Updated: Sep 19
Introducing New Organic Producers & New Label Designs
New Additions To Six Cloves This Summer
It has been a great spring in Sonoma County with nice moderate temperatures and a little bit of occasional rain. Vines are growing happily thanks to plenty of water from a long rainy season in the vineyards.
I have added two new wines to the 2022 vintage portfolio in addition to our favorite Linda Vista Vineyard Chardonnay, and all are due for bottling this summer! I sourced grapes from the growers who farm grapes organically and conscientiously. I wrote brief stories of growers for the vintage and how we work with our beautiful label designs with my designer.
Talks about 2022 Six Clove’s organic grape growers, Buf-Wehr Ranch, Castanon Vineyards, and Steve Matthiasson’s Linda Vista Vineyard is back in 2022. Designing Six Cloves wines with graphic designer Misaki.
It is almost the end of the half of 2023, which marks Six Cloves' 7th vintage! I can't help but, to thank the folks who have been supporting me to make my dream come true since the 2017 inaugural vintage, which was sold exclusively and sold just in a couple of months in Japan.
I have added two new wines to the 2022 vintage portfolio in addition to our favorite Linda Vista Vineyard Chardonnay, and all are due for bottling this summer! I sourced grapes from the growers who farm grapes organically and conscientiously. My long-time graphic designer Misaki and I designed beautiful label designs for the vintage to reflect the authenticity of the grapes, which were grown hands-on by great organic growers.
Time is passing so quickly in 2023, and we are getting ready to bottle 2022 vintage wines this June. Looking back, the 2022 vintage was one of the most memorable vintages for many winemakers in California which is worth mentioning. After a year of break from recurring wildfires in 2021, a series of heatwaves hit us hard in early summer. Many of us were not prepared, but we began harvesting as early as mid-July, and mid-September rain forced us to finish our fastest and the most furious harvest we have ever experienced.
I was looking for a couple of new growers last year to add because many of my past growers couldn’t provide me with grapes due to the yield shortages as a result of the drought. I was very fortunate to run into one of the finest organic grape producers from two different appellations.
The first grower whom I met was Buf-Wehr Ranch, whose property sits in the heart of the Russian River appellation west of the town of Windsor. This is a small backyard (or technically it’s a front yard) Pinot Noir vineyard, farmed by Chris and Maureen, husband and wine of former mortgage broker ceramic artist, and soon-to-be-retired park and recreation officer of Windsor. Their charming name comes from their last name: Bufton & Landwehr. It was their fourth year of harvest and they were looking for a buyer for their first commercial production out of their organically farmed Pommard clone. As soon as I saw the grapes, which were well-tended by them along with their vineyard manager Carmen, I fell in love with their grapes and decided to purchase grapes from their entire micro vineyard. The grapes got ripened so fast and we decided to pick in one week when Chris and Maureen were planning to be out of town to Italy for their honeymoon postponed by Covid travel restrictions. Carmen and his harvest crews, and myself harvested grapes on August 31st, and we brought in just shy of 1 ton of grapes to the winery after 4 hours of picking. We have destemmed 50%, the rest remained as whole clusters, fermented with indigenous yeast and aged in neutral barrels.
Chris and Maureen came to visit with me at the winery recently and we have barrel-tasted the wine together. We were blown away by the wine’s finesse, energy, and elegance, all of which were the result of their care. I’m super excited to introduce these hidden gems of the Russian River in the coming fall!
I was still in the hunt for additional growers in the middle of the harvest but I was able to find another great organic grower. My winemaking friends introduced me to Jose Castanon, who farms Zinfandel and a couple of other varieties with his wife on 7.5 acres of land in Redwood Valley in Mendocino County. I drove up over two hours from Sonoma County to check out his vineyard. His vines were well grounded to the red soil and the grapes looked super healthy despite of heatwaves that hit us hard already. I attempted to harvest them on the same week with him but we gave up and postponed because of the labor shortage. On the next weekend, I rented a truck borrowed picking bins, and drove up to the vineyard with the help of my good winemaker friend Taka. We took two trips between Mendocino and Sonoma to haul 2 tons of grapes after long hours of picking. Our 16-hour day finally ended after midnight when the rain had just started pouring.
I fermented the grapes with ⅓ whole cluster, aged in 20% new French oak. The resulting wine is a simple and pleasant Zinfandel with a light texture in the mouth.
Lastly, our favorite Linda Vista Vineyard Chardonnay is back in 2022! Steve Matthiason has spared me great organically grown Chardonnay grapes another year. Grapes came in a bit later than usual on September 1st. We have pressed light and fermented in barrels with indigenous yeast. The wine offers more rounded characters in style this year, unlike the previous years. Its prominent citrus fruit flavors are present as always another fun wine to enjoy!
Since my inauguration vintage of 2017 (all exported to Japan and all sold out instantly!), I have been fortunate to have great label designers with me. After the initial vintage label designed by my Taiko drummate Sean Patrick, whose design became my brand logo, he introduced me to Misaki, a talented Japanese graphic designer who currently studies arts and graphic design in London. You would not believe how many hours of work she had spent to come up with the flagship image that we have been using since the 2018 vintage! We began designing work with so many candidates and narrowed down the final images. She has been putting her heart and soul into creating beautiful Six Cloves labels every year and it has not changed since the beginning (Please look closely at the color designs of each label if you like. She adjusts them by hand for every single label, for every single petal and background.). The more clients compliment her great artwork, it is becoming the more important for us to create beautiful labels every year!
I am very happy to announce that we have added a new design for the 2022 vintage using different images for the Zinfandel bottles. We have spent countless hours of work to come to where we are again this year. This wine will be bottled in June along with the other two wines. I hope you all enjoy the wines and the labels that are so nice to have at your dinner table!