Saintsbury Winery was founded by Richard Ward and David Graves in 1981. Incidentally they both met during their graduate studies in Enology at UC Davis while taking a brewing class together and is where they made their first non commercial wine (a Santa Barbara grown barrel fermented Riesling).
Fate sometimes works its magic – David had a biology degree from UC Santa Cruz and Richard had an engineering degree and both were pursuing careers in the wine industry.
A Meeting of the Minds (and Palates)
David Graves and Richard Ward, both UC Davis graduate students at the time, met in brewing class. In addition to sharing a love for the homebrew, they also had similar taste in wine:
David and Dick are housemates working the Napa Valley harvest at Chappellet and Stag's Leap Wine Cellars.
Saintsbury Comes to Life
Saintsbury is founded by David and Dick focusing on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The winery’s namesake honors George Saintsbury, literary historian & oenophile (1845-1933).
New Winemaking Experiences
First wines released: 1981 Chardonnay ($7.50) and 1981 Rancho Carneros Pinot Noir ($8). Rancho Carneros was a single vineyard wine from across Cutting Wharf Rd from us, owned by Zach Berkowitz.
1500 Los Carneros Ave
Ned Forrest is hired on as the architect for the winery and office. Broke ground in June when we received our use permit with completion of the winery building in December. Bill Knuttel becomes Winemaker. Carneros is named an American Viticultural Area. First bottling of Saintsbury’s iconic Garnet Carneros Pinot Noir.
Byron Kosuge hired as Assistant Winemaker and promoted to Winemaker in 1996.
Home Ranch Estate
Home Ranch estate vineyard (13 acres) planted with attention to rootstock and clones. Pommard cuttings came from friend and fellow winemaker, David Adelsheim from Oregon.
Cellar expanded. First container of Saintsbury wine is exported to the UK.
Brown Ranch Vineyards is Purchased
Brown Ranch on Old Sonoma Road, once a hayfield and Percheron horse farm, is purchased by Saintsbury and planted to Pinot Noir & Chardonnay in 1992. The first vintage of Brown Ranch is 1996, the small crop in 1995 went into the 1995 Reserve PN, no wonder that wine was so good!
Wine Spectator names 1995 Reserve Chardonnay as the Number 10 wine in their Top 100 Wines of the Year.
First open top fermenters installed at the winery.
Creation of Vineyard Series Wines
Vineyard Series portfolio is created; a selection of high quality vineyards that results in single vineyard Pinot Noir bottlings. Jerome Chery is named Winemaker.
Chris Kajani is hired as Associate Winemaker and becomes Winemaker in 2013.
Saintsbury Goes Green
Installation of 7,000 sq ft of solar panels, 85 kilowatt photovoltaic system. Vin Gris of Pinot Noir and Carneros Chardonnay are bottled with screw cap.
5 ton open top fermenters
Fifteen more 5 ton open top fermenters are installed, bringing the total to 21. New packaging on all Vineyard Series wines.
Three new vineyard partners added in the true Sonoma Coast, Green Valley of Russian River Valley and Anderson Valley.
Tim Colla named Winemaker
Tim Colla, hired on as Oenologist in 2010, elevated to Associate Winemaker in 2013 is named Winemaker in 2015.