It's our belief that authentic wine is a direct reflection of the specific patch of earth it comes from. This ethos drives us to work with the most unique and rugged vineyards found on the central coast. These special sites have a story to tell unlike any other. We have two simple goals that direct every operation above all else: to present the narrative of the growing season in a delicious and transparent format, and to craft a wine with a strong foundation intended to age for decades. The fundamentals that we follow are old-school; we work with the seasons. We spend the majority of our time working in the vineyards, with our harvest season spent between monitoring natural fermentations to picking grapes and the overtime hours dedicated to fixing broken gear. Every year is unique, so the vineyard and cellar practices evolve annually to adapt to the changes each season brings forth. These simple methods require thoughtful, timely decision making, detailed work, and the patience to allow the wine to evolve at its own pace. The results are singular, authentic wines that represent a region, a site, and are a piece of living California history.
A BIT OF BACKGROUND
The path to become a winemaker started at a young age for Ryan Stirm. His education was based on the outdoors; composting with his grandma in her garden, exploring the local hills to forage edible plants, fishing and camping with his dad. This tangible education he had as a youngster developed into a lifelong pursuit to study and stay immersed in the natural world. Ryan's shift to focus on viticulture came later on, with the realization that authentic wine is a piece of living history; a signature of a specific time and place in a bottle.
Ryan received a degree in viticulture and enology as well as minors in soil science and sustainable agriculture at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. His initial experience was at Saucelito Canyon Winery in Arroyo Grande, CA where he learned to work with ancient, dry-farmed vines (zinfandel planted in 1880). Not far from Saucelito Canyon, Ryan met his mentor, Justin Willett of Tyler Winery, while rock climbing in remote Santa Barbara County. This chance meeting led to a four year endeavor as the assistant winemaker at both Tyler and the Lieu Dit Winery (and several clients). In addition to working on the central coast, he was able to gain international experience in Margaret River, Western Australia and in the Wachau region of Austria (Weingut Tegernseerhof) where he learned to craft stylish Riesling and Grüner Veltliner.
2017 Kick-On Vineyard Riesling ~ The grapes were picked by hand and given 48 hours of whole cluster maceration to extract tannins, aroma, and flavor compounds in the skins, followed by pressing the grapes. No sulfur was added to allow the juice to oxidize slightly. After a 36 hour cold settle in tank, the clean juice was racked off the solids to stainless steel tanks for spontaneous fermentation. Sulfur was added a month prior to bottling. Racked to tank one week prior to bottling. Unfined and unfiltered. Bottled July 5th, 2018. 218 cases produced.
2017 Wirz Vineyard Riesling ~ The grapes were picked by hand. At the winery the grapes were given 24 hours of whole cluster maceration to extract tannins, aroma, and flavor compounds in the skins, followed by pressing the grapes. No sulfur was added to allow the juice to oxidize. After a 36 hour cold settle in tank, the clean juice was racked off the solids to another tank for spontaneous fermentation. The wine was sulfured post completion of secondary fermentation with elevage in tank on fine lees. Racked off fine lees a month prior to bottling. Unfined and unfiltered. The only addition we ever use is sulfur. Bottled July 5th, 2018. 250 cases produced.
2017 Wirz Vineyard Zin ~ The grapes were picked by hand, sorted in the field. At the winery the grapes were destemmed into a redwood fermenter, with 1% Riesling grapes added into the field blend. Pumped over once daily, pressed after a 10 day fermentation. Elevage in old (10 years) barriques for 18 months on fine lees. Racked to stainless steel one month prior with the addition of Wirz Riesling into the final blend (Zinfandel 81.5%/Riesling 18.5%). Unfined, unfiltered. Bottled February 13th, 2019. 178 cases produced.
2017 Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot Noir ~ The grapes were picked by hand, sorted in the field. At the winery the grapes were destemmed into a redwood fermenter. Pumped over once daily, pressed after a 14 day fermentation. Elevage in old (10 years) barriques for 18 months. Racked to stainless a month before bottling. Unfined, unfiltered. Bottled February 13th, 2019. 155 cases produced.
2018 Los Chuchaquis PetNet ~ From the C5 vineyard in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley, this organically farmed Albariño was our first foray into the world of sparkling wine. Made via simple methods, the grapes were picked at night on 9/1/2018, pressed with no skin contact and fermented warm to dryness. A portion of the juice was reserved, frozen, and later added to the finished wine, and bottled the next day, at the end of October. months of bottle age (en tirage), to finish the secondary fermentation in bottle. Unfined, unfiltered, no sulfur added, and not disgorged.