Cline Cellars joined #winechat on October 19th – what a fun night!
Cline Cellars is well known for its Zinfandels, although most people don’t know that they make seven of them! They also make Rhone-style wines like Viognier, Mourvèdre, Carignane and Syrah.
Cline’s proprietor, Fred Cline, was one of the founding members of the Rhone Rangers. Fred started Cline Cellars in 1982 in Oakley CA (East Contra Costa County), the area where his maternal grandparents settled when they came to this country.
Cline’s Ancient Vines are still in this area. Fred and his wife, Nancy, bought the land where the winery is located in Sonoma in 1991.
The Cashmere Rhone blend has been tied to breast cancer support organizations since its inception. Cline partnered with Living Beyond Breast Cancer this year and has already contributed $25k to that organization. Amazing! Here are some other wineries contributing to breast cancer foundations.
A few highlights from the chat:
- Cline is known for their ancient vines. Their AV Carignane & Zinfandel vines are 80+ years old and AV Mourvedre vines are 100+ years old! These vines create grapes that develop more intense flavor and have decreased yields. They are dry-farmed.
- Lots of people were drinking Cashmere, Cline’s pink ribboned wine that gives back to breast cancer charities. Their partnership between Cashmere & Living Beyond Breast Cancer is year-round!
- Cashmere always contains Mourvèdre, Syrah and Grenache, but the percentages change from vintage to vintage.
- Cline just started making a Cool Climate Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast).
- Looking for a wine pairing with Thanksgiving dinner? Cline recommends the following: Viognier, Mourvèdre Rosé, Cashmere or AV Mourvèdre. And always CA Zin in the cranberry recipe!
- Sustainability is important to Cline. They use sheep to control weeds, natural compost tea for fertilizer, and all their grapes are picked by hand.
- Considered to be a medium size winery (about 300,00 cases), their #1 production wine is the red label CA Zinfandel.
- And the biggest question of the night, how is this year’s harvest going? Harvest is a challenge this year: cool summer, unseasonal rains, their cool climate grapes have yet to be picked. Expected to be done 20 days to 3 weeks from now, depending on the weather, the yield is down but they consider the quality of what they’re getting to be exceptional! We’ll have to wait to see!
Thanks to all who joined in – let me know if I missed anything!