Welcome to our very first winery newsletter. I am so excited to share a little more about how this winery project came to be as well as update you on all the exciting things that have been happening around the winery. I am thrilled that the first wines are now (finally) in bottle and ready to share with all of you as part of this Fall release!
The Oxlee Graham Wines story so far...
This Harvest marked a solid year since I stepped away from my role as Director of Winemaking at Paul Hobbs Winery, and fully embarked on this new journey of creating wines under my own label. It was a scary leap, but one that I had spent the previous 14 years (13 of those at Paul Hobbs) preparing to take. Having my own label was never really a dream of mine, but something that started to organically become a clear next step in my career. I wanted to create a space where I could be creative and explore wine growing regions and varietals that were new to me, while still relying on my experience with some old friends like Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. I wanted a new challenge and to learn the business side of winemaking. I wanted to honor my grandmothers and to create a legacy in their name. So I made the jump, and Oxlee Graham Wines was born.
"Pinots and My Weirdos"...
That's what I lovingly call this project. I plan to create a fun breadth of different Pinot Noir styles while playing with other varietals off the beaten path; starting with Petit Verdot, Picpoul Blanc and Chenin Blanc. I pour my heart and soul, and (embarrassingly) a lot of tears in to every wine I make. Winemaking takes passion, patience and perseverance. I obsess over every detail, choosing the perfect barrel for each wine, tasting at each step and ultra fine tuning each final blend. Over the course of a season, with the right guidance, the wines form their own personalities and each one becomes unapologetically unique. To allow each wine's authenticity to shine through, the wines are vinified in the most natural way possible and each blend is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This project has been so much fun, and it has allowed me to get back to doing what I love – making wine!
This marked my 15th vintage in the industry. Each season has something to teach you if you are paying attention – this year we learned patience. We had the latest start to the harvesting season I have ever seen. A cool Spring followed by a cool August and September made for extra-long grape hang times. This can be great for phenological ripeness in the fruit – as long as the rain stays at bay. We twiddled our thumbs as we waited, frustrated with on and off rain and slow ripening fruit.
Finally on September 22nd, the OG harvest began with some Pinot Noir from the Alder Springs Vineyard (same site as is included in this release). Patience paid off. Quality this harvest is looking great, with amazing freshness and complex flavors already forming in the young wines. I was able to let out a sigh of relief as the last fruit graced the cellar on October 19th. This last fruit in, also from the Alder Springs Vineyard, is our fun new white wine blend. A nice little bookend for ya!
There's more to come...
I am so excited to announce that I will be making three new wines this year – a Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir, a Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and a Mendocino County Chenin Blanc/ Picpoul Blanc blend. These new wines will mean a total of six different wines to release in 2024. How fun! In addition to the two Pinots included in this current release, I also made a 2022 Petit Verdot. Still aging in barrel, from the Fountaingrove District, the Petit is set to release in the Spring.
I am happy that you have decided to come on this journey with me, and can’t wait to share these wines with you. Both are currently available on our website for purchase. Your continued support means the world.
We'd love to hear any comments or questions below. Or head on over to our Wine Cellar to check out the current releases.