she obtained a bond for the converted cellar in her house, northwest of Philo (now the premises for Claudia Springs Winery), and made 250 cases of Handley North Coast chardonnay from a combination of Mendocino and Dry Creek Valley...

  108. HANZELL VINEYARDS Sonoma, California
    (pp. 192-196)

    Hanzell occupies 200 acres in the foothills of the Mayacamas Range above Boyes Hot Springs to the west and Sonoma to the south. Often described as a “jewel” or “millionaire’s plaything,” Hanzell gives the impression of a well-manicured estate dedicated to gracious living, where the owners just happened to plant a few acres of vines. The original winery building was explicitly modeled on a courtyard façade in Burgundy’s Clos de Vougeot. Without this referent, it resembles an elegant, small barn, its entrances turned discreetly away from the “farm” and residence. James D. Zellerbach, a San Francisco forest products magnate, acquired...

  109. HARTFORD FAMILY WINERY Forestville, California
    (pp. 196-198)

    Hartford Family Winery (which did business as Hartford Court until 1999 and still uses the Hartford Court name on some bottlings) was created in 1994 by Don Hartford. Hartford, a son of strawberry farmers in western Massachusetts, once taught English as a second language in Spain, and then practiced law in San Jose, San Francisco, and Tokyo. He came to wine through the law and by marriage: his wife, Jennifer, is Jess Jackson’s daughter. Don, Jennifer, and Jennifer’s sister, Laura Jackson-Giron, own Hartford Family Winery, which is supported by Jackson Family Farms, an independent marketing, public relations, and vineyard management...

  110. WILLIAM HATCHER WINES Dundee, Oregon
    (pp. 198-199)

    This microboutique brand was created in 2001 when Bill Hatcher, a midwesterner and one-time director of strategic planning for May Department Stores, left domaine drouhin oregon, where he had spent fourteen years as the project’s chief architect and general manager, to begin a small business with his wife, Debra. William Hatcher Wines, known as Hatcher Wineworks until 2006, works with just a few dozen barrels of wine, many of which are eventually redirected into the A TO Z brand the Hatchers co-own with Cheryl Francis and Sam Tannahill. Each year, about sixteen barrels enter the Hatchers’ own program, where they...

  111. HIRSCH VINEYARDS Cazadero, California
    (pp. 199-200)

    In 1980 David Hirsch, a veteran of the clothing business with no background in wine, purchased 800 acres of remote, rugged, disused sheep ranch at the end of a dirt-trackcumroad, which was off the power grid, 8miles north of the Russian River and about 3 miles as the crow flies from the Pacific Coast. The site met his criteria for the antithesis of civilization, but given that coyotes had finished off the sheep, and that loggers had cut all the trees suitable for lumber, it was not clear what, if anything, could be done with the all-but-abandoned land....

  112. HITCHING POST WINES Santa Maria, California
    (pp. 201-203)

    In the 1970s, when Frank Ostini Jr. returned from college (he had studied environmental planning at the University of California Davis) to his family’s restaurant business in Casmalia, near Lompoc, he tended the restaurant’s bar. Having been around wine in college, conscious that northern Santa Barbara County was spawning vineyards and wineries with increasing speed, and looking for a creative way to have some fun, Ostini got the idea to improve the restaurant’s unimpressive list of basic Paul Masson varietals with good value, local wine that—in an unusual twist on the “house brand” story—he would make himself. In...

  113. HUSCH VINEYARDS Philo, California
    (pp. 203-205)

    When Tony Husch, a Harvard-educated urban planner, bought a 60-acre ranch in Anderson Valley in 1968, he retreated symbolically from the city to the land. When he then planted 22 of the 60 acres to gewürztraminer, chardonnay, and pinot noir, he unleashed a slow but remarkably durable revolution. Except for Donald Edmeades’s earlier block of gewürztraminer, these were the first plantings of the grape varieties destined to make the reputation of Anderson Valley. Three years later, having decided to make wine from his own grapes, he established Anderson Valley’s first bonded winery and made its first estate-bottled wine.

    Across thirty...

  114. INMAN FAMILY WINES Santa Rosa, California
    (pp. 205-207)

    Simon and Kathleen Inman’s story reads like a fairy tale. The couple met when he (an Englishman on vacation) visited the Napa Creek Winery’s tasting room where she (an art history major at the University of California Santa Barbara) had a summer job. A transatlantic courtship led to marriage, followed by fifteen years of living in Yorkshire and working in London, where she was a finance executive and he was a lawyer. Both were serious wine drinkers, however, and both developed a preference for pinot noir above all other wines. In 1998, with some self-confessed mixed emotions, they pulled up...

  115. IRON HORSE VINEYARDS Sebastopol, California
    (pp. 207-209)

    Iron Horse sits astride Green Valley Creek about 8 miles north of Sebastopol, far removed from most other stirrings in the Russian River valley until the 1990s, but now almost the epicenter of the pinot centric interest in Green Valley. The ranch was “discovered” in 1971 by Rodney Strong, whose Windsor Vineyards brand secured an option to buy it. Strong tapped Forrest Tancer, a Berkeley graduate who had grown up on a farm and vineyard in the Alexander Valley and had learned winemaking on the job at Windsor Vineyards, to redevelop the ranch as vineyard. When Windsor Vineyards was caught...

  116. J. K. CARRIÈRE Newburg, Oregon
    (pp. 209-211)

    Nearly everything about Jim Prosser, the thoughtful and well-spoken principal behind J. K. Carrière pinots, seems simultaneously deliberate, admirable, and unlikely. In the middle of the 1990s, he put his first career in real estate finance, along with its monetary perks and “designer Italian suits,” firmly behind him. Figuratively, he returned to his childhood roots in Bend, Oregon, where the family’s hardware business inspired him to reconsider vocations where one works with one’s “head and hands.” He explored professional cooking and winemaking.

    Once focused on wine, Prosser pursued it with systematic dedication, arranging internships with Oregon’s best producers, followed by...

  117. J VINEYARDS AND WINERY Healdsburg, California
    (pp. 211-213)

    Judy Jordan’s father—an oil entrepreneur from Colorado—established Jordan Vineyards and Winery, dedicated to Sonoma cabernet and chardonnay, on the south side of the Alexander Valley in the 1970s. In 1986, two years after Judy Jordan graduated from Stanford with a degree in applied earth science, father and daughter entered into a separate partnership to make sparkling wine. At the outset, the new company, called J for Judy, used space in the Jordan facility, but Jordanpèrethen gave his daughter two vineyards and a vintage prune-processing plant on Eastside Road, establishing J’s separate identity and premises.

    in 1996...

  118. JOSEPH SWAN VINEYARDS Forestville, California
    (pp. 213-216)

    Joseph Swan (1922–1989) was a commercial pilot, amateur artist, avid reader, and the first boutique producer of estate-grown pinot noir in the Russian River valley. The son of teetotaler parents in North Dakota, he read about wine as a child and became fascinated. Swan’s first “wine” was reportedly made from rhubarb crushed in the wringer of his mother’s washing machine, fermented in the barn, and then secreted in the family’s attic. Rather later, he is supposed to have made zinfandel in Utah and to have planted a vineyard in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. In 1967, at the...

  119. KAZMER & BLAISE Oakland, California
    (pp. 216-217)

    Kazmer & Blaise, the middle names of Peter Molnar and Michael Terrien, was launched in 1998 to make one wine only, a pinot noir, from one block of a single vineyard. The wine was made from 1998 through 2002, and again after 2005; the interruption was caused by phylloxeraforced replanting. The Molnar family, which fled Hungary after the aborted revolution in 1956, joined forces with financial partners to purchase Los Carneros pasture land in the as, developed an 83-acre vineyard in 1973, planted it to UCD 13, and sold the fruit to Napa and Sonoma wineries.

    Peter Molnar and Michael Terrien,...

  120. KELLER ESTATE WINERY Petaluma, California
    (pp. 217-219)

    Trained as an engineer, successful in the business of manufacturing automobile interiors and upholstery, and always enamored of good wine, Arturo Keller, a third-generation Mexican of Swiss-German descent, purchased several hundred acres of pasture on the east side of the Petaluma River plain in 1983. Not quite twenty-five years later, 89 acres have been redeveloped as vineyard; an elegant winery (designed by award-winning architect Ricardo Legorreta, famous inter alia for the Solana complex in Solana, Texas) has been created in a draw between grass-covered hills; and a gleaming, impeccably-restored 1956 Mercedes SL convertible has been added as the centerpiece of...

  121. KEN BROWN WINES Lompoc, California
    (pp. 219-220)

    Ken Brown spent his first years after college selling computers and real estate, reading wine books, and making wine at home. In 1974 he went back to school (at California State University Fresno) to study viticulture and enology, and directed the research program for the school’s vineyard and winery. In 1977 he became the founding winemaker at Santa Barbara County’s seminal winery Zaca Mesa, and then a founding partner and winemaker at byron vineyard and winery after 1984. When the robert mondavi winery, which had purchased a controlling interest in Byron in 1990, prepared to sell it in 2003, Brown...

