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A Journey to Red Car Wines

Just back from their trip out west, Brian scripted this recap of his and Juerie’s visit to Red Car Wines:

On the weekend of June 16-17th, we ventured North from the winery to visit Red Car’s Estate property in Fort Ross Seaview AVA, home of the “true Sonoma Coast”.  Located off of King’s Ridge Road, their property lies on the second hill from the Pacific, just North of the likes of Hirsch, Marcassin and Helenthal.  Here, Red Car has an incredible 120-acre parcel to which 15 acres are planted (with the potential of 30 +) under vine.  The remainder of this property will stay forever wild and protected.

Not only is this one of the most beautiful places in the country, but it is also one of the most magical places on earth.  Nestled amongst rolling hills, above the fog line, and planted to mostly suitcase clones of Pinot Noir, Red Car’s Estate is one of the few vineyards in this vast area, just a pips’ throw from the Pacific.

A nod to California’s past, this “true Sonoma Coast” is a testament to our country’s history and a living will of its heritage.  Not riddled with McManisons or trusted to financiers that only want their piece of the pie, North Sonoma Coast is home to a community of neighbors, who might have the means to purchase, but not without a purpose to own land here.

Red Car’s Vineyards with the Pacific on the Horizon

And this is exactly where Red Car comes home to nest.  Planted in 2004, and tended with rigorous viticulture and low yields, their Estate vineyards have just started to bear fruit; 2010 will mark the first vintage of their Estate property, which will be available in our portfolio in the fall.

While driving down the coast, we were shocked by the cooling influence of the Pacific.  As we drove up King’s Ridge Road (stay tuned for a bike trail TEW ride in the future), on an unseasonably warm day in Sonoma, the thermometer read 94 degrees.  Descending on the town of Jenner, the dial read 60.  Within less than one mile, the temperature had dropped over 35 degrees, a prime example of the cooling effect that the ocean has on these vineyards, and exactly what drove co-founder Carroll Kemp north to the region each weekend from Los Angeles to chase the magic of this area.  Their proximity to the ocean coupled with Carroll’s willingness to allow it to affect their crops, while having trust in their region, is what allows Red Car to produce delicate, cool-climate influenced wines.

Peter Willmert & Carroll Kemp

While walking through the vineyard, Carroll mentioned that they had found another Estate vineyard down in Occidental, a piece of property on the “boardwalk” of Pinot Noir in the Sonoma Coast.  Riding along the ridgeline above some of the most revered vineyards in the country, Taylor Lane includes Summa Vineyard, the plot that put cool climate California Pinot Noir on the world map; BA Theiriot Vineyard from Littorai, and Kistler’s late Occidental Vineyard. Here, at the end of the road just past these revered sites, lies Red Car’s property.  An incredible 13-acre site planted six years ago to Pinot Noir, this vineyard sits above the fog line, less than six miles from the ocean, and has been organically farmed from its inception.  With its direct exposure to the Pacific, this vineyard is without a doubt one of the coolest sites for Pinot Noir in Occidental.

Our partnership with Red Car is an investment in their future, a promise that their wines and our interests will become even more entwined as time goes on.  With this recent journey, we’re looking forward even more, to sharing the ride with the individuals behind Red Car who have the courage to truly invest in their passions.

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