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Fort Ross Vineyard

JEFF PISONI: WINEMAKER AT FORT ROSS VINEYARD!

Fort Ross Vineyard has been very fortunate in attracting stellar winemakers - such as Fred Scherrer, Ed Kurtzman and Helen Keplinger - who have been eager to work with our estate grown grapes from the Wild Sonoma Coast.

We are now delighted to announce that Jeff Pisoni, the gifted winemaker from Pisoni Vineyards and Winery, is the new winemaker at Fort Ross Vineyard. A few days ago Jeff organized an extensive barrel tasting of the latest Fort Ross vintage. We set out to compare the different wine lots from our 30 small vineyard blocks - most planted with carefully selected heritage field selections - and then the effect of different French Oak Barrels on wine from within the same lot. The effect of the barrels from the different coopers was quite transformative.

Firstly we are delighted to tell you that the barrel samples are intensely colored, vibrant, balanced and have a most satisfying concentration and velvety texture, with a distinct beginning, middle and end range - and it is still only the beginning of February! We all agreed that barrels with a soft, subtle effect on the wine were especially pleasing as they allow the vineyard terroir to shine through. We were also delighted that we had chosen new barrels with finesse - and had decided to average just 30% new oak - as the 2009 harvest allowed time for the development of sublime flavors that we did not want to overwhelm with oak.

There is quite a buzz in the wine industry about the potential of Jeff's winemaking ability with the Fort Ross grapes grown on the steep coastal ridges overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This week another barrel tasting has been requested by our New York Distributors who are very excited about this collaboration. Fort Ross and Jeff Pisoni also believe that their collaboration is producing exceptional wines - and each modestly attributes the success to each other's talent...

Sincerely,
Linda & Lester Schwartz