  122. KEN WRIGHT CELLARS Carlton, Oregon
    (pp. 221-224)

    Ken Wright is engaging and passionate about pinot noir and an indefatigable champion of its Oregonian editions. He is also almost an icon among pinot noir’s many producers, having created, from scratch, no less than three brands of persistently high reputation: panther creek cellars, domaine serene, and Ken Wright Cellars. At one point when Wright was the winemaker for both Domaine Serene and Ken Wright Cellars, those houses (which then cohabited) were simultaneously Robert M. Parker Jr.’s choices for Oregon’s two “outstanding” producers of pinot noir.

    Wright’s road to wine is no less likely than a score of others. He...

  123. KOSTA BROWNE Sebastopol, California
    (pp. 224-226)

    Kosta Browne is cut from the same cloth as siduri and testarossa, among others: boutique size, non-estate production; wines made and marketed hands-on by passionate food-and wine people with little previous experience in winemaking, and wild success almost overnight characterize this producer. But there the sameness ends: Kosta Browne’s meteoric rise dwarfs even the impressive record of those most like it. Four years after its first vintage of pinot noir, one of its blended wines took the number seven spot inWine Spectator’sAnnual Roundup of the Year’s Most Exciting Wines for 2006 with 96 points, and five of the...

  124. LA CREMA WINERY Windsor, California
    (pp. 226-227)

    In the dark ages of American pinot noir, back in 1979, when only lunatic-fringe winemakers pursued this variety, no fewer than three producers devoted to the duo of pinot and chardonnay came onstream in a single year. Two of these, acacia and Kistler, have survived more or less intact ever since, although Acacia has changed ownership twice. The third, La Crema Viñera, for which Rod Berglund (see joseph swan vineyards) was the founding winemaker, was reorganized in 1991 as La Crema Winery, and was moved from its initial base in Petaluma to Sebastopol. Two years later, the brand was acquired...

  125. LA ROCHELLE WINERY Livermore, California
    (pp. 227-229)

    The Mirassou family has been involved with California wine since Pierre Mirassou (1856–1889) married Henriette Pellier, Pierre Pellier’s daughter. From her father, Henriette had inherited one of the Santa Clara Valley’s first important wine estates, as well as the legacy of a hugely significant nursery business that imported grape vine cuttings, among other things. The estate, near Mount Hamilton, became the foundation for a Mirassou wine business than has continued, more or less unbroken, across six generations.

    In 2003, when controlling members of the family’s fifth generation sold the Mirassou name and inventory to the E. & J. Gallo to...

  126. LACHINI VINEYARDS Newburg, Oregon
    (pp. 229-230)

    Ron and Marianne Lachini say they drafted the initial business plan for their pinot venture in 1994, when they were living in the San Francisco Bay area, and he was working in the pharmaceutical industry. Although they first explored pinot-friendly sites in California, Oregon pinots appealed to them more, so they relocated northward at the end of the 1990s. In February 1998, they purchased a 45-acre parcel on Calkins Lane northwest of Newburg, on the south face of the Chehalem Mountains, where they planted 27 acres of pinot noir beginning in 1999, in gently sloping sedimentary soils with little capacity...

  127. LAETITIA VINEYARD AND WINERY Arroyo Grande, California
    (pp. 230-232)

    Laetitia Vineyard and Winery occupies an enormous, 1,900-acre site astride Highway 101 at the mouth of the Arroyo Grande Valley that was first developed early in the 1980s as Maison Deutz, a joint venture of Wine World Estates, then the parent of Beringer, Château Souverain, and several other American brands, and Champagne Deutz, a then family-owned producer based in Ay. Maison Deutz, dedicated almost exclusively to Champagne-method sparkling wines, faltered when the American market for these wines failed to keep pace with rapid increases in production.

    In 1987 the vineyard was sold to one of its original investors, Jean-Claude Tardivat,...

  128. LANE TANNER WINES Santa Maria, California
    (pp. 232-234)

    In 1980 André Tchelistcheff inadvertently recruited Lane Tanner into the wine business. A chemist whose first career was focused on air pollution control, Tanner was temping in Konocti Winery’s laboratory in her hometown of Kelseyville, California—and considering alternative careers—when Tchelistcheff arrived on a consulting visit. As Tanner tells the story, her temporary employers, presumably reluctant to tell their illustrious consultant that, in fact, they employed no dedicated lab staff, introduced her to Tchelistcheff as “the new enologist.”

    A year later, on Tchelistcheff’s recommendation, Tanner became an enologist for real at the Firestone Winery in Santa Barbara, and in...

  129. LANGE ESTATE WINERY Dundee, Oregon
    (pp. 234-236)

    Don Lange has successfully co-managed two careers for most of his adult life. In his first persona, he is a poet, songwriter, guitarist, and recording artist. In the second, he is a winegrower, dedicated especially to pinot noir. While playing clubs in Santa Barbara in the late 1970s, Lange met his wife, Wendy, a singer who was also working Santa Barbara clubs. The couple took day jobs in local wineries to supplement the income derived from music gigs. In 1980 Don worked his first crush—at the tiny winery Richard Sanford and Michael Benedict had rigged in their vineyard on...

  130. LAZY RIVER VINEYARD Carlton, Oregon
    (pp. 236-237)

    Ned Lumpkin, a Seattle-based general building contractor who discovered wine during his military service in Germany at the beginning of the 1960s, recalls that he and his wife, Kirsten, first considered planting a vineyard, in Washington’s Walla Walla Valley, more than thirty years ago. Instead, in 1999, the couple acquired 146 very pretty acres northeast of Yamhill, Oregon, where they fell in love with views of the Coast Range, along with a stand of white oaks; a barn; a granary; a stream; some cow pasture; and quite a few acres covered with Scotch broom, thorny Himalayan blackberries, and feral cherry...

  131. LEMELSON VINEYARDS Carlton, Oregon
    (pp. 237-239)

    Eric Lemelson’s grandfather was a New Jersey physician. His father (1923–1997), a prolific inventor, is said to have held more United States patents than anyone since Thomas Edison. Lemelson was the first of his family to move west, initially for an undergraduate education at Reed College. In and after college, and eventually in law school as well, he turned to overlapping and successive careers and avocations in rock music, political activism, legislative analysis, and environmental law. In 1990 he moved from Portland to a farm on Parrett Mountain, the southernmost peak in the Chehalem Mountains, not far from newly...

  132. LITTORAI WINES Sebastopol, California
    (pp. 239-243)

    The path from suburban Westchester County in New York, where he grew up, to winemaking in western Sonoma County took Ted Lemon through an undergraduate major in French literature at Brown University, a junior year abroad in France, a postgraduate fellowship to study enology at the Université de Bourgogne, and apprenticeships at Domaine Dujac, Domaine Roumier, and Domaine Bruno Clair. In 1982 Lemon was hired to make wine for the house of Guy Roulot in Meursault—as far as anyone knows, the first and only time an American has been employed, not as a consultant or harvest worker, but as...

  133. LONDER VINEYARDS Philo, California
    (pp. 243-244)

    Larry Londer’s near-lifelong fascination with wine began in medical school, when he worked in a small liquor store stocking shelves and running deliveries. Later, as an ophthalmologist in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Londer and his wife, Shirlee, began to collect good Bordeaux and California cabernets, and eventually red Burgundies, and he took extension courses at the University of California Davis to learn more. In the 1990s, when his wife served as general chairman of the New Mexico Symphony’s wine auction and he chaired its wine committee, the Londers made numerous trips to California “to beg and plead for donations” and to...

  134. RICHARD LONGORIA WINES Los Olivos, California
    (pp. 244-247)

    Richard Longoria’s wine credentials go back to 1974, when he worked at the historic buena vista winery in Sonoma. Two years later, he became cellar foreman for the Firestone Vineyard near Los Olivos. Experience at Chappellet in Napa, J. Carey, and the gainey vineyard (the last as its founding winemaker) followed. Meanwhile, he and his wife established Richard Longoria Wines in 1982, producing just 500 cases of pinot noir and chardonnay. The family business finally grew into a full-time project at the end of the 1990s, simultaneously inhabiting an unglamorous production facility in Lompoc and a quaint tasting room on...

  135. LORING WINE COMPANY Lompoc, California
    (pp. 247-248)

    Brian Loring, a software engineer who specialized in military applications, confesses that he has been a “wine geek” since he was eighteen years old. In 1997 and 1998, he cut a deal with the proprietor of Santa Barbara’s Cottonwood Canyon Winery to “hang out” during crush, where he could absorb hands-on experience. In 1999 Cottonwood Canyon sold him 3 tons of pinot noir for a personal startup project. The wine Loring made from these grapes was enthusiastically reviewed by the usual suspects, making these editions of American pinot into an almost instant cult. Loring, modestly, credits his overnight success to...

  136. LYNMAR WINERY Sebastopol, California
    (pp. 248-251)

    In 1980 Lynn Fritz purchased Quail Hill, a 42-acre vineyard, on the ridge that separates the Gravenstein Highway from the Laguna de Santa Rosa. Quail Hill was first planted in 1971 with scion material from Joseph Swan’s Trenton Estate Vineyard—and with considerable help from Swan himself. A San Francisco native and Georgetown University graduate, Fritz was in the process, in the 1980s, of transforming a small, family-owned, San Francisco company that specialized in shipping documentation and customs clearance for Chinatown merchants into a Fortune 1000 enterprise handling transportation, warehousing, and transaction processing for national accounts like Boeing, Sears, and...

