About Us, Winemaking & Blog
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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.
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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.

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 screenwriter’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 Pahlmeyer’s high-elevation Napa Valley estate vineyard, planted in 1998 to red Bordeaux varieties and Chardonnay. In that same year, a stone’s throw from her famed Marcassin Vineyard on the extreme Sonoma Coast, she found the Wayfarer estate ideally situated for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Both estate vineyards were planted by viticulture legend David Abreu in 1998 and 2002, respectively.

In 2012, Jayson named Bibiana González Rave winemaker for Wayfarer, to oversee his new wines from the estate vineyard, then ten years old and perfectly poised for a solo bottling. She immediately went to work meticulously optimizing the vineyards and realizing his dream to create world class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In 2016, her role expanded across all of the Napa Valley operations and Pahlmeyer winemaking.

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 new heights as Bibiana pushes the envelope on clone and vineyard management, as well as cellar and winemaking equipment and practices. 

In 2008, Jayson’s daughter Cleo joined the team, bringing the next generation into the Pahlmeyer legacy and launching the Wayfarer brand.

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.