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Stomping Girl

Stomping Girl

"Wine Mic Monday" is a VAULT29 series based on an "open mic concept" where wineries take over our blog...because every glass and bottle of wine has a story. This week we are proud to feature Stomping Girl Wines -- a husband and wife duo crafting superb boutique pinot noir and chardonnay from top vineyard sites like Hyde, Beresini & Lauterbach Hill.

A Snapshot of Stomping Girl Wines by Kathryn & Uzi Cohen

Uzi & Kathryn Cohen, Stomping Girl Wines

Uzi & Kathryn Cohen, Stomping Girl Wines

Stomping Girl Wines was founded in honor of my grandmother, who began our family’s winemaking tradition in Israel, recruiting my younger sister to foot stomp and me to help pick the grapes during harvest on our family vineyard property. Two generations later, in 2003, my wife, Kathryn, and I carried on the tradition and began making wine in our Berkeley, CA, home wine cellar, enlisting the help of friends and our three children.

Kathryn during harvest | VAULT29

Today, working in partnership with grapegrowers at top vineyards such as Hyde Vineyard and Beresini Vineyard in Carneros and Lauterbach Hill in the Russian River Valley, we are dedicated to crafting superb Pinot Noir and Chardonnay using traditional, minimalist techniques influenced by time spent in Burgundy. We produce close to 1000 cases per year in Sebastopol, CA. Active in both Sebastopol as well as our urban outpost in Berkeley, we feel extremely lucky to be able to pursue our passion.

Our current release includes the 2012 Hyde Vineyard, Carneros, Chardonnay; 2012 Lauterbach Hill Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir; and 2012 Beresini Vineyard, Carneros, Pinot Noir

Producing small lots of Pinot Noir requires hand punching the cap that forms on top 2-3 times a day. The grape skins rise to the top with the help of the C02 that is created during fermentation by the yeast consuming sugar. Punching the 'cap' that forms incorporates the skins back into wine below and helps in extraction of flavors and tannins.

Stomping Girl Steel Kegs | VAULT29

In addition to our emphasis on vineyard designate wines coming from family-owned, sustainably-grown vineyards, we are also proud to deliver this same top-quality Pinot Noir in stainless steel kegs for restaurant by-the-glass programs.  Our gravity-filled, reusable steel kegs substantially reduce our carbon footprint: there is no empty packaging to recycle or send to the landfill and CO2 emissions from transporting the wine are greatly reduced. Look for Stomping Girl Pinot Noir on tap in select Bay Area restaurants as wine on tap becomes more and more popular!

Our limited production Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is available to Wine Club members, on our website and at select wine shops and restaurants in the Bay Area, Southern California and New York. 

Be sure to add your Stomping Girl Wine experiences in the VAULT29 app!

"Like" Stomping Girl Wines on Facebook & "Follow" them on Twitter: @StompingGirl

Teac Mor

Teac Mor

"Wine Mic Monday" is a VAULT29 series based on an "open mic concept" where wineries take over our blog to write about aspects unique to them and their wines. Hot on the heels of a Best of Class designation for their 2011 Pinot Noir and a Gold for their 2012 Chardonnay in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition 2015, we welcome Teac Mor Vineyards to take over our mic. Teac Mor Vineyards is a family owned and operated winery in the Russian River Valley appellation of Sonoma County. They produce Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from their estate grown grapes. 

"Teac Mor" by Christine Moore

In 1998, we planted 30 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. By 2001, we were selling those grapes.  We chose as the name of the vineyard Teac Mor, which means “big house” in Gaelic. The name pays homage to our father’s childhood home in Ireland, which was the only two-story structure in his small village of Leitra, Galway.

Teac Mor Viineyards | VAULT29

My brother Steve cares for our vineyard now, and he’s passionate about what he does. He farms biodynamically, and feels deeply connected both to the land and to our vines. “I consider the vines my children and I want them to thrive long after I’m gone,” he said. 

Teac Mor Harvest | VAULT29

Doing that requires that Steve take a holistic approach to farming. “What I do this year will impact future harvests, and I’m always thinking several years ahead.”

An olive orchard and large vegetable garden on the vineyard promote a healthy ecosystem by attracting beneficial insects. “I believe the vines are not only alive, but aware of their environment. I think that a healthy vineyard will result in better wine.”

Steve inspects his vines daily and adjusts his farming techniques based on what the vines call for. “There are five types of soil on this site alone,” he said. “To be successful, I need to see the distinctive needs of each plant.”

