First Growths

Previously On Raid Y(our) Cellar

Here is a playback of our exclusive second installment of the Russian River Wine Growers Series hosted by Jodi Bronchtien, Advanced Sommelier, Greg LaFollette, Ancient Oak Cellars Winemaker, Nancy Bailey, Gary Farrell Vineyards and Winery General Manager, and Alex Kanzler, Kanzler Vineyards Winemaker and Owner. Check out the featured wines below (while supplies last, quantities limited).

About Russian River Valley Wine Growers

The Russian River Valley Winegrowers (RRVW) is a nonprofit 501 (c) 6 marketing and educational association dedicated to promoting the Russian River Valley as the premier region for growing cool-climate grapes while producing wines that showcase the diversity of the AVA’s six neighborhoods. Generations of farmers and winemakers here are continuing a long legacy of producing distinctive wines of exceptional quality, authenticity, and integrity. They take seriously their responsibility to be good stewards of the land that sustains them through environmentally sound, socially equitable, and economically feasible practices.

It’s a legacy that began in the 19th century when immigrants from Mediterranean countries settled in the Russian River Valley and began planting vines. While most vineyards were "gardens" for personal family consumption, commercial wineries sprang up, and by the dawn of the 20th century, there were nearly 200 wineries operating.

About Ancient Oak Cellars

Ancient Oak Cellars' first wine was Pinot Noir from Manager and Vigneron, Ken and Melissa Moholt-Siebert's family vineyard in the Russian River Valley. Since then, Ancient Oak Cellars has read how finicky Pinot Noir is to grow and make into good wine. Well, they never knew anything else. As it happens, it is not so hard to grow Pinot Noir if you are in the right place. They started with a couple of hundred cases, then made thousands by adding more Pinot Noir from various vineyards and new varietals to the mix.

Ancient Oak Cellars' mission is to create extraordinary handmade wines with individuality and verve that cannot be accomplished in large-scale winemaking. They are set up to ferment relatively small lots separately, do all our punch-downs manually, and get to know each barrel regularly as we taste through the barrel room.  Assembly of the final wines is done by individually selecting each barrel and evaluating its unique contribution.

About Gary Farrell

Gary Farrell's story begins in the Russian River Valley before the AVA even existed in 1982. Gary Farrell crafted his first Pinot Noir from fruit grown in the now-legendary Rochioli Vineyard. He made his first wines on handshake deals with the growers in the region's pioneer growers - Rochioli, Allen, Hallberg - whose Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards captured a time and a place. Today, the Gary Farrell team continues Gary's legacy maintaining his same approaches to winemaking and seeking out only the vineyards that possess a truly unique voice.

About Kanzler

The Kanzler family moved to the Russian River Valley in 1994 with a desire to raise their family in the country. They fell in love with the property they are on today when the site was originally a decrepit, barely-producing apple orchard. Wanting to make better use of the land, they explored the idea of planting grapes. When they established their vineyard in 1996, they were one of the first to plant grapes in the Sebastopol Hills in western Sonoma County. Many grape growers thought the area said it was too cold and windy for vineyards. But with the following neighborly advice, "You can grow apples in 48 states," he said. "You can grow premium wine grapes in about three places in the world. You're living in one of them. If I was you, I'd plant grapes." they planted grapes. 

Today, Kanzler Vineyards has earned a reputation for consistently producing highly regarded Pinot Noir from the Sebastopol Hills of western Sonoma County. They continue to sell grapes to a few select producers whose focus is letting the essence of the vineyard come through the wine. They remain faithful to our core values: a family-owned business producing wines that are thoughtfully farmed and patiently crafted.

Featured Wines:

Ancient Oak Cellars Pinot Noir Siebert Ranch 2017
Gary Farrell Pinot Noir Hallberg Vineyard 2017
Kanzler Estate Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2019

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