We hope that you have been well during this past year. Like so many of you, we have spent precious time with family and friends making up for the previous year’s isolation. Perhaps we made up for more than our fair share, but it sure was fun.
2021 has been a year of milestones and epiphanies. We write this newsletter with excitement, elation and a splash of trepidation. After a set of epiphanies in early January, we decided to make a life transition as we celebrated 30 years together and 22 years of operating WesMar Winery. We decided to put our beloved home and vineyard up for sale. It was a strange decision for us to make since we had always envisioned working the vineyard and property post retirement. What had been our original plan to work part time making a small amount of wine has become a plan to move away from wine making all together and move full speed ahead towards our goal of chasing a different kind of adventure. As a result we have decided that the last vintage from WesMar Winery will be the 2019 vintage, which coincidentally marks our 20th vintage.
As we moved forward with this new plan a strange coincidence occurred. Before our home was even listed on the market a friend that we had met 14 years prior came to taste and asked, “what’s new” and Kirk told him that we were going to sell our property. He enthusiastically declared that he and his family wanted to purchase the property. We could not have foreseen anyone better to take over the stewardship of this heritage land. They have plans to continue developing and improving the property and we look forward to seeing the changes as they make it their own.
When I met Kirk 30 years ago he had a dream of crossing an ocean on a sailboat. We have owned three sailboats over the course of time and have a deep connection to the sea. I was reminded of an intuitive thought that my uncle shared with me many years ago in which he said that he found it interesting that we had roots in the land in tandem with roots in the sea. Then he added that these are things that can not be done in unison. We agreed. Now that we are pulling up our land roots we intend to grow our sea roots in the form of sailing.
These last 22 years have been an amazing journey. We have savored being self employed and crafting Pinot Noir has been extremely rewarding. Knowing that people across the country have enjoyed the fruits of our labor has been a true joy. Thank you for coming to visit us in our humble little winery and for visiting over the phone. We have enjoyed meeting so many of you in person and sharing stories. Thank you for all the times you shared our wine with your family and friends during holiday dinners, weddings, vacations and gatherings.
The sum of our emotions is gratitude, pride and happiness. It is because of you that we have met with success, you have been our loyal partners. They say it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village for a business to succeed and we thank you for your part in making our dreams come true.
The 2019 vintage of Pinot Noirs comprises four vineyard designated bottlings and two appellation bottlings.These Pinot Noirs are full bodied, robustly fruited offering intense Pinot Noir flavors. We could not be happier with this final vintage of WesMar Pinot Noirs which will showcase the varietal in true WesMar fashion. These wines will offer an enjoyable experience now, but will treat those that allow them additional maturity.
Working with the Hellenthal vineyard has been an incredible experience from every imaginable angle. While we sometimes cursed the four hour round trip to check the ripening fruit, we also relished those early morning drives. They took us to the country’s western edge where we drove along the coast peering out onto the Pacific Ocean before turning inland to climb the steep ridge tops where the Hellenthal Vineyard is located. It is this remote location that contributes to the uniqueness of this special vineyard. As you will taste in this year’s Hellenthal the multitude of flavors combined with the depth of the experiences are what make a Hellenthal Pinot Noir a Hellenthal Pinot Noir.
Offering spicy aromas of sweet dark fruits with a vanilla essence background. Upon tasting there are layers of red and black fruits in the foreground with a creamy element of melon or yellow stone fruits in the background. Lovely hints of black and blueberries and undertones of red cherries. Although the fruit tannins are masculinely present the strength of fruit makes for a balanced experience. It is easy to be seduced by the robust entry only to have the full flavors in the finish renew your focus.
Gard, Lori and Elisa Hellenthal are among some of the most hard working and honorable business partners with whom we have had the opportunity with which to work. It has been our utmost pleasure to call them friends. We will never be able to fully express our gratitude for their contribution to our winemaking success.
