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A Perfect 10 on the Sonoma Coast

By Winemaker Bibiana Gonzalez-Rave, November 1, 2013
The road to Pahlmeyer's Wayfarer Vineyard on the wild Sonoma Coast

The road to Pahlmeyer's Wayfarer Vineyard on the wild Sonoma Coast

 

In spring of 2012, in my due diligence before becoming consulting winemaker for Pahlmeyer’s Sonoma Coast wines, I took a drive to see the family’s Wayfarer Vineyard in the new Fort Ross-Seaview AVA. After three confusing hours of driving and a fair share of wrong turns, I had my first look at the vineyard.

Perfect rows on a contoured crest, three rugged ridges in from the wild north Sonoma coastline. Luminous, isolated, bewitching.  I fell in love on the spot and agreed to serve as winemaker and work with Pahlmeyer exclusively if I could also oversee the management of this exceptional vineyard.  And that is how I came to know Wayfarer Vineyard.

That summer, I focused on understanding every aspect of the remarkable site. The phenomenal 2012 vintage couldn’t have heralded a more brilliant future. We will release the 2012 wines under the new Wayfarer label in Fall 2014.  Join us on this exciting new journey; visit wayfarervineyard.com to sign up for the mailing list.

 

Wayfarer Vineyard - October 2013

Wayfarer Vineyard - October 2013

 

In 2013, growing conditions were ideal.  The winter was very cold, but without intense frost. Bloom was unmarred by rain, and the delicate balance of cool marine drafts and warm summer temps never faltered.  I took advantage of the opportunity to fine-tune vineyard and canopy management, starting with a deep study of the soil, bringing on a fulltime vineyard foreman, purchasing our own equipment, opening canopies for greater exposure to light and air, reducing crop loads, and hiring a winemaking assistant.

 

Harvest at Wayfarer Vineyard - October 2013

Harvest 2013 at Wayfarer Vineyard

 

But the season’s ripening sealed the deal. I have never experienced more perfect maturation - physiologically (sugar and acidity), phenologically (color extraction and tannin development), and aromatically. The most intense, intoxicating aromatics! 

As winemaker for Pahlmeyer’s Sonoma Coast wines, I have the privilege to work with Ritchie and Hallberg Vineyards as well as Wayfarer, giving me a sense of conditions at multiple sites. And on a scale of 1 to 10, Sonoma Coast’s 2013 vintage was a 10! 

 

Jayson Pahlmeyer with me at the Wayfarer house

Jayson Pahlmeyer with me at the Wayfarer house

 

Bibiana Gonzalez-Rave, Consulting Winemaker, Pahlmeyer Sonoma Coast