While harvest varies from year to year, we consistently sell the majority of our grapes to other producers - Duckhorn, Hale Mary, Bluxome Street, to name a few. In 2009, we began bottling our own wines. We produce roughly 1,000 cases each year, or approximately 600 cases of Pinot Noir and 400 cases of Chardonnay. When it comes to wine making, we adhere to a minimalist philosophy, seeking to preserve the essence of the fruit.

For our Pinot Noir, we use our Clone 777 and Pomard grapes. We allow the wines to take their time through fermentation, keeping fermentation temperatures relatively cool.

Teac Mor Barrels | VAULT29

After fermentation our Pinot Noir wines are laid to rest in the highest quality French oak barrels. The Pinot Noir wines are not repeatedly racked or aerated. Instead, we allow them to lay peacefully in their barrels with their lees. This gentle approach produces Pinot Noir wines that are beautifully complex with subtle oak, exotic spice and a long lasting finish.

Our Chardonnay wines are made with both Clones 96 and 4. We blend the two clones, working to avoid masking the fruit’s natural beauty with heavy oak or secondary fermentations.

We use a stainless-steel fermentation process, age the wine with their lees and bottle them relatively quickly to preserve freshness, acidity and balance. The result is a bright and clean Chardonnay with refreshing acidity and defining minerality. 

People often ask us about the meaning of our label. We call our golden angel, Teaca (pronounced Teesha). She is our symbol of elegance and beauty. We believe you’ll find elegance and beauty inside our bottles too.

"Like" Teac Mor on Facebook & "Follow" them on Twitter @TeacMor.

Teac Mor Vineyards 4489 Occidental Road, Santa Rosa |                                    Vineyard Contact, Steve: (707) 849-5510 | Media Contact, Christine: (415) 205-8095 | 

Be sure to view and add your Teac Mor experiences in the VAULT29 app!

Spell Estate

Spell Estate

"Wine Mic Monday" is a VAULT29 series based on an "open mic concept" where wineries take over our blog to write about aspects unique to them and their wines. This week, we are pleased to introduce Spell Estate and their acclaimed boutique wines from Northern Califronia. Winemaker Andrew Berge chats about the importance of soil types and the different vineyards where they source their grapes.


After many years of collecting and enjoying fine wines – with an emphasis on Pinot Noir - Bill and Tiki Spell founded Spell Winery in 2006 with the goal of producing world class Pinot Noir from Northern California.  Pinot Noir when at its best captures a sense of time and place.  In producing single vineyard designated wines our mission is for each wine to have a distinctive characteristic unique to each vineyard from each vintage.  The current release consists of four Pinot Noirs – one blend and three single vineyards, one Chardonnay, and one Vin Gris.  

One trait commonly touted by many wineries throughout the world is the soil quality their grape vines are rooted.   At Spell, we believe that it may be the single most important factor in defining the distinctive character of each wine.  Spell sources fruit from vineyards located as far north as Laytonville in the heart of Mendocino County and as far south as Petaluma at the southern end of Sonoma County.  The (driving) distance between these two vineyards is slightly more than 125 miles.  In comparison, the extremely diverse Côte d’Or in France is about 30 miles long.  

The soil taxonomy of each vineyard is as varied as the geographical diversity.   Soils rang from gravelly loam with moderate permeability and low water holding capacity to expanding clays with slow permeability and high water holding capacity.  The vines rooted in these varied soils take up varying levels of macronutrients and micronutrients which form the foundation of vine development.  The available water within the soils directly influences how and when these nutrients are delivered and consumed by the vines.  The whole process of vine growth is powered by the amount of sun each vine receives. 

Determining the impact that soil, water, and sun have on the composition of each grape and ultimately wine, is beyond the scope of this blog post.  Trying to comprehend the complexity of the matter is captivating and will be a life-long endeavor for me.  

Recently, I have been exploring the association between tannin profiles, specifically perception of tannin on the palate, and soil types.  I admit it. I love tannin. They are the backbone which enables elegant demeanor and composure of flavors of every great wine.  Their presence acts as an anti-oxidant which allows wines to age gracefully for years, even decades in some circumstances.

At the peak of ripeness, the Spell grapes are hand harvested in the vineyard and delivered to the winery in half-ton bins.  Once at the winery they are processed and fermented separately according to vineyard, block, and clone.  The protocols are the same for each lot as it is our goal to preserve the essence of each vineyard. The underlying theme is all about extraction with the goal of producing wines with excellent concentration, balance and age-ability. 

