The past 6 months have been a whirlwind for us, visiting wineries from Santa Barbara (Oreana, Lucas & Lewellen) to Sonoma (Pedroncelli, Selby), choosing the great wines we’ll be sending to California Wine Club members.
Someone we sat next to on a plane said we must be seeing some big wineries, since they make the best wine, right? Wrong.
Many of our CWC alumni make less than 10,000 cases. They’re the hands-on mom ‘n pop wineries. It’s their family business and they’re passionate about the wine they put in the bottle.
They’re the ones who walk the vineyards and spend the long hours in the cellar … the ones who sweat bullets trying to choose the best moment to pick the grapes … Their reputation is on the line when you uncork that bottle in their tasting room …
When we were talking with John Ramsey a while back (he began JR Wines in Napa Valley), he put it this way: “When you buy just two or three tons from a grower, they see the artisan work you do with their grapes, and then they want to give you their good fruit. By keeping small, I can put my heart into it.”
Small artisan wineries = better wine. At least, that’s how we see it after 23 years traveling California wine country. Makes sense!
What are your thoughts on small wineries? Any favorites?