To tell the story of Topophilia Wines, we must go back several decades. It was harvest of 1996 and little did I know this would be the first of many harvests to come…. I was ten years old. One of my friends grandfather was a home winemaker and asked us to help him pick and crush the fruit that year. We harvested the fruit, struggling to lift the heavy buckets of fruit into the bins. When we got to the winery (a small shed behind his house) we dumbed the fruit into a homemade concrete fermenter and began the fun part for us, stomping the grapes. I remember the feel of the cool sticky juice between my toes, racing to see who could smash the most grapes.
We laughed and threw clusters at one another. We tasted some of the grapes at the instruction of the winemaker as he described the flavors, acidity, and tannins. It was that day I fell in love. This was the beginning of Topophilia…. A Love Of Place.
Fast forward 11 years… The Place is Rancho Sysqouc Winery in the Santa Maria Valley. It is now my second harvest. Under the guidance of winemaker Alec Franks, I am exposed to every aspect of the winemaking process. He explains why we pick at certain times based on flavor, sugar, and acidity…. It came flooding back to me. The feel of the grapes between my toes, the smell of the sweet juice, my friends grandfathers voice describing the fruit. Two weeks into that harvest I knew that this was the path for me. This was my Place.
10 years later I am working my second harvest of the year in the Central Otago Region of New Zealand crafting world class Pinot Noir at Rockburn Winery. Harvest is coming to an end and we’ve received the last of the fruit for the year. Sitting on the roof of the winery, we are enjoying a bottle of champagne to toast the coming end of the season. It’s a sunny yet brisk day, the leaves have fallen and winter is on its way. I look around at the Place I’ve come to love and admire its rugged beauty. We talk about the wines we love, the places we love, the people we love…. This is my Place.
I am now based in the Sonoma Valley where I farm over 10 acres of premium vineyards from which I produce our Carneros Pinot Noirs. As we move forward with our love of places, I search out vineyards from unique and special regions of California, crafting world-class wines that represent these places and the love we have for them.
The wines we produce are in honor of the places we love and the people that make them truly special to us. Join us on our journey and feel free to share yours while enjoying a bottle of Topophilia Wine and toasting to the places you love!