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The Winemaker

About Us

The Watkins Family believes that vineyard location, climate, soil composition and slope are key factors in creating wines of extraordinary quality and distinction. Our vineyard sites were chosen because they have good sun exposure and enough warmth to fully ripen late red varietals every year. Equally important to quality winegrowing are rocky volcanic soils with slopes that provide good drainage. Grapevines that experience the proper amount of stress produce grapes that are smaller, more highly colored, thicker-skinned and intensely flavored. These vines are pushed to work harder, thus creating grapes with more concentration and a better sense of the place in which they were grown. Famed organic vineyard consultant Phil Coturri farms the vineyards for our Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Zinfandel/Petite Sirah.

The Watkins Family Cabernet Sauvignon is grown high upon the steep slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains which divide Sonoma Valley from Napa Valley. The rocky red volcanic soils are shallow and well-drained, creating a struggle for the vine that results in low yields, balanced canopies, and smaller berry size. These small vines allow excellent sunlight penetration to the clusters, and produce a wine of intense ripeness, rich tannin, and amazing color.

Our Lovall Hills Vineyard Napa Valley Syrah is grown on the most southern tip of the Mayacamas Mountains, directly above the Carneros District. With its close proximity to San Pablo Bay and San Francisco Bay, Lovall Hills is considered to be a cool climate Syrah site. The cool bay breezes allow for a long hang-time, during which the grapes develop complex flavors of blueberry and white pepper.

The Watkins Family Zinfandel/Petite Sirah is from Taylor Mountain Vineyard, the place where winemaker Randall Watkins grew up. The Watkins Family has grown spicy Zinfandel on this gentle slope since 1979. Our favorite Zinfandel wines have always contained a percentage of Petite Sirah, so in 2001 we decided to plant a portion of the vineyard to Petite Sirah. Now the blend is showing even more spicy pepper and tangy fruit than ever.

In order to produce the highest quality wines, the Watkins Family uses fruit only from premier hillside vineyard sites. We are dedicated to meticulous vineyard care, picking at optimum ripeness, and creating bold wines which express the balance and pure flavors of the vineyard.

Our Small Family-Owned Winery in Sonoma County

Winemaker Randall Watkins, bird's-eye view of the Barn Block Cabernet Sauvignon on the rugged slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains.
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