    (pp. 251-253)

    Francis Mahoney, a native San Franciscan drawn to the wine trade by postcollegiate travels in Europe and seasoned with experience importing European wines and managing vineyards for Mayacamas Winery, purchased a ravine in the ranchland of Los Carneros in 1972. The hilly terrain and rocky subsoils reminded him of Burgundy; the morning fog and cool days seemed to assure a long growing season. Construction of a winery building began in 1973.

    Although Louis Martini had preceded him in Carneros and André Tchelistcheff had encouraged him, Mahoney’s venture, in which he was joined by his wife Kathleen and partner Balfour Gibson,...

  138. MARIMAR ESTATE Sebastopol, California
    (pp. 253-256)

    Marimar Torres is the youngest child and only daughter of Miguel Torres Carbó (1909–1991), the distinguished winemaker and entrepreneur who built Bodegas Torres—a Catalan firm anchored in the Penedes—into the largest family-owned wine business in Spain. Known internationally for proprietary blends like Viña Sol, Sangre de Toro, and Gran Coronas, Bodegas Torres was founded in the middle of the nineteenth century, when Miguel’s great-great-uncle worked his way to the Americas as a cabin boy, and then parlayed a fortuitous investment in Cuban oil into the beginnings of a wine empire.

    Marimar joined the family firm in 1967,...

  139. MAYSARA WINERY McMinnville, Oregon
    (pp. 256-258)

    Moe Momtazi is an Iranian-American engineer trained at the University of Texas Austin, who has made his life in the United States since the fall of the Iranian monarchy in 1979. The family’s Tecna Industries, Inc., which manufactures trusses for residential construction, has thrived in McMinnville, Oregon since 1995.

    In 1997 Momtazi and his wife Flora purchased 500 acres southwest of McMinnville, in the foothills of the Coast Range, consisting partially of forest and partially of abandoned wheat farm, where they set about developing a vineyard the following year. The property covers a large range of elevation, from about 250...

  140. MELVILLE VINEYARD AND WINERY Lompoc, California
    (pp. 258-260)

    Ron Melville remembers discovering wine, as a counterpoint to his contemporaries’ enthusiasm for beer, when he was enrolled at Pasadena City College in 1959. Then, over a four-decade career as a floor specialist for the Pacific Stock Exchange, he developed a substantial passion for California cabernets. After the stock market’s meltdown in 1987, he acquired a vineyard in Knight’s Valley to “diversify” his assets. The site, which was too cool for the grape varieties to which it had been planted, was a better learning experience than investment.

    In 1992 Melville found himself dining in an Aspen, Colorado, restaurant that had...

  141. MERRY EDWARDS WINES Windsor, California
    (pp. 260-262)

    Merry Edwards is something of a legend in the California wine business, a trail blazer for many women who have become winemakers since, and a near-pioneer in its pursuit of fine pinot noir. An avid cook and food scientist whose fascination with yeast led her from bread to beer and then to wine, she was an amateur winemaker even before she graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a degree in physiology. Fascinated to discover, soon thereafter, that formal coursework and “real” academic degrees were offered in her avocation, she enrolled in the then-obscure program at the University of...

  142. MINER FAMILY VINEYARDS Oakville, California
    (pp. 263-264)

    Miner Family Vineyards has its origins in the Oakville Ranch Vineyard, on the east side of Napa Valley’s Oakville appellation, which Dave Miner’s aunt and uncle acquired and planted in the 1980s; in the software industry, where both segments of the family accumulated financial resources; and in Miner’s passionate interest in wines as various as sangiovese from Mendocino, viognier from the Central Valley, and pinot noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands. Although the core of the portfolio consists of cabernet- and merlot-based wines from Napa, it was an unusual edition of chardonnay fermented with resident yeasts, first made in the...

  143. MIURA VINEYARDS Santa Rosa, California
    (pp. 264-265)

    Emmanuel Kemiji is a Master Sommelier with impressive experience in hospitality management and retail wine sales. Like his high school friend and college roommate Byron Kosuge (who went on to a career in winemaking [see b. kosuge wines]) Kemiji discovered wine in college, but in his case, outside the classroom. In fact Kemiji and Kosuge seem to have shared an autodidactic wine education during their time at Davis. Kosuge reports that the pair ate Top Ramen so that they could afford to drink bottles of very good wine, which they found, often unintentionally aged and gathering dust, on the so-called...

  144. MORGAN WINERY Salinas, California
    (pp. 265-267)

    Daniel Morgan Lee’s roots are at Turlock, in California’s central valley, and he began college, at the University of California Davis, intending to study veterinary medicine. Before he graduated, however, he had discovered enology. After earning a master’s degree in viticulture and enology, he went to work for Jekel Vineyards, a near-pioneer producer in Monterey County, and later for Durney Vineyards in Carmel Valley.

    In 1982 Lee and his wife, Donna (a southern Californian banker, some of whose business involved financing wineries and vineyards), created Morgan Winery, which was initially focused on chardonnay. Lee’s first pinot noir, a 50–50...

  145. MOUNT EDEN VINEYARDS Saratoga, California
    (pp. 267-270)

    About 2 air miles south of the Stevens Creek Reservoir, at the very edge of Silicon Valley’s suburban sprawl, Table Mountain rises 2,000 feet above the town of Saratoga, in the shape of a U, open to the east. La Cresta, Paul Masson’s mountain winery—now empty of wine but a favorite site for executive events, weddings, and summer concerts—is on the southern side of the U. A narrow, vertiginous dirt road snakes up the northern (and much higher) side of the mountain, where, beginning in 1943, Masson’s protégé Martin Ray cleared enough chaparral and poison oak to make...

  146. NALLE WINERY Healdsburg, California
    (pp. 270-271)

    Doug Nalle, a Southern Californian with an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Redlands, and his wife, Lee, a University of California Berkeley– and University of California San Francisco–educated nurse practitioner and daughter of Dry Creek Valley ranchers, created Nalle Winery in 1984. By this time Nalle had amassed over a decade of hands-on experience on the production side of the wine business, including fi ve years of service as the co-winemaker at Balverne Vineyards and Winery and a four- year stint at Quivira Winery, plus a formal education in wine science that featured such luminary instructors...

  147. NAVARRO VINEYARDS Philo, California
    (pp. 271-274)

    Ted Bennett and Deborah Cahn, husband and wife, moved to Anderson Valley in 1974. They had sold a successful retail business in the Bay Area, and they shared strong counterculture values. In Anderson Valley they raised sheep and even paid the obstetrician who delivered their first child with lambs. They also planted grapes: gewürztraminer and pinot noir. Bennett loved gewürztraminer. As for the pinot, well, he remembers needing a red grape that could ripen in a cool mesoclimate. A quarter-century later, having outlasted Anderson Valley’s other wine pioneers, Bennett and Cahn are still planting grapes, raising animals, and selling most...

  148. THE OJAI VINEYARD Oak View, California
    (pp. 274-276)

    The Ojai Vineyard, founded in 1983, is Adam and Helen Tolmach’s small, family-owned wine project in the hilly canyon that ascends from the Pacific coast at Ventura to the pretty resort town of Ojai. The Tolmachs planted a syrah vineyard there in 1981, but it succumbed to Pierce’s disease in 1995 and has not been replanted, so the brand has since lived entirely on purchased fruit. The inaugural vintage was made at au bon climat in Los Olivos, where Adam Tolmach and Jim Clendenen were partners, but a winery was built and bonded on the Oak View site in 1984,...

    (pp. 276-277)

    Robert Pellegrini’s grandfather and great uncle entered the California wine business around 1925, when that business consisted of shipping grapes to home winemakers, many of them Italian immigrants, around the country. After Repeal, in 1933, the family acquired the Buchignani Winery in Dry Creek Valley, established the Pellegrini Wine Company in San Francisco, and set about making private label wines for various San Francisco restaurants and shops.

    Forty years later, Pellegrini’s parents purchased 70 acres of apple orchard on West Olivet Lane, west of Santa Rosa, accessed via an allée framed with olive trees. In 1975 they replanted 65 of...

  150. OROGENY VINEYARDS Napa, California
    (pp. 277-278)

    In 2002, Tom Selfridge, then president of the Chalone Wine Group, decided that a Russian River Valley pinot noir would complement the Salinas Valley, Edna Valley, and Carneros programs already represented in Chalone’s portfolio. A partnership was established with the Dutton family to source grapes from Dutton-owned or Dutton-managed vineyards in Green Valley, which is the Russian River Valley’s coolest corner, and Dan Goldfield, already partnered with the Duttons in dutton-goldfield wines, was engaged as the new brand’s winemaker. A single Green Valley pinot blended from four vineyards (Dutton’s Barron Vineyard, on Green Valley Road about a half-mile northwest of...

