When we planted our Estate 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, assuming the fruit good enough, we could sell it, pay for the agriculture, and have some left over as a college fund for our infant son. That was the big vision.
The vineyard produced fruit, but it was meager and took much longer than expected. It was six years before it bore a commercial crop. We had three sons by then. It seemed an unlikely college fund.
We sold it for blending to a small winemaker. He graciously made a couple of cases of the pre-blended wine from our vineyard as a gift to us. This was a courtesy often extended by winemakers to their growers.
Then we met Greg Lafollette. Greg had become a winemaking rock star with the meteoric rise of Flowers, the first “cult winery” in western Sonoma County. He oversaw the building of the winery and managed the winemaking for the Flowers family.
Greg’s kids were in elementary school with our kids. After a parent-teacher one evening, I gave Greg a bottle of our first vintage to get his opinion.
He called at dawn the next morning with an offer to buy our grapes and make a Halleck Vineyard designate the very next year. He was starting a winery called Tandem. We couldn’t have been more thrilled.
It’s first vintage, the 2001 Tandem, Halleck Vineyard Pinot Noir was judged #1 Pinot Noir in the US in 2002. But with three sons, even with a vineyard designated wine, there was not enough for a college fund.
This launched Halleck Vineyard. Under Greg’s tutelage, we purchased fruit from a selection of young vineyards popping up all over Sebastopol. We created a Russian River Valley blend of some of the finest fruit in the world.
Three Sons was born in 2003, the “little brother” to our Estate Grown, and a college fund for our sons, Connor, Adam, and Quinn. Their names and ages grace every bottle, by vintage. Of course, their names never change:)
It’s a classic Russian River Pinot with a hat-tip to Burgundy. Beautifully balanced, it leads with dark cherry, delivering a mid-palate of clove, cinnamon and forest floor, and a lingering finish of black pepper. A passion for Pinot leads the charge!