Yorkville Cellars

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who? what? when? where? why? how?

who grows the grapes at Yorkville Cellars? who makes the wines?

Deborah and Edward Wallo have lived, farmed, and raised their family in the Yorkville Highlands since a magazine article inspired them to explore the southern end of Mendocino in the mid 1980’s. By Edward’s account, they arrived with great passion for the wines of Bordeaux having lived in France and Europe for years, but almost no clue how to grow the sort of grapes they knew they would want for the wines they imagined making. If viticulture was new to them, agriculture was not. Deborah grew up in the English countryside where growing one’s food was a matter of course, and the impression of her green thumb is stamped all over their immaculately landscaped, rose covered estate.

Edward and Deborah Wallo
Two principles seem to have guided the Wallos over the years:  One is that organic farming is a moral imperative when your property sits at the headwaters of two major rivers (the Navarro and Russian).  The second is that traditionally styled Bordeaux, both red and white, with its restrained alcohol, age-worthiness and natural acidity is the Wallo’s holy grail.   The result is unique in the United States: Nearly three decades of organically grown wines from of each of the Bordeaux varietals.

what wines do they make at Yorkville Cellars?

Yorkville Cellars is one of, if not the only, organic producer in the United States which bottles each of the six red Bordeaux varieties and the two whites individually:   Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, Malbec, Carmenere,are the reds, Semillon and  Sauvignon Blanc are the whites.

In addition, they have three blends.  Hi-Rollr Red started as a joke during the economic downturn of 2008 when they wanted to create a blend for their not so high rollin’ customers who still wanted a broad shouldered red.  It has evolved into a calling card for the winery, delivering as it does impressive quality and value.  Their “Royal Pair” of Elanor of Aquitaine (white) and Richard the Lionhearted (red) are the estates flagships, Edward and Deborah’s homage to the Bordeaux they love and the Mendocino soil they farm.

Carmenere from Yorkville Cellars

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when did Yorkville Cellars start? when might you open a bottle?

The Wallos arrived in Yorkville in the mid 1980’s and purchased what was then a Sauvignon Blanc vineyard in its final year of conversion to organic agriculture. They couldn’t see any reason to disrupt the process, and one by one they have planted each of the Bordeaux varietals in surrounding vineyards. Twenty years ago, the Edward and Deborah connected with winemaker Greg Graziano and have worked with him ever since.

Snow day at Yorkville Cellars

where is Yorkville Cellars?

The Yorkville Highlands sit at the headwaters of the Navarro and Russian Rivers, 100 miles north of San Francisco and nearly 1000 feet above the ocean.  Turn right out of the Wallo’s driveway and you will wind your way down Hwy 128 to Booneville in Anderson Valley.  Turn left and you’re headed southeast into the Alexander Valley first in Sonoma County.

The area earned its status as an AVA (American Viticultural Area) in 1998.  At more than 1000 feet of elevation at it’s highest points, the nights are cool, rain is plentiful, and growing seasons are long and often even.  The soils are generally relatively poor and marked by a large amount of gravel, allowing for plenty of drainage meaning vine roots go deep to seek water and nutrients.

Yorkville Cellars, Mendocino

why is Yorkville Cellars a Candid Wine? why might you want a taste?

The Yorkville Highlands are a unique California Appellation. Sitting so far above sea level, the region is cooler than many in the State, but also subject to intense summer sunlight that plays an interesting role in ripening the grapes and thickening their skins.   Yorkville Cellars, working organically as they do and vinifiying with balance in mind, offers wines inspired by the French, different from other California areas, and distinctly “Yorkville”.  We were flattered when industry friends here in Chicago suggested that they might be a perfect fit for Candid.

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how is the wine made at Yorkville Cellars?

Bottling blends and single varietal wines as they do, the Wallo’s main goal is to preserve a sense of each grape’s distinct character.  This means harvesting before ripeness levels get too high and treating each small lot individually in the winery. As is traditional in Bordeaux, new and used French oak barrels are used to age the wines for twelve to eighteen months before release.

Yorkville Cellars, purple feet