  151. ORTMAN FAMILY VINEYARDS Pismo Beach, California
    (pp. 278-279)

    In 1968, while Chuck Ortman was studying graphic design at Oakland’s California College of Arts and Crafts, he chanced to taste a friend’s homemade wine and was instantly fascinated. He moved his young family to the Napa Valley, took a cellar-rat job with the legendary Joe Heitz, and learned winemaking from the bottom up. Within a few years, he had moved from Heitz Cellars to Spring Mountain Winery, and then into wine consulting, working with luminary brands like Cain Cellars, Far Niente, and Fisher Vineyards in the formative years of each and establishing a reputation for wizardry and innovative techniques...

  152. PANTHER CREEK CELLARS McMinnville, Oregon
    (pp. 279-281)

    In the more than two decades since it was founded by Ken Wright in 1986, Panther Creek Cellars has changed hands twice. In 1994, after Wright’s original partnership dissolved in an acrimonious dispute, the business was acquired by a couple from Des Moines, Iowa, with a taste for red Burgundies and French cuisine. Ron Kaplan was a successful construction lawyer; his wife Linda was a writer and reporter. The story of their stewardship of Panther Creek is engagingly told in Linda Kaplan’s memoir,My First Crush(The Lyons Press, 2005). Although the couple remains actively involved with the winery’s operation...

  153. PAPAPIETRO PERRY WINERY Healdsburg, California
    (pp. 281-282)

    Like Burt Williams, who founded williams selyem in 1980, Ben Papapietro spent most of his career with the San Francisco Newspaper Agency. In fact, Williams and Papapietro were friends, and Williams offered advice when Papapietro, who had grown up drinking his Italian grandfather’s homemade wine with meals, decided to make some wine of his own in his San Francisco garage. Williams was not involved, however, when Papapietro and Bruce Perry, another friend from the paper, and Perry’s wife, Renae, turned their joint, twelve-year-old home winemaking venture into a commercial project, with seventy-five cases of pinot noir produced in a custom...

  154. PATRICIA GREEN CELLARS Newburg, Oregon
    (pp. 282-284)

    Patricia Green Cellars was created in 2000 when Patty Green and her business partner Jim Anderson bought the former Autumn Wind property, which sits adjacent to Beaux Frères on the west flank of Ribbon Ridge. Green had begun transitioning into winemaking fifteen years earlier from a prior career in forest management and reforestation, working first for several wineries in southern Oregon, and then (from 1993 to 2000) as the winemaker and “sole employee” of torii mor winery in McMinnville. Anderson, a Maine native with a background in finance and accounting, had the experience of only a single harvest (1994) worked...

  155. PATTON VALLEY VINEYARD Gaston, Oregon
    (pp. 284-286)

    Patton Valley is a wedge-shaped, east—west oriented valley whose mouth is found just north of the town of Gaston in a major branch of Tualatin River drainage, and whose thin end stretches into the lee side of Oregon’s Coast Range. The valley’s south side is included within the perimeter of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, but there were few vineyards on the north side until quite recently.

    In 1995 two friends from their student days at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management (who cruised Chicago’s better wine shops in pursuit of a vinous education alongside their conventional studies in business administration)...

  156. PATZ & HALL WINE COMPANY Napa, California
    (pp. 286-289)

    Donald and Heather Patz, James Hall, and Anne Moses created the Patz & Hall Wine Company in 1988, which was focused initially on chardonnay made from purchased fruit, and which operated on about the same scale as a medium-sizedpropriétaire-récoltantin the Côte d’Or. Hall and Moses are the winemaking side of the venture, with experience (between them) at Flora Springs, Honig, Far Niente, Spring Mountain, and marimar estate; the two Patzes contribute hands-on expertise in sales and marketing. Donald Patz and James Hall met when they both worked at Flora Springs, as national sales manager and assistant winemaker, respectively, in...

  157. PAUL HOBBS WINES Sebastopol, California
    (pp. 289-291)

    Paul Hobbs was raised on an upstate New York farm where his family replaced part of an apple orchard with a vineyard in 1969. In college, at the University of Notre Dame, he took botany (and wine tasting) from a Christian Brother who had worked previously as a winemaker in California; after college, he earned a master’s degree in food science (with an emphasis on enology) at the University of California Davis. His thesis on the chemistry of wine maturation in oak barrels attracted attention from California vintners, whose use of new barrels forélevagewas then

    His career was...

  158. PAUL LATO WINES Santa Maria, California
    (pp. 291-292)

    Paul Lato is a Polish expatriate who left Poland in its last two years under Communist rule, and went first to Sweden, then to Spain, and finally to Canada, where he studied hospitality management and became a successful sommelier. In 1996, determined to make wine of his own, he assembled very modest savings and moved from Toronto to California’s southern Central Coast. Now he works miscellaneous jobs around wine (including the tasting room at talley vineyards) to support himself in an exceedingly modest style, sublets space for his barrels and equipment from other winemakers at Central Coast Wine Services in...

  159. PEAY VINEYARDS Cloverdale, California
    (pp. 292-294)

    In 1997 and 1998, Nick and Andy Peay planted the first modern vineyard overlooking the Wheatfield Fork of the Gualala River, near the hamlet of Annapolis, 4 miles from the Pacific, in the extreme northwest corner of the Sonoma Coast appellation. The brothers were raised in Cleveland, in a wine-drinking family, and their mother was a serious cook. Nick is a Bowdoin College graduate in Far Eastern History, with a college-classmate connection to Hugh Davies, the son of Jack and Jamie Davies, who had founded Schramsberg Vineyards in the 1960s. After college a harvest’s work at Schramsberg, on-the-job training with...

  160. PENNER-ASH WINE CELLARS Newburg, Oregon
    (pp. 294-295)

    Lynn Penner-Ash’s first undergraduate major, at the University of California Davis, was botany. Before she graduated, it had changed twice: first to viticulture, and then to fermentation science with an emphasis on enology. After graduation, she worked first at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in the Napa Valley, and then at Oregon’s rex hill vineyard. Hired initially as Rex Hill’s winemaker, she became its president and chief operating officer in 1993.

    In 1998, still at Rex Hill, she and her husband Ron, a career teacher in public schools and self-styled passionate cellar rat, created their own wine brand, dedicated to small...

  161. PEY-MARIN VINEYARDS and PEY-LUCIA VINEYARDS San Anselmo, California
    (pp. 295-296)

    Marin County, north of San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge, is better known for picturesque waterfront suburbs than for dairy farms and oyster beds, and then better for the pastures and oysters than for vineyards. The truth is, however, that vineyards have existed in Marin for almost two centuries, and that noteworthy pinots have been made from Marin grapes since the 1980s. Surrounded on three sides by water, and its west side bathed in morning fog for much of the growing season, Marin enjoys warmer winters and cooler summers than all except the true coastal part of neighboring Sonoma,...

    (pp. 296-298)

    Gary Pisoni, a colorful, outspoken, and passionate hedonist once described (by New York City wine merchant Peter Morrell) as “the personification of Bacchus,” is a watershed figure in the transformation of the northern Salinas Valley into serious wine country. Far from the first person to plant vineyards on the valley’s west side, and not yet a winegrower when the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA was established, Pisoni is significant as the fulcrum on which the area’s fortunes were tied to pinot noir and as the magnet that first attracted a phenomenal stream of talented boutique winemakers Santa Lucia Highlands fruit.


  163. PONZI VINEYARDS Beaverton, Oregon
    (pp. 298-301)

    When Dick Ponzi left a lucrative career in mechanical and aeronautical engineering—he designed rockets, jet fighters, and rides for California’s Disneyland—to grow grapes in Oregon, there were just four wineries in the entire state. “If you had made a business plan,” he likes to recall, “you would not have started.” In 1969 he and his wife, Nancy, planted their first vines on a 20-acre parcel in the Tualatin Valley, just half an hour’s drive from downtown Portland. Being close to Portland was an important criterion in their choice of site because they thought Portland would be the winery’s...

  164. PORTER CREEK VINEYARDS Healdsburg, California
    (pp. 301-304)

    Porter Creek is a 34-acre ranch on Westside Road, about a half-mile upstream from Wohler Bridge, now almost completely surrounded by E. & J. Gallo’s MacMurray Ranch Vineyard. Reached by an unpaved driveway and untouched by wine-biz glitz, it looks and feels like an outpost. Production is tiny. Porter Creek, however, produces some of California’s loveliest and most elegant pinots.

    George Davis bought Porter Creek in 1979 as a career change. For twenty years he had designed and built sailboats in Berkeley and Maui. His plan, when he moved, was to grow and sell grapes. Two parcels on the Porter Creek...

  165. R. STUART & CO. McMinnville, Oregon
    (pp. 304-306)

    Rob Stuart, a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute graduate in biochemistry with graduate training in fermentation science at the University of California Davis, made wine for at least four wineries in three states—and most recently at erath vineyards winery in Dundee, Oregon, from 1994 to 2002—before establishing a project on his own. In a repurposed granary in what he and others call (with some justice) the “Pinot Quarter” of McMinnville, R. Stuart & Co. now crafts pinot noir, pinot gris, and sparkling wine from about a dozen vineyards in the northern Willamette Valley, and from the Melrose Vineyard near Roseburg.


