We specialize in producing fine wine for private estate vineyards around Woodside, Atherton, Portola Valley, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos & Saratoga whose unique attributes are highlighted by state-of-the-art equipment and old-world hand-crafted expertise.
We have been making excellent wines for many years, with an ever-expanding reputation and list of awards and accolades including both ‘Best of Class’ and ‘Double Gold’, 2 of the top 7 positions out of 650 wines submitted from around the world to the San Francisco Chronicle Wine competition. We are specialists in the area’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinots, Merlots, Syrahs, red blends, Sauvignon Blancs and Chardonnays.
We are also specialists in the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation’s steep slopes, shallow soils and marine layers that provide early budbreak, late harvest and cooler end-of-day temperatures so grapes mature slowly with intense and complex flavor.
Finally, we are also specialists in small lot winemaking, working with a number of private vineyards and size of harvested lots that would baffle most wineries and in making the extra texture and complexity work for the wines. Only a local, residential-specialist winery such as ourselves has the deep experience to take full advantage of the unusually numerous vineyards’ varied terrain and grapes.
Note – Yield depends significantly on year, varietal and terroir. A ton of grapes can require 300-700 vines. A ton yields about 2.5 barrels. A barrel yields around 22 cases after racking and filtering.
1. 100% of Yield Service
Once the fruit arrives, if 100% of the wine is destined for the private client, then we handle it as a stand alone cuvee in its own tank and barrel. There has to be sufficient wine for a full barrel (including topping wine). Separate processing, pressing and ferments are extremely tricky to do with professional-level equipment and processes. They’re also very time-consuming for single barrels, but possible. Separate testing, topping and then racking, filtering and ultimately bottling single barrels is equally tricky and time-consuming, but again possible. The price varies depending on a number of winemaking options, particularly oak barrels (new top-quality French oak amortizes out at $5 per bottle just for oak, neutral American oak is closer to $1 per bottle). Our standard quality spec (the same we sell our $40+ wines within) for private clients equates to $20 per bottle.
2. 20% Back For Free Service
The most typical arrangement with vineyard owners. Once the fruit arrives and is weighed, we allocate 20% of that weight to that client and later deliver the corresponding amount of a local cuvee of that varietal back to the client for free.
Over 90% of our clients operate under this system as they want a high-quality wine, but don’t want to pay more for a private winemaking service and also 20% back tends to be more than sufficient for a year’s entertaining and charitable donations. For example, depending on yield, 500 vines’ 20% might equate to 150 bottles a year, or 3 bottles of the same wine to drink per week, every week, every year.
If clients wish more than their ‘20% back for free’ they can purchase more bottles for $20. Under this system, the wine is hand-crafted, aged, bottled, and then labeled all under the same extremely high La Honda standards. Given the huge variety of private design label options, such labels are printed by the client. We also have a simple template label that we can provide ourselves that is personalized with family/vineyard name etc.
Then we spend a vast amount of time and money in trying to market and distribute the remaining % to hopefully over time recover our 2 years’ of up-front winemaking costs (professional winemaker, crush, fermentation, equipment, storage, insurance, barrels, bottling, compliance etc even before the marketing and distribution costs) into a very competitive and low-margin market so that our clients can enjoy this no-charge high-quality winemaking option.