Family of Friends Newsletter


Haas Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir – Wine Story

By Ross Halleck | August 17, 2020

The Haas Vineyard is really not named, as such. It’s a modest, two-acre Pinot Noir vineyard behind an equally modest home near Glen Ellen on the eastern foot of Sonoma Mountain. It’s currently owned by Peter and Ginny Haas, but we had purchased fruit from this site through two previous owners.

I met Pete some years ago after the first harvest since he had purchased the property. His daughter was getting married and he hoped to pour wine made from his vineyard at her wedding.…

Farm Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – Wine Story

By Ross Halleck | August 17, 2020

The Farm Vineyards was the first vineyard in our neighborhood from which we purchased fruit to make Pinot Noir.

In 2003, after being judged #1 Pinot in the United States, we needed to make more wine than our Estate Grown Pinot Noir could support. Greg Lafollette, our winemaker, started combing the countryside and met Ben and George, just down the road from the winery in western Sebastopol.

Ben and George were successful, retired San Francisco business attorneys who planted a two-acre backyard vineyard with modest aspirations for its future.…

Three Sons Cuvee Russian River Pinot Noir – Wine Story

By Ross Halleck | August 17, 2020

When we planted our Estate Pinot Noir Vineyard in 1993, our goals were not lofty.

There had never been a vineyard planted in western Sebastopol, all the way to the coast. We were the first, and we began without a clue what we were doing. We purchased the rootstock from the Yellow Pages.

We thought it would be beautiful, relatively inexpensive landscaping and we could make “backyard garage wine.” In the best of all worlds,…

Calandrelli Vineyard Dry Gewurztraminer from the Russian River Valley – Wine Story

By Ross Halleck | August 17, 2020

I was introduced Gewurztraminer in, of all places, Kenya in the 1970s. I lived in Kenya as a young man. It had been a British Colony just a decade earlier.

India had also been a British Colony, a relatively short hop across the Indian Ocean. As part of the British Empire, Indian businessmen were the “merchant class” in Kenya. They owned businesses, real estate and restaurants along-side their British and colonial counterparts.

I was first introduced to Indian food in Kenya.…

“Not Your Mother’s” Dry White Zinfandel from the Russian River Valley – Wine Story

By Ross Halleck | August 17, 2020

European semi-sweet wines were the rage in the 1970s. Blue Nun, a German Liebfroumilch, was a fave. Mateus Rosé from Portugal was the most popular wine in the world.

At the same time, a new entrant, White Zinfandel wine, joined the ranks of American wines made by Sutter Home.

Sutter Home employed a winemaking technique called “saignée,” draining some of the free-run juice from Zinfandel to create a concentrated, robust Zinfandel. “Saignee” literally means “to bleed” in French.…

Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc, Little Sister – Wine Story

By Ross Halleck | August 13, 2020

The grapes for our Little Sister Sauvignon Blanc are sourced from “Patient Terrier” Vineyard named in homage to the faithful companion of its owner, Greg Conklin.

Rather than “Patient Terrier,” we chose to name the wine for a family story.

In 2002, we were judged #1 Pinot Noir in the United States for the first crop from Halleck Vineyard Estate, harvested in 2001. This gave us the street cred to make any wine we chose.…

Caring for an Adult

By Ross Halleck | June 9, 2020

It feels like yesterday when we planted Halleck Vineyard. Jennifer was combing the Yellow Pages looking for rootstock, stumbling across a single-line listing for John Caldwell under “Nurseries.” This was amongst ads hawking all manner of services and products. Previous calls came up empty. There was a dearth of Pinot Noir rootstock available in 1991-92.

John answered the phone and spoke to Jennifer about our location and specific site. He was an enthusiast and guided us to some new Pinot Noir clones from Dijon,…

Curried Quinoa and Salmon: Austin Perkins

By Ross Halleck | June 9, 2020

We are privileged to partner with the finest chefs in the world. Thomas Keller of Per Se and The French Laundry, Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern, Cat Kora, and Michael Psilakis, to name a few.

We’re featuring dishes from many of our friends on a monthly basis with recipes and stories, like Austin Perkins, formerly of Nick’s Cove, a local favorite.

He grew up in our neighborhood enjoying the coast, its natural beauty and abundant farm produce.…

Arctic Char with new potatoes, Apples and Endive

By Ross Halleck | June 9, 2020

Mike Anthony, the Executive Chef of Gramercy Tavern shares his recipe for ‘Arctic Char with New Potatoes, Apples and Endive’