  166. RADIO-COTEAU WINE CELLARS Forestville, California
    (pp. 306-307)

    Eric Sussman, a New Yorker who discovered wine while studying agriculture at Cornell University in the 1980s, created Radio-Coteau in 2002. He learned winemaking on the job, working first in Washington’s Yakima Valley, then in 1995 for the various enterprises of Baron Philippe de Rothschild in Bordeaux, and finally in 1996 forrégisseurPascal Marchand at the Domaine du Comte Armand in Pommard. From 1998 to 2002, Sussman was the associate winemaker at dehlinger winery. Radio-Coteau, which is a partnership with Bill and Joan Smith (see w. h. smith wines), is focused geographically on western Sonoma County, although Sussman also...

  167. RAPTOR RIDGE WINERY Carlton, Oregon
    (pp. 307-309)

    Raptor Ridge is the very hands-on, evenings-and-weekends wine project of Scott Shull, a strategic and business planner for Intel Corporation, and his wife, Annie, who also worked for Intel until Raptor Ridge grew large enough to demand full-time attention. Scott Shull was reportedly fascinated, early on, by bees, beer, and anything that could be made to ferment, and was a home winemaker as early as 1989.

    Raptor Ridge was founded in 1995 with enough fruit for 500 cases of pinot noir and chardonnay from the Wahle Vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, Murto in the Dundee Hills, and the Eola Hills...

  168. RED CAR WINE COMPANY Culver City, California
    (pp. 309-310)

    Red Car is the creation of a former film producer and talent scout, and a former screenwriter (now sadly deceased) that is Hollywood-esque in more ways than the career backgrounds of its founders. The project began in Carroll Kemp’s Beverly Hills driveway in 2001, with enough grapes from vineyards in Paso Robles and Santa Maria to make two barrels of syrah. Kemp’s winemaking credentials were limited to his volunteer work at Central Coast Wine Services in Santa Maria and a few community college courses, so he relied quite a bit on a “consulting winemaker” named Tim Spear, a University of...

  169. REX HILL VINEYARD Newburg, Oregon
    (pp. 310-311)

    Rex Hill Vineyard was created in 1983 by Paul Hart and Jan Jacobsen. Hart was a local actuarial consultant, and Jacobsen was a high school mathematics teacher before she and Hart married; he “retired” to start Rex Hill, whereas she became a full-time artist. Determined to be personally involved in the area’s growing wine business, the couple purchased a disused nut-drying barn north of Newburg, intending to repurpose it as a winery and to surround it with vineyards. But since grapes grown in existing, mature vineyards were going unpicked at the time, the brand was launched instead with purchased fruit...

  170. RHYS VINEYARDS and ALESIA WINES Woodside, California
    (pp. 311-314)

    Kevin Harvey, a Rice University graduate whose first Silicon Valley company (Approach Software) was sold to Lotus Development Corporation when he was barely twenty-seven, and whose venture capital enterprise funded such name brands as and WebVan a few years later, is also a self-described “nut” about pinot noir. The 1990 pinots from gary farrell wines, williams selyem, and rochioli vineyard and winery were the first wines to capture his attention; after this introduction to the variety, he turned to red Burgundies from the 1991 and 1993 vintages. In 1995 he planted a tiny, quarter-acre pinot vineyard in his Woodside,...

  171. RIVERS-MARIE Calistoga, California
    (pp. 314-315)

    Rivers-Marie is the first of two Sonoma Coast pinot projects undertaken by Thomas Rivers Brown, a South Carolinian educated at the University of Virginia, whose California winemaking career had meteoric beginnings. Having discovered wine (and especially Burgundy) both as a pleasure of the palate and as an object of intellectual interest, Brown moved to Napa on a shoestring in 1996, where he worked briefly for a wine shop in Calistoga. Ehren Jordan (see failla wines) offered Brown a cellar rat job for the 1997 harvest at Turley Wine Cellars; then, Jordan hired Brown as his assistant. Within three years, and...

  172. ROAR WINES Soledad, California
    (pp. 315-316)

    Even before Gary Franscioni and Gary Pisoni (see pisoni vineyards and winery) joined forces to develop Garys’ Vineyard in 1997, Franscioni had followed his friend’s lead, diversifying from the row crops that had made their parents successful, into wine grapes. Franscioni planted his first vineyard, named for his wife, Rosella, and co-located with their residence on River Road, just south of its intersection with Gonzales Bridge Road. Rosella’s is 50 acres of southeast-facing benchland, dedicated entirely to pinot noir. Like the Pisoni estate and Garys’, it is impeccably farmed, and the fruit is in huge demand from cult winemakers throughout...

  173. ROBERT MONDAVI WINERY Napa, California
    (pp. 316-319)

    In the annals of fine California wine, no name is better known than Robert Mondavi. His story has been told and retold, not least in his own autobiography (Harvests of Joy: How the Good Life Became Great Business[New York, 1998]), and in Julia Flynn Siler’sThe House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty(New York, 2007).

    Mondavi was the son of Italian immigrant parents who grew grapes in California’s Central Valley in the first half of the twentieth century. The family relocated from Lodi to the Napa Valley in 1943, when his father purchased...

  174. ROBERT SINSKEY VINEYARDS Napa, California
    (pp. 319-322)

    Robert Sinskey, a Los Angeles ophthalmologist, was one of the original investment partners in acacia winery. After his initial investment when the Acacia partnership was created in 1980, Sinskey also provided capital to finance an intended but stillborn expansion into Bordelais varieties in 1984. In addition to these investments, he purchased land near Acacia’s new facility on Las Amigas Road in 1982, where he planted merlot, chardonnay, and pinot noir the following year, planning to sell grapes to Acacia for its vineyard-designation program. The sales never happened. Acacia sailed into troubled waters at mid-decade and was sold to Chalone Inc....

  175. ROCHIOLI VINEYARD AND WINERY Healdsburg, California
    (pp. 322-325)

    Despite an explosion of activity throughout the appellation since 1990, Joseph Rochioli Jr.’s 160-acre estate on Westside Road, about 7 miles from Healdsburg, remains the incontrovertible nexus of pinot noir in the Russian River Valley. For almost four decades, his vineyards have provided fruit for some of the area’s most talented pinot makers, including Davis Bynum, Gary Farrell, Burt Williams, and his own son Tom, whose collective craftsmanship is substantially responsible for the appellation’s impressive reputation. Budwood from his so-called West Block has been the basis for important plantings in neighboring vineyards. The adjacent Allen Ranch—which Rochioli also farms,...

  176. RODNEY STRONG VINEYARDS Healdsburg, California
    (pp. 325-327)

    Rodney Strong (1929–2006) was perhaps the only successful dancer of classical ballet and Broadway theater to have made a second, and mostly successful, career in wine. Born to a winemaking family in the Rheingau, Strong returned to wine when, at the age of thirty-three, he created a storefront firm in Tiburon that specialized in small lots of custom-labeled wines. In 1962, after his retirement from the theater, he purchased a winemaking operation between Windsor and Healdsburg and began to acquire vineyard land throughout Sonoma County.

    By the early 1970s, Strong owned no fewer than 6,500 acres and had built...

  177. ROESSLER CELLARS Sonoma, California
    (pp. 327-329)

    In 2000 Roger Roessler, a longtime restaurateur with projects spread across the western part of the country, and his brother Richard, an electrical engineer and hobbyist winemaker, created Roessler Cellars, dedicated primarily to the kind of food-friendly pinot noir on which Roger had built wine lists for his restaurants. Roger’s restaurant interests included a share in the historic Swiss Hotel on Sonoma’s town square, where the Sangiacomo family, Carneros’s largest independent grape growers, were regular customers. When it occurred to Roger that he might like to make wine, Angelo Sangiacomo did not hesitate to offer him 4.5 tons of point...

  178. RR WINERY Newburg, Oregon
    (pp. 329-330)

    RR, first called Ribbon Ridge Winery but renamed after the Ribbon Ridge AVA was approved, is the personal pinot project of Harry Peterson-Nedry, founder and winemaker at chehalem. It is based entirely on fruit from his Ridgecrest Vineyard and is made in the Chehalem facility. Peterson-Nedry explains that the barrels destined for RR are identified at the same time barrels are chosen for the Chehalem reserve—“at the end of multiple blind tastings over the previous six months.” Lots not selected for either the Chehalem reserve program or RR become candidates for Chehalem’s Ridgecrest Vineyard bottling or, one step farther...

  179. RUSACK VINEYARDS Solvang, California
    (pp. 330-331)

    After high school in California and before matriculating at Maine’s Bowdoin College, Geoffrey Rusack drove the delivery truck for a Santa Monica wine shop. A few years later, in law school at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, he dated the daughter of a pioneering Napa Valley vintner. When he married Alison Wrigley—older sister of the present CEO of Chicago’s Wrigley Company—he considered planting a vineyard on the Wrigley family’s ranch, which happened to be located on an atoll about twenty miles off the California coast. However unlikely, this last project was finally consummated many years later, abetted by...