2019 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Balletto Vineyard $ 54
As with most of the properties with which we have worked the Balletto Vineyard is run as a family venture that has spanned multiple generations. We have always marveled at the attention and fairness little ol’ WesMar received from John and Terri Balletto. John is a major player in Sonoma County’s grape growing, although it never felt like that to us. He always worked hard to get our small amount of fruit picked precisely when we asked even when his larger customers might also be ready for their fruit. It is this code of honor that enabled us to maintain our house style with our most consistent fruit source.
The nose shows an old familiar friend featuring dark stone fruits with a touch of white pepper. The palette highlights a complex taste of dark plum, blueberries with driven fruit tannins. The flavors linger long and caps the experience with a spicy finish.
2019 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Oehlman Vineyard $ 52
It may or may not be safe to say that we would not be where we find ourselves today if not for the curiosity that one Walter Karl Oehlman found with us. Over the next twenty years we had the pleasure of working, visiting and dining with him and his wife Elaine, who is more like a grandmother to Denise and I than a business associate. Following in their footsteps, their son Cliff has carried on the family’s farming traditions. They are the fabric of what makes Sonoma County what it is today.
This Oehlman bottling is aromatically floral suggesting light red berries, spices and vanilla on the nose. Sipping reveals a robust personality of black cherries up front and more modest sweet cran-orange mid palate. The typical lively acidity, tea and whip cream foster the long finish.
Thank you Karl, Elaine and Cliff! Without you as partners we might have made a success of our venture, but our lives would not have been the same.
2019 Pinot Noir, Green Valley of Russian River Valley, Silk Vineyard $52
After all of the trials and tribulations that our own little vineyard put us through, it is with sincere satisfaction that we introduce you to Silk Vineyard whose name is derived from the Hungarian definition of “Selyem”. It is here that we honor the roots of our winemaking and the depth of knowledge that we received over the years from Denise’s dad. We are excited to have you taste the literal fruits of our labor in this first (and last) ever vineyard designated bottling from WesMar’s own estate vineyard. We have been impressed with Silk’s development and know that it will continue to serve the new owners exceptionally well.
An intense nose of deep red fruits with a slight cola note hinting of menthol. Flavors of lush red stone fruits, perhaps a red cherry/plum entry followed by darker reds mid to late taste. The vibrant fruit and subtle oak tannins frame the experience with an acidity quenching chocolatey finish.
2019 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley $ 48
This vintage’s R.R.V. blend offers aromas of pretty red fruits with citrus undertones. In the mouth there is a wonderful melange of red fruits suggesting raspberries and strawberries. This is a throwback to a traditional R.R.V. that is pretty and elegant while still offering a fulfilling tasting experience
2019 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast $ 48
After feeling like the playing field between the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast bottlings had evened, this S.C. is a chip off the old block. Due to its Hellenthal and Balletto parents, it offers dark fruited aromas that span the spectrum. A taste reveals layers of varied dark fruits, a big fruited experience that is rich & juicy in the mouth with some creamy vanilla and a slight spice in the long finish.
Important Ordering Notes and Changes
Due to our lack of a facility from which to ship your wine, all shipping will be done by Crown Shipping in Healdsburg, CA. You will find their shipping rates on our website. You can calculate the shipping costs based on their rate sheet or simply leave the field blank when you order and we will calculate it for you. Please note that Crown Shipping ships with UPS. If you prefer Federal Express you will need to make a note of that in the comment box of your online order form and there will be an additional charge of approximately $5 per box. We will contact Crown Shipping for the precise additional charge.
PLEASE NOTE: There are limited quantities of some selections, so please order early. As always, we will do our best to fill your order as placed. If we need to make an adjustment based on inventory we will reach out to you.
Given that we no longer have a winery location, all orders will need to be shipped and there will not be a Fall Open House.
To place your order please visit our website at http://www.wesmarwinery.com, or call to place an order over the phone, we would love to catch up with you personally (707)829-8824.
Your wine will ship on Monday November 1st 2021. You will receive an email prior to your shipment.
We want to thank you for the opportunity to present our wines to you. We are very pleased with the 2019 vintage wines and know they will please your palate as well.