Back in 1995, when Victoria and Russell started dating in Des Moines, their favorite game was “Guess the Wine.” They would take turns bringing a blind wine and make the other person guess the varietal and region. Looking back on those dates, there is little mystery about how they arrived where they are today.
Soon after that, they moved to Minneapolis and fell in with a group of wine lovers whose passion and knowledge fanned their flame. They started taking regular trips to wine country in California, where they met many of the finest winemakers. They were so inspired by them that to this day they follow many of their principles. They learned first-hand about Philip Togni’s attention to every minute detail…. Saw how Bob Foley would only pick fruit if his palate — not some lab test — told him it was time… Heard Greg La Follette telling them how careful you have to be when making decisions in the winery because even the smallest decision has an impact on the final wine. Their conversations still reverberate whether he is at a vineyard or in the winery.
Soon enough they were searching for property in their native California. Victoria spent three years trying to find the right site. Finally, she found her dream home on eight acres of land in Bennett Valley, just a few miles from where Russell grew up. It only took one visit by Kal Showket to plant the seed that led to their estate vineyard. Little did they know that Kal would be key to many of the major changes in their lives from that point on. Later that year, the Showket’s gave them a ton of Cabernet Sauvignon from their best block to see if they would enjoy winemaking.
When that ton of fruit arrived at the winery, they had a dozen friends help us sort the grapes. For fifteen hours they worked, examining each grape by hand and sorting them into three groups: plump and juicy, dimpled, and very ripe. We fermented each batch separately. Tasting the lots two days later, the differences were staggering. The hook was set.