  180. SAINTSBURY Napa, California
    (pp. 331-334)

    Saintsbury, named for the English man of letters who wroteNotes on a Cellar-Book, was founded in 1981 by David Graves and Dick Ward, two winemakers trained at the University of California Davis, who dedicated themselves explicitly to proving that the contemporaneous critics were wrong—that genuinely good pinot noir really could be made in California. For the first five years, Saintsbury worked entirely with fruit purchased from other growers in Los Carneros, including the Lee Vineyard on Los Carneros Avenue, the Stanly Ranch, and Zach Berkowitz. In 1986 the partners planted their first estate vineyard (12.5 acres) adjacent to...

  181. SANFORD WINERY Lompoc, California
    (pp. 334-336)

    There has been no Sanford at the Sanford Winery since 2005. That year, Richard Sanford, the brand’s namesake and founder, and his wife, Thekla, sold their remaining interest in the name and winery to Anthony Terlato, Terlato’s sons Bill and John, and the Terlato Wine Group, a family-owned wine production, sales, and marketing corporation based in Chicago, which had assumed an initial ownership interest three years earlier. Since 2006 Sanford’s longtime winemaker, Bruno Alfonso, has been gone, too, replaced by Steve Fennell, a University of California Davis-trained winemaker and Santa Barbara native with prior experience at Trefethen Vineyards and Voss...

  182. SAVANNAH-CHANELLE VINEYARDS Saratoga, California
    (pp. 336-338)

    Savannah-Chanelle is the fourth life of property in the hills above Saratoga that was first planted to vines in or about 1892. The original developers were Pierre Pourroy (1866–1960) and his brother Eloi (1868–1957),émigrésfrom Gap, in the Frenchdépartementof the Hautes-Alpes. The brothers appear to have cleared several tens of acres and to have planted zinfandel and cabernet franc inter alia, some of which remains and is still producing. The family farmed the vineyard and operated a winery in a concrete “villa” erected on one of the property’s lesser hilltops until sometime in the late...

  183. SCHERRER WINERY Sebastopol, California
    (pp. 338-340)

    Fred Scherrer grew up in his father’s Alexander Valley vineyard, from which he was permitted to make some wine, at home, in the 1970s. Following proper training in fermentation science at the University of California Davis early in the 1980s, Scherrer worked first at greenwood ridge vineyards in Anderson Valley, and then for Tom Dehlinger (see dehlinger winery) from 1988 to 1988. His own label was launched briefly as a sidebar project during his time at Greenwood Ridge, using zinfandel grapes from his father’s vineyard, but was then suspended until 1991, when it began a second phase.

    By 1997 Scherrer...

  184. SCHOOL HOUSE VINEYARD St. Helena, California
    (pp. 340-341)

    The School House Vineyard is a 160-acre property located at the 1,500-foot contour on Spring Mountain, overlooking the north end of the Napa Valley, personally tended since 1991 by its owners, John Gantner and Nancy Walker. Gantner’s father (John O. Gantner Jr., 1909–2002, principal in the family’s San Francisco knit goods firm) purchased the property in 1940. In addition to the one-room schoolhouse that gave the ranch its name, the property was also home to a 50-acre vineyard, planted to the usual zinfandel-dominated California field blend. Gantnerpèreseems to have been passionate, however, about pinot noir. No later...

  185. SCHUG CARNEROS ESTATE Sonoma, California
    (pp. 341-343)

    Walter Schug, raised on the premises of the Staatsweingut Assmannshausen in the German Rheingau, where his father oversaw production, and later trained formally in enology and viticulture at the nearby Forschungsanstalt Geisenheim, is among the least celebrated of pinot’s pioneer champions in California, despite an early start and a significant market presence. Schug crossed the Atlantic in 1959, handled grower relations in North Bay counties for the E. & J. Gallo Winery in the 1960s, and became the founding winemaker at Joseph Phelps’s new Napa Valley winery in 1973. Although his reputation at Phelps hinges mostly on Insignia, said to have...

  186. SCOTT PAUL WINES Carlton, Oregon
    (pp. 343-344)

    Scott Paul Wright left a career in media and entertainment marketing to pursue his self-described “passion”—red Burgundies and American pinot noir. In 1999 he teamed with Greg La Follette, then the winemaker at flowers vineyard, to make three barrels of pinot noir from the iconic Pisoni Vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands. When he moved to Oregon as the general manager for domaine drouhin in 2001, his eponymous wine project began a transition from Californian beginnings to a focus on Oregon fruit.

    In 2001 and 2002, Wright made both California and Oregon editions of pinot. By 2003 the project...

  187. SEA SMOKE CELLARS Lompoc, California
    (pp. 344-346)

    In 1988 Bob Davids, a devoted collector of red Burgundies and CEO of a Hong Kong–based company with a dominant share of the market in handheld computer games, acquired 350 acres of horse ranch and bean field on the south face of the Sta. Rita Hills, overlooking the Santa Ynez River, which was part of a land grant known locally as Rancho Chahuchu. He knew want he wanted—shallow, clay-laden hillsides and a south-facing exposure. He had been looking for several years, and had found the site with help and intermediation from Bill Wathen, the winemaker partner at foxen...

  188. SHEA WINE CELLARS Portland, Oregon
    (pp. 346-348)

    Dick Shea developed an interest in American wines during his first career as a New York investment banker. With two East Coast partners and advice from Oregon winemakers, he purchased a 200-acre parcel of filbert orchard northwest of Newberg in 1988, and began setting out vines in 1989. Shea credits Mark Benoit, whose father owned Château Benoit (now anne amie vineyards) with the initial insight that the sedimentary soils in what is now the Yamhill-Carlton District could produce wines as good or better than the red, volcanic soils near Dundee, on which many of Oregon’s first-generation point pioneers had relied....

  189. SIDURI WINES Santa Rosa, California
    (pp. 348-350)

    Adam and Dianna Lee met at Neiman Marcus in Dallas when he was the store’s wine buyer, and she was the food buyer. They married and moved to California in 1993 “to do something in wine.” After a year working in tasting rooms, the Lees wrote a 1-acre contract with the Rose Vineyard in Anderson Valley, hauled the grapes to rented space at Lambert Bridge in Dry Creek, and made the first 4.5 barrels of Siduri pinot noir. Their formal training in winemaking was limited to Dianna’s single course in viticulture at Sonoma State and to a weekend course at...

  190. SILVAN RIDGE WINERY Eugene, Oregon
    (pp. 351-352)

    The Silvan Ridge brand was created in 1992 when Carolyn Chambers and her family purchased Hinman Vineyards (established in 1979) from its founder, Doyle Hinman. Chambers, a Eugene businesswoman involved with several family projects, was the president of Chambers Communication Corporation, which owned, among other things, a multimedia production house, three television stations, and an Internet service provider. In 2005 the family extended its wine base to include panther creek cellars in McMinnville, a distinguished brand originally founded by Ken Wright, but Panther Creek is operated separately, aside from an occasional joint promotional event.

    Silver Ride makes about 25,000 cases...

  191. SINEANN Newburg, Oregon
    (pp. 352-353)

    During the second half of Peter Rosback’s twenty-one-year career as a mechanical engineer, he was also a committed home winemaker. He took a few classes in enology “here and there,” worked harvests at elk cove vineyards, peppered winemakers with questions, and figured out what he calls “the grape thing”—the persistent truth that really good wine comes only from really good grapes. In 1994 a harvest-season conversation with David O’Reilly (who then had marketing responsibilities at Elk Cove and subsequently founded the much-respected Owen Roe label)—and a tasting of Rosback’s homemade zinfandel—persuaded Rosback that he should try making...

  192. SKEWIS WINES Healdsburg, California
    (pp. 354-356)

    Hank Skewis, a Colgate University graduate and onetime VISTA volunteer, turned his attention toward the wine business by happenstance. A friend offered him a job looking after a Sonoma vineyard. Skewis then worked part time in a winery tasting room, took viticulture classes at Santa Rosa Junior College, landed a job as assistant winemaker for Lambert Bridge Winery in Dry Creek Valley, and (getting really serious) worked the 1993 harvest for Dominique Lafon in Meursault. At this point, Skewis was hooked, on wine in general and on pinot noir in particular. In 1994 he signed on as winemaker for Mill...

  193. SOKOL BLOSSER WINERY Dayton, Oregon
    (pp. 356-357)

    According to Susan Sokol Blosser, the vineyard she and Bill Blosser planted in 1972 was born of Bill’s brainstorm, in the unlikely context of a flea market near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as the couple drove a Volkswagen van from North Carolina to Oregon. Its surprising resonance seems to have traded on their mutual interest in wine, which had been Susan’s father’s hobby, on Bill’s college year abroad in France (where wine was always close at hand), and on the 1960s notion that socially conscious people might do good in the world by living close to the land. Within five months, as...

  194. SONNET WINE CELLARS Los Gatos, California
    (pp. 357-359)

    In the 1980s Anthony Craig was an aspiring actor, studying drama at the College of Arts and Technology in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and working part-time in the city’s Theatre Royal. There, he was discovered by a director of the Royal Shakespeare Company on tour and encouraged to further his studies in London. In London he met and married a young, would-be actress, who also happened to be an American from Los Gatos. Tired of English weather, the couple decided to pursue their careers in California. When they eventually divorced, Craig thought a career change would be well advised; he searched the classified...

