With a passion for winemaking that stretches over 38 years, we believe a bottle of wine tells a story. Open the bottle, and you taste the sun the fruit absorbed and the nights it survived. You follow the winery through the rows of the vines, waiting for the optimal moment to pick. You sense the shiver the farm workers have as they delicately hand pick each cluster in the early morning of the harvest day. Our Winemaker protects the clusters through sorting, crushing, fermenting and pressing. You smell the barrels he selected and feel the serenity of years soaking in the wood. You can trust we honored the vintage and gave the wine exactly what it needed to become the best it can be without manipulating the wine.
Meet the Winemaker
In 1980, during his last year at Davis Mike landed an opportunity to intern at Trefethen Winery in the Napa Valley, where he worked during an annual crush. He was soon offered a job as their Assistant Winemaker, and so moved by his enthusiasm, he decided to accelerate his education to finish his last year into two quarters. In 1983, Mike moved to Sonoma County to continue his pursuit of one day owning a winery. After several offers, he accepted the winemaker position at Balverne a start-up winery in Sonoma County, which specialized in white wines. In 1989, Mike wanted to get his hands on Alexander Valley fruit, so he gladly took the position of head winemaker at Field Stone. There he worked alongside Andre’ Tchelistcheff, America’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker. He stayed at Field Stone for nine years while crafting a Cabernet Sauvignon for his newly launched Optima label. By 1997, Optima received high praise and had become self-supporting growing from 400 cases to 4,000, enabling Mike to devote all his attention to his life-long dream. This year will mark Mike’s 36th year making wine. His approach is simple, making wine that combines art and practicality. He loves the honesty and hard work of agriculture and to him, winemaking is the ultimate fusion of agriculture and art.