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A National Look at How American Wineries Are Weathering the Covid-19 Pandemic

A National Look at How American Wineries Are Weathering the Covid-19 Pandemic

words: TIM MCKIRDY   The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has brought countless American industries to a grinding halt, but life in the vineyard and in the cellar continues along its usual cycle. This is both a blessing and a burden. With crucial vineyard and bottling work on the horizon, grape growers and winemakers must juggle seasonal winery operations while also navigating “shelter in place” orders, staffing decisions, and sales disruptions throughout the supply chain. The confluence of these events could result in one of the most challenging vintages in recent memory. VinePair reached out to producers across the country to find out how the...
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3/20/20
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Decanter: Why Slow Fermentation Pays Off featuring Arista Winery

Decanter: Why Slow Fermentation Pays Off featuring Arista Winery

Decanter's Jane Anson takes an in depth look at the act of slowing a fermentation to as long as 12 months: "‘A year ferment sounds crazy,’ Arista’s winemaker Matt Courtney tells me, ‘and there’s no doubt that you’re never going to read about this in the textbooks. What it really involves is a lot of microscope work, following the yeast population and looking out for anything unusual. And being extremely careful to control any oxygen through topping up the barrels to ensure zero headspace, and keeping the temperature low at around 18 degrees centigrade. We never kick-start the process, and...
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Jane Anson, November 29, 2018
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Sonoma’s Westside Road Wineries

Sonoma’s Westside Road Wineries

"A weekend getaway should be easy and relaxing. A trip to Sonoma County’s Westside Road is just that. It’s a 12-mile drive between Healdsburg and River Road that is filled with oaks and redwoods in addition to numerous vineyards. Recently my husband and I drove this route with its stunning vistas, interesting wines, artisanal products and friendly people."Arista Winery, set among manicured Japanese gardens, bubbling brooks, and vineyards, is in an idyllic location to taste wine. In addition to their estate wines, grapes are sourced from dedicated growers throughout the region, where you find a mix of warm weather and...
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Patty Burness, May 1, 2017
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California’s Grand Cru Chardonnays

California’s Grand Cru Chardonnays

“The greatest Chardonnay vineyards of Burgundy-Montrachet and Corton-Charlemagne, to name two—bask in near universal acclaim from the world’s wine collectors. For centuries, winemakers have coveted the fruit from these grand crus, which are concentrated within walking distance of the town of Beaune. “In California, winemakers also have identified their top sites for Chardonnay—vineyards that make wonderful, distinctive and sometimes ageworthy wines year after year. But unlike Burgundy, these prized plots are scattered along more than 300 miles, from northern Sonoma County to Santa Barbara. “Many are just two or three decades old, but a few go back to the 1960s,...
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Virginie Boone, Jim Gordon and Matt Kettman, September 2016
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Getting Schooled in Sonoma: At Arista

Getting Schooled in Sonoma: At Arista

PART 2: IS RUSSIAN RIVER PINOT NOIR AS CALIFORNIAN AS PINOT GETS? “On a hot August day, Ben McWilliams drove us around his 36-acre Russian River estate in a four-person golf cart. He was still dressed in a ballcap, T-shirt and jeans from working amongst the vines, and I thought, this juxtaposition was the perfect symbol of the Sonoma wine country experience: At it’s heart, it is still very much a farming community. Always has been, always will be. But the people who come here looking to drink its luxurious wines? Well, they probably expect to hitch a ride in...
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Kevin Day, August 26, 2016
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Touring Sonoma Grape by Grape

Touring Sonoma Grape by Grape

Pinot Noir"Sonoma has become a hot destination for Pinot Noir, with the county boasting many of California's leading wineries for the grape. Spread over three regions, they draw upon a range of terroirs and bottle Pinots in a variety of styles." "The area is home to Pinot stars Marcassin and Kosta Browne, standard-bearers such as Dehlinger and Rochioli, and many more standouts, including Arista, Auteur, Donum, Merry Edwards, Patz & Hall and Siduri. "Pinot thrives in Russian River Valley, Carneros and Sonoma Coast. Known for its lush redwood trees and foggy weather, Russian River generally produces plump, rich and fruit-forward...
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Tim Fish, June 15, 2016
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Going From Good to Great at Arista

Going From Good to Great at Arista

"Three years ago when I met Mark McWilliams, of the family that owns Sonoma’s Arista Winery, he introduced me to a line of impressive pinot noirs and chardonnays. This spring, I got the chance to sit down with him again, for what, he promised me, were some game-changing developments at Arista. We talked over a tasting of his latest releases. "Mark and his brother Ben sat down in 2012 and talked about where they wanted to go as their parents (who founded the winery in 2002) planned to retire. They agreed that they both wanted to continue with the family...
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Andrew Chalk, May 16, 2016
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Something Old, Something New

Something Old, Something New

“Reboot: Producers rarely turn on a dime, but Arista did with the 2013 vintage. This Russian River Valley winery had been making very good wines from vineyards on and around its property, but knew it could improve and in 2013 it did. Owners Mark and Ben McWilliams credit hiring winemaker Matt Courtney the year before. Courtney is a talented, attentive winemaker mentored by one of the best, Marcassin’s Helen Turley. His Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs for Arista are striking, bound to invite comparisons to Marcassin. “Each of the 2013 Arista wines displays its own personality, with the Chardonnays ranging from...
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James Laube, December 31, 2015
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Arista Winery Raises the Bar for Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Arista Winery Raises the Bar for Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

ST. HELENA, CA (September 16, 2015) — Sonoma-based Arista Winery announces its new partnership with marketing and sales company Wilson Daniels, effective September 1, 2015, as a next step in the quest to build its brand awareness across the U.S. as a premier Russian River Valley Chardonnay and Pinot Noir producer. Arista Winery was founded by Al and Janis McWilliams in 2002 with an unwavering commitment to produce the finest Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Sons Mark and Ben McWilliams have managed all facets of the family’s winery and vineyard operations for the past 10 years. In 2012,...
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September 16, 2015
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The Missing Link

The Missing Link

“In sports, the expression is one player away. It's the missing ingredient separating good teams from great ones. Some teams do cross the line into greatness, but it's often difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when things changed. The same is true for wineries. Yet for Arista's McWilliams brothers—Mark, 37, and Ben, 34—that moment is clear. Both agree that their winery found the missing link in 2012. “That was the year they hired Matt Courtney, 44, to oversee their winemaking operations in Sonoma's Russian River Valley. Arista had been around for a decade, yet before Courtney's arrival the wines had...
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James Laube, August 31, 2015
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