  195. SOTER VINEYARDS Carlton, Oregon
    (pp. 359-361)

    Soter Vineyards, the second major pinot noir–based wine project of Tony Soter’s distinguished career, is headquartered in a repurposed 1940s barn on a ranch devoted partially to vineyards, but primarily to wheat fields and pasture, about 3 miles due east of Carlton, Oregon. The contrast with the discordant, teal-coloredfaux châteauon the north edge of Napa, California’s urban sprawl that was home for more than a decade to Soter’s first pinot project, is both stark and significant. That project, etude wines, was founded in 1982 and sold to Beringer Blass (now Foster’s Wine Estates) in 2001.

    Several years...

  196. ST. INNOCENT WINERY Salem, Oregon
    (pp. 361-363)

    Mark Vlossak says he had his first sip of wine at the age of seven, and drank or tasted wine pretty continuously thereafter until he left home for college. His father imported wine, so most of the product served at home was good, better, or best, and his mother fell into serious cooking, creating a near-epicurean environment. But Vlossak had other preoccupations in college and immediately afterward, shifting from an early concentration in chemistry to a major in theater arts. After college, when he was working for the Opera Company of Boston, he discovered a pioneering, Colorado-based program that trained...

  197. STEPHEN ROSS WINE CELLARS San Luis Obispo, California
    (pp. 364-365)

    Stephen Ross Dooley, a Minnesotan and Davis-trained winemaker, did his formative wine work at Napa’s Louis M. Martini Winery before moving to the edna valley vineyard as winemaker and president in 1987. In 1994 he created the Stephen Ross brand. His pinot program began with an Edna Valley blend anchored with fruit from the Edna Ranch Vineyard, to which a Bien Nacido bottling (using grapes from interplanted vines in Blocks G and N) was added in 1995. Early in the new millennium, the Edna Ranch sources were replaced with fruit from other Edna Valley vineyards, notably Jean-Pierre Wolff’s 1998 planting...

  198. STEVENSON-BARRIE McMinnville, Oregon
    (pp. 365-366)

    Stevenson-Barrie is the personal pinot project of Michael Stevenson, the winemaker at panther creek cellars, and his business partner Scott Barrie, who is a legislative lobbyist for the Oregon Home Builders Association. The label was created in 1995, just after Stevenson arrived at Panther Creek, and has been made in the Panther Creek facility ever since. From 1995 through 1997, there was one wine only, made from the Glasgow Vineyard outside the town of Cheshire, northwest of Eugene.

    In 1998 Dick Shea’s vineyard (see shea wine cellars) replaced the Glasgow Vineyard as the brand’s fruit source. In 2003 a second...

  199. STOLLER VINEYARDS Dayton, Oregon
    (pp. 366-367)

    Bill Stoller grew up on and around what is now Stoller Vineyards, a 373-acre parcel on the southwest flank of the Dundee Hills, near the town of Lafayette. From the 1940s until 1993, the land was operated as a turkey farm, and Stoller’s father and uncle at one point operated the largest turkey farm in Oregon. In the 1980s, Stoller and his wife, Cathy, who was successful in an international personnel services business, signed up for a winetasting class taught by Judy Peterson-Nedry, a founder ofNorthwest Palatemagazine. This contact led the Stollers first to partner with Judy’s husband,...

  200. T. R ELLIOTT Sebastopol, California
    (pp. 367-368)

    Ted Elliott, a San Francisco–based management consultant in the 1970s, was one of several investors in a cabernet-based project at the end of Moon Mountain Road in the Mayacamas Range between Sonoma and Napa, first called Glen Ellen Vineyard, later renamed Carmenet. (Carmenet was acquired by Gavilan Vineyards Inc., then the parent company of chalone vineyard and edna valley vineyard, eventually Chalone Wine Group, in 1981.) Almost immediately thereafter, Elliott joined forces with Brice Cutrer Jones, who was in the process of transforming his Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards from a vineyard-only enterprise to estate-based, state-of-the-art wine production specializing in chardonnay. After...

  201. TALISMAN WINES Sonoma, California
    (pp. 368-370)

    Scott Rich’s first career, in the 1980s, was in landscape architecture and environmental planning. In 1989, however—disenamored with work for land developers and the deadlines associated with regulatory approvals—Rich reexamined his interests and priorities, thought seriously about the red Burgundies he had tasted from his father’s cellar, and returned to his alma mater, the University of California Davis. This time his field was food science, with an emphasis on enology. Following stints as a research enologist for Robert Mondavi’s Woodbridge facility and subsequently for R. H. Phillips, Rich was named winemaker for Mont St. John Cellars in 1992....

  202. TALLEY VINEYARDS Arroyo Grande, California
    (pp. 371-373)

    Oliver Talley began farming vegetables in the Arroyo Grande Valley soon after World War II. Three decades later, aware that vineyards had been developed in the nearby Edna and Santa Maria valleys, Oliver’s son Don began to explore whether the hillsides above the family’s vegetable fields could be successfully planted to wine grapes. In 1981 five quarter-acre test plots were set out with cabernet sauvignon, riesling, chardonnay, pinot noir, and sauvignon blanc. A quarter century later, although Talley Farms remains an important player in the field of specialty produce, and is especially known for the quality of its bell peppers,...

  203. TANDEM WINERY Sebastopol, California
    (pp. 373-376)

    Two Gregs, La Follette and Bjornstad, with intersecting careers and continuous association beginning when they worked together at flowers vineyard and winery from 1997 to 1999, founded Tandem Winery in a repurposed fruitprocessing plant on the Gravenstein Highway north of Sebastopol just before the harvest in 2000. La Follette is a Davis-trained winemaker with a background in biochemistry, who built a stellar reputation with pinot at (sequentially) la crema winery, hartford family wines (where, along with Dan Goldfield and Susan Doyle, he was a founding winemaker), and Flowers. Bjornstad is a viticulturist and winemaker initially trained at Colorado State University...

  204. TANTARA WINERY Santa Maria, California
    (pp. 376-378)

    The story of William Cates and Jeffrey Fink is another instance of unlikely individuals eventually being attracted into the orbit of fine wine. Cates’s roots were in cameras, free-lance photography, political activism, and the professional theater. In the 1970s, he “dropped out” and became a grower of American hybrid grapes near Roanoke, Virginia. Fink, initially a musician who later became an architect, met Cates around 1980 when he dated Cates’s daughter. Both remember late-evening conversations about great red Burgundies, although Fink’s first wine “epiphany” was Robert Mondavi’s 1974 cabernet sauvignon; he also remembers having become excited about 1970s pinots from...

  205. TAZ VINEYARDS Templeton, California
    (pp. 378-379)

    The story of TAZ Vineyards begins with Chuck Ortman, and the story’s first chapter is found in the profile for Ortman Family Wines. When Ortman sold his Meridian brand to Wine World Estates (which later became Beringer Blass Wine Estates, Foster’s Wine Estates, and finally Foster’s America), Robert Steinhauer, a native son of California’s Central Valley and Beringer’s vice president for grower relations and viticulture, assumed responsibility for acquiring, developing, and managing a collection of large Santa Barbara County vineyards to feed the thirsty Meridian label. Chief among these were Cat Canyon, near Los Olivos, North Canyon in the Cumyama...

  206. TESTAROSSA VINEYARDS Los Gatos, California
    (pp. 379-381)

    First, Rob and Diana Jensen planted a 25-vine mini-vineyard in the yard of their Sunnyvale home and made wine in the garage. Then they attempted to restore an overgrown vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains but were defeated by a combination of poison oak and hungry birds. Finally, in 1993, the two electrical engineers created Testarossa Vineyards on a shoestring. In 1994 the sale of stock in Mountain View–based Veritas Software, which was Rob Jensen’s day job; a second mortgage on their primary residence; and a second mortgage on Rob’s parents’ house combined to generate sufficient cash to finance...

  207. THOMAS FOGARTY WINERY Woodside, California
    (pp. 382-383)

    In the 1970s, Thomas J. Fogarty was a Stanford University professor, cardiovascular surgeon, tireless inventor of medical devices, and home winemaker. Late in the decade, his home winemaking turned serious. He planted grapes on a 320-acre parcel of mountainous land overlooking the Stanford campus and San Francisco Bay; hired Michael Martella, who had trained at California State University Fresno, to make his wines “professionally”; and built a commercial winery to replace the cabin he had used for his personal efforts. The Thomas Fogarty Winery was bonded in 1981.

    The winery describes pinot noir as its flagship wine, although it accounts...

  208. TOLOSA WINERY San Luis Obispo, California
    (pp. 383-384)

    In the beginning, in 1990, there was Edna Ranch Vineyards, a very large aggregation of existing vineyards and new plantings totaling about 2,600 acres of chardonnay and pinot noir, plus small blocks of syrah, merlot, and sauvignon blanc, in the heart of Edna Valley. The principals were Bob Schiebelhut, a San Luis Obispo attorney and part-time winemaker—mentored in the 1980s by Romeo Zuech of Piedra Creek Winery—and Jim Efird, a local viticultural pioneer, who is credited with having planted or managed most of Edna Valley’s vineyards. Efird is also the general manager of Pacific Vineyard Company, the vineyard...

