California winemakers are not resting on their laurels, but are now re-imagining 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.
Many 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), and Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts (Arnot-Roberts). Winemakers using our Ribolla Gialla grapes include Miguel Luna and Maayan Koschitzky (Grassi Wines) and Phineas Fittipaldi (Phineas Phinest Wines). Among winemakers using our Cabernet Sauvignon we count Steve Matthiasson (Matthiasson Wines) and Jeff Morgan (Covenant 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 is a James Beard Award 6-time nominee (in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019). Read more about Steve here.
And here, find the long article by Karen Ulrich on the New Wave of California Wines, featuring Steve.
The former winemaker at Larkmead Vineyards in Calistoga, Dan now focuses on 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.”
The former West Coast editor of Wine Spectator magazine (where he worked from 1992 to 1999), Jeff partnered with Leslie Rudd in 2003 to found Covenant Wines. Covenant has an urban winery located in Berkeley, California, and Covenant Israel makes wines in northern Galilee. Morgan's wines have received praise from Robert Parker, who dubbed the 2005 Covenant Cabernet one of the “finest kosher wines on Planet Earth.” And in March 2013, the wine critic Jancis Robinson said that Morgan has made "the best kosher wine I have ever tasted."
Mark Grassi (pictured at left) established Grassi & Associates as one of Napa Valley’s most highly regarded construction firms, before working on another passion with Grassi Wines. Daughter Cassandra now oversees all aspects of the winery. The wine-making team consists of Miguel Luna (Cassandra Grassi’s husband) and Maayan Koschitzky. Miguel knows the family property better than anyone—he’s farmed it for years. Maayan partners with Miguel in La Pelle Wines, and is Director of Winemaking for Philippe Melka’s Atelier Melka, where he’s had a hand in multiple 100-point wines. Both Miguel and Maayan are fresh off of accolades from Wine Enthusiast: Miguel was named the magazine’s “Viticulturalist of the Year” in 2020, and Maayan was one of their “Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers” in 2019.