About Us, Winemaking & Blog
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Photo: James Chiang
Jayson Pahlmeyer surveys the fruits of his labor, 30 acres of grapevines planted on the Sonoma Coast, our Wayfarer Farm Vineyard.
Jayson Pahlmeyer surveys the fruits of his labor, 30 acres of grapevines planted on the Sonoma Coast, our Wayfarer Farm Vineyard.
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Photo: James Chiang
With characteristic Pahlmeyer exuberance, Jayson's daughter, Cleo, has infused the winery with new energy.
With characteristic Pahlmeyer exuberance, Jayson's daughter, Cleo, has infused the winery with new energy.

A Legend is Born

Anointed 94 points by Robert Parker, the first release, the 1986 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red, launched Pahlmeyer’s astonishing track record of critical acclaim.

In 1989, Jayson invited rising star winemaker Bob Levy to produce the first vintages of Pahlmeyer Chardonnay. The 1991 Chardonnay sold out immediately, giving Jayson good reason to decline a screen writer’s request for samples to use in a Hollywood movie. In the end though, he acquiesced and to his great surprise, the wine’s big role in the battle-of-the-sexes blockbuster Disclosure helped further the frenzy surrounding Pahlmeyer. 

In 1993, Helen Turley took the winemaking reins, beginning her own rise to prominence. She and her team – including protégé Erin Green - furthered the work of Dunn and Levy, improving the quality and consistency of Pahlmeyer wines through winegrowing, grape sourcing and winemaking innovation. To push quality to even greater heights, Helen urged Jayson to develop estate vineyards. She was instrumental in finding Waters Ranch – Pahlmeyer’s high-elevation Napa Valley estate vineyard planted to red Bordeaux varieties and Chardonnay, and Wayfarer Farm – the winery’s isolated estate vineyard in the newly established Fort Ross-Seaview (Sonoma Coast) AVA, a stone’s throw from famed Marcassin Vineyard on California’s Côte-d’Or, appropriately planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

…And Reborn

In 2012, Jayson named Kale Anderson director of winemaking for Pahlmeyer's Napa Valley vineyards and production, and Bibiana Gonzalez-Rave consulting winemaker for the winery's Sonoma Coast vineyard and operations. Both immediately went to work with the meticulous selections of clones chosen by their predecessors and planted by viticulture legend, David Abreu.

Pahlmeyer’s viticultural practices demand low yields while commanding maximum flavor intensity. Farming in one- to two-acre blocks with a palette of as many as 12 clones for each variety, Pahlmeyer’s world-class pedigree of artisanal winemaking continues to rise to astonishing levels as Kale and Bibiana push the envelope on clone and vineyard management, and cellar and winemaking equipment and practices. Magnificent terroir, winemaking soul and masterwork fill each bottle of Pahlmeyer wine.

With characteristic Pahlmeyer exuberance, Jayson’s daughter Cleo has infused the winery with new energy since joining the team in 2008. Layering her own love of wine and entertaining on what she has learned from her father, she is bringing renewed vibrancy to the Pahlmeyer legacy. And so it is that vintage after vintage, Pahlmeyer continues to live up to Jayson’s audacious dream - producing phenomenal wines of power and finesse.