  209. TORII MOR WINERY Dundee, Oregon
    (pp. 385-386)

    In the mid 1980s, Donald R. Olson, a Stanford University–trained pediatric neurologist, purchased the Dundee Hills vineyard Jim McDaniel had planted in 1972. McDaniel’s planting, a bit more than 5 acres of own-rooted UCD 2A and 5, laid out in 9-foot rows with 6 feet between vines, around the 800-foot contour, was one of the first dozen plantings in an appellation that has since mushroomed to more than 2,000 planted acres. Olson sold the grapes until 1993, when he launched Torii Mor Winery, an unlikely name he says he “invented,” reportedly from a combination of Japanese and Scandinavian “roots,”...

  210. TUDOR WINES Santa Barbara, California
    (pp. 386-387)

    Dan Tudor’s forefathers have a long history farming grapes and lavender on the Croatian island of Hvar. At the beginning of the last century, his cousin’s grandfathers transported this vocation to California, where they grew table grapes near Delano. Dan’s first brush with wine grapes occurred in 1982, when he worked the harvest for another cousin, Louis Lucas, a Santa Maria Valley pioneer. After a detour into the world of pay-phone companies and prepaid calling cards that lasted more than a decade, Tudor returned to wine in 1997, launching Tudor Wines with his cousin Christian, and sourcing fruit from the...

  211. VARNER Menlo Park, California
    (pp. 387-389)

    In 1980 Bob Varner, more or less fresh from graduate school in animal genetics at the University of California Berkeley, and his bother Jim, who had studied winemaking at Davis, planted wine grapes on a 230-acre ranch in Portola Valley, California. (In truth, a quarter century later, Bob is still “on leave” from Berkeley’s doctoral program in gene regulation.) The ranch, farmed for decades for the hay of California red oats, is a foothills site that abuts the Windy Hill Open Space Preserve on the west side of Portola Road. The Varners’ first attentions were focused on chardonnay and a...

  212. W. H. SMITH WINES St. Helena, California
    (pp. 389-390)

    The first wine venture of Bay Area oil and gas man and real estate developer Bill Smith was the successful and much-respected La Jota project: cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and petite syrah grown on Howell Mountain and made in a tiny stone winery built at the turn of the twentieth century. Early in the 1990s, however, Smith found that his personal taste was turning away from cabernet toward Burgundies, and he was seduced by a new challenge. “If you make wine,” he explains, “you want to make wine out of the hard-to-do stuff.” So in 1992 he bought a half-ton...

  213. WALTER HANSEL WINERY Santa Rosa, California
    (pp. 390-392)

    Stephen Hansel is, roughly, a fourth-generation automobile dealer. His great-great-grandfather manufactured horse-drawn carriages in Stockton, California. His grandfather and father, Walter Sr. and Walter Jr., created successor businesses as automobiles gradually replaced carriages—including one of the first Ford dealerships west of the Rocky Mountains. On the side, Walter Jr. also liked to farm, initially raising both corn and kiwis in California’s San Joaquin Valley. When the family moved to Santa Rosa in the 1970s, the place of the corn and kiwis was taken by 250 grapevines, which led the family into home winemaking. (Later, Walter Jr. grew quite a...

  214. WESTREY WINE COMPANY McMinnville, Oregon
    (pp. 392-393)

    When Amy Wesselman and David Autrey graduated from Portland’s Reed College in 1991 with bachelor’s degrees in philosophy, they pondered what they should do “with life after college.” Suggestions from local winemakers like David Adelsheim and John Paul (see cameron winery) pushed the pair toward an unconventional choice: Wesselman worked the harvest of 1991 at Domaine de l’Arlot in Nuits-Saint-Georges, while Autrey did the same not far away at Domaine Dujac in Morey-Saint-Denis. Back in Oregon the following year, both took jobs in Oregon wineries, she first at bethel heights and rex hill and then at the eyrie vineyards, where...

  215. WHITCRAFT WINERY Santa Barbara, California
    (pp. 393-395)

    Twice a year, Chris Whitcraft writes a personal, folksy, matter-of-fact, oddly under-punctuated newsletter for the people who buy his wine. It is sometimes laconic, sometimes chatty, and sometimes curmudgeonly, and it always includes a few key bits of his family’s news. It reminds his customers that his is, at best, a one-, two-, or three-man show; that the other guys are mostly friends (or kids) who help out; and that he makes the wines himself, pays the bills himself, and has no office outside his home. Until recently, he didn’t have much of a winery either and used rented space...

  216. WHITE ROSE VINEYARD Dayton, Oregon
    (pp. 395-395)

    White Rose was the original high-altitude tenant on Hilltop Lane in the Dundee Hills, before there was Domaine Serene or Vista Hills—or even Domaine Drouhin, a bit lower on the hill and off to the east. The 10-acre vineyard was planted between 1980 and 1985 on a south-facing slope—in 10-foot rows with 8 feet between vines and to own-rooted UCD 4—and it provided grapes to several producers. In 2000 the vineyard was sold to Greg Sanders, a businessman from Orange County, California, who had spent much of the 1990s devouring textbooks on viticulture and winemaking, taking extension...

  217. WILD HORSE WINERY AND VINEYARDS Templeton, California
    (pp. 395-397)

    Ken Volk, a third-generation Californian raised in the San Gabriel Valley, discovered wine accidentally while studying fruit science at the California State Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo. After some formal training in the form of extension classes offered by the University of California Davis, and after time at Napa Valley’s famous Wine Lab, he and his family bought property on a mesa overlooking the Salinas River near Templeton, California, in 1981, where they began planting what eventually expanded to 40 acres of wine grapes ranging across workhorse varieties like chardonnay and merlot to outliers like malvasia bianca, dolcetto, and...

    (pp. 397-398)

    Willakenzie Estate is the self-proclaimed “retirement” project of Bernard Lacroute, a Burgundian by birth and electronic engineer by vocation, who spent most of his career in California’s Silicon Valley. Lacroute’s roots are not, however, in Burgundy’s Côte d’Or but in the Charollais, best known for beef cattle, on the plain east of the Saône River and south of Macon. Still, some of Lacroute’s earliest memories are the glasses of red wine, sometimes Beaujolais, sometimes Burgundy, and always well diluted with water, that his parents served him as a child.

    Willakenzie occupies a 420-acre ranch east of Yamhill that Lacroute acquired...

    (pp. 398-400)

    Willamette Valley Vineyards is a largely consumer-owned, publicly traded corporation based in Turner, Oregon, just southeast of Salem. It represents twenty-five years of the vision, entrepreneurship, and hands-on work of Jim Bernau, an Oregon native, “small-town boy,” and former small business lobbyist at the state capitol who was largely responsible for the passage of legislation at the end of the 1970s that permitted winery construction in farm-use zones and the direct shipment of wine to consumers, and that established the winery marketing tax credit that finances today’s Oregon Wine Board.

    In 1983 Bernau found property in the South Salem Hills...

  220. WILLIAMS SELYEM Healdsburg, California
    (pp. 400-404)

    Williams Selyem is an icon, and the company has had much to do with the emergence of the Russian River valley as a premier site for pinot noir. It was the first pinot-centered “cult” winery in North America, the first producer to make Joe Rochioli’s grapes genuinely famous, and one of the first to sell its entire production to fanatically loyal customers by the simple and inexpensive device of a mailing list. Today there are 25,000 names on the winery’s list, including restaurants, and 3,000 more on a waiting list. Allocations are small, and all customers, including restaurants, pay the...

  221. WINDY OAKS ESTATE Corralitos, California
    (pp. 404-405)

    Windy Oaks, 15 acres of pinot noir and one of chardonnay on a ridge overlooking Monterey Bay in the southwest corner of the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation, is the product of Jim and Judy Schultzes’ three-plus decades of fascination with wine. Their passion began with trips from a home base in Chicago to various European wine lands in the 1970s and grew serious when they lived in Melbourne, Australia, in the 1980s, close to pinot-friendly vineyards in the Yarra Valley, on the Mornington Peninsula, and in Geelong.

    When Jim Schultze’s career in management consulting brought him to San Francisco in...

  222. YAMHILL VALLEY VINEYARDS McMinnville, Oregon
    (pp. 405-408)

    Yamhill Valley Vineyards is a 15-acre site in the foothills of the Coast Range southwest of McMinnville, purchased by its present owners, Denis Burger, Elaine McCall, and David Hinrichs—all with PhDs in various health science disciplines—in 1983. It is the second-oldest vineyard in what is now the McMinnville AVA, planted (and replanted) progressively in 1983, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1998, 2000, and 2006. There are now 98 acres under vine between the 200- and 600-foot contours, facing south and southeast, of which 73 acres (in eleven blocks) are dedicated to pinot noir. The soils are mostly clay-rich silt and...

  223. Omitted with Regret
    (pp. 409-410)
  224. Contact Information
    (pp. 411-418)
  225. Vintage Notes
    (pp. 419-426)
  226. Pinot Terminology
    (pp. 427-438)
  227. Index
    (pp. 439-454)