California winemakers are not resting on their laurels, but are now reimagining the future of wine. We are pleased that many of the winemakers using our grapes are leading this innovation. Rather than the older Napa style of big fruit, high alcohol, tannic wines, the future points toward more nuanced, elegant, lower alcohol, food-friendly wines. These wines are made from grapes grown more naturally and with less intervention, more closely connecting vineyard and winemaking.
Nearly all of the winemakers using our grapes can be found in the pages of Jon Bonné’s book, The New California Wine (Ten Speed Press; November 5, 2013). The list includes Steve Matthiasson (Matthiasson Wines). Dan Petroski (Massican Winery), Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts (Arnot-Roberts), and Ryan and Megan Glabb (Ryme Cellars). Among winemakers using our Cabernet Sauvignon we count Pax Mahle (Wind Gap Wines), Ketan Mody (Jasud Estate), and Steve Matthiasson (Matthiasson Wines).
Below are brief profiles of some of these young winemakers, with links to websites where you may find their wines.
In addition to using our grapes in his blends, Steve manages our vineyard. In 1999 he co-authored the California manual on sustainable vineyard practices. In 2002 he began consulting on vineyard practices in Napa, and has become one of the valley’s top viticultural consultants. Steve has been assisting or overseeing our vineyard since 2002. We love his approach, blending solid science and a natural, organic farming mentality. As Warren Winiarski (the famous Napa Valley winemaker) put it: “His science does not blind his holistic perception of what the plant is normally doing.”
Steve Matthiasson was named Winemaker of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle and Food and Wine Magazine, and he was nominated for a James Beard Award in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. Read more about Steve here.
And here, find the long article by Karen Ulrich on the New Wave of California Wines, featuring Steve.
Dan is winemaker at Larkmead Vineyards in Calistoga, and has also created his own label, Massican, where he makes Friulian-style white blends. In 2014 Dan was named among the triad of innovative winemakers at the Meadowood Young Winemaker’s Dinner. Jon Bonné lists Dan among the “small posse of New California partisans.”
Dan was named named Winemaker of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle in 2017. You can read about his success here.
Learn more about Dan’s winemaking approach here.
Their focus is on is on small lot, single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir, as well as other uncommon varietals including our Ribolla Gialla.
We appreciate how connected they feel to the vineyards they use. “For every vineyard that we put our name on,” Meyers says, “we looked at 10 vineyards that didn’t make the cut.”
Duncan and Nathan are featured prominently in The New California Wine and as “modest revolutionaries.”
Ryan and Megan focus on wines with a distinctive character, wines that they love to drink, and the uncommon and unexpected. They use our Ribolla Gialla in their blends. See how love colors their winemaking process.
Pax is a sommelier-turned-winemaker who has always been influenced by French styles of winemaking, the wines that can be drunk every night with dinner. Pax is an early innovator, for example, with whole-cluster fermentation, exploring different varietals, and using concrete fermentation eggs. Learn about his evolution as a winemaker.
“A sort of modern-day Thoreau,” Ketan Mody is another pioneer making wine in his own way, with a focus on terroir. Ketan was featured in a 2013 lengthy interview with Loam Baby: A Wine Cultural Journal, and a 2015 interview featured on Vinous.
Robbie Meyer is the owner and winemaker for two Napa-based labels, L’Angevin and Peirson Meyer. He also does consulting work for several other properties in the Napa and Santa Barbara areas, including Grassi Wines, where he uses our Ribolla Gialla grapes. Robbie’s interest in food predated when he served as a restaurant wine steward when he was eighteen in his native Marietta, Georgia. With a Masters in Enology from the University of California, Davis, Robbie brings to his winemaking style a blend of science with an appreciation of how wine best pares with food.
Photography credits: Elaine Chukan Brown; David Bayless Photography
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