Initially when we started the process of sourcing vineyards soil type was not a significant part of the discussion.  Given the great distance between vineyards it is not surprising each of the Spell vineyards has a different soil type.  These vineyards yield grapes that produce a wine with its own character and the soil is just one contributing factor to their tannin profile.  It is a privilege to work with these growers and their fruit.  Provided below is a brief description of each vineyard along with its specific tannin profile.  

To learn more about Spell wines please visit

  • Alder Springs Vineyard, owned by Stuart Bewely, is located 3 miles west of Laytonville, CA.  Surrounded by rugged and undeveloped Mendocino forest the vineyard starts at an elevation of 1,700ft and climbs to over 2,000ft.  The primary soil profile in our blocks consists of decomposing sandstone from an ancient sea bed.  The tannin profile of this wine consists of super fine grain or dusty-powdery tannins.  
  • The Weir Vineyard, owned by Bill and Suki Weir, sits in the heart of the Yorkville Highlands.  About 8 miles east of Boonville at an elevation of 700 to 900 ft.  The Weir Vineyard consists of a conglomerate of gravely loam formed from a base of Schist.  Blocky square tannins are the signature of this wine.  
  • In western Sonoma county, overlooking the township of Freestone lies the Dona Margarita Vineyard.  Owned and farmed by Marimar Torres, the vineyard sits at an average elevation of 500 ft.  The sandy loam, Goldridge soils produce a wine of intense flavor, concentration and a silky smooth, almost velvety tannin profile.  These soils cover most of the Western Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley appellations and is one factor that has made wines from this region world reknown. 
  • The Terra de Promissio Vineyard is in the Petaluma Gap area of Sonoma County.  Owned and farmed by Diana and Charles Karren, the Terra de Promissio Vineyard has an elevation just above sea-level.  The Spell block sits on the hip of the vineyard as it shifts from a western exposure to an eastern exposure.  The soil profile here is a shallow clay-loam mixed with some expanding clays soils.  The profile is one defined by broad shouldered tannins with a hint more bitterness than astringency.    

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Alma Fria

Alma Fria

"Wine Mic Monday" is a VAULT29 series based on an "open mic concept" where wineries take over our blog to write about aspects unique to them and their wines. This week, we are proud to feature Alma Fria, a boutique winery crafting beautiful wines from the remote ridgetops of Annapolis (Sonoma Coast AVA). 


"Meet Alma Fria" by Jan Holtermann

The Name:  Alma Fría \al-mah free-ah\: the soul of a family; the cold of a geography.

The Journey:  For three generations and up until 2010, the Holtermann family had the privilege of importing and representing many notable and leading wineries from all over the world.  In working alongside each of the different wineries, we were intimately exposed to the work culture, the philosophy, the winemaking style and the vision each had of their place in the global wine map.   Our import selections spanned from very rare finds to million case wines.  The personal relationships developed with the entrepreneurs, the enologists, the marketers and the viticulturists leading these organizations provided a unique perspective through which we were able to gain deep insights into the allure, challenges and intricacies of winegrowing. In this craft, success can be defined in many ways but, almost inevitably, behind the most inspirational winery cultures, there was a mix of humility, long-term commitment, hard work, understanding of terroir and attention to detail that made them unique. 

Since 2011, my wife and I along with our two daughters migrated to Northern California and planted new roots in the remote ridgetops of Annapolis on the West Sonoma Coast.  From this beautiful and remote place, we are committed to handcrafting Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays of elegance, finesse and complexity.   We believe our wines should reflect their place of origin, and be an expression of our family vineyard and other carefully selected cool coastal sites.  Through our wines, we strive to express the intersection of place and family – the beautiful cold Pacific climate so perfect for Burgundian varietals, and the soul of a family long-dedicated to the love of wine.

Reflecting on our wine journey, we constantly remind ourselves just how fortunate we are to work with terroirs of such potential and beauty and to do it with the help of talented and great people with whom we beat down together the remote paths and the gravel roads that make up this special region.

Holtermann Vineyard

This is remote farming at its best, viticulture on the fringe.  The property is located just north of the town of Annapolis, CA (population 200) and 5 miles inland from the captivating Sea Ranch coastal community.  The proximity to the ocean provides moderate temperature fluctuations that lead to balanced fruit development.  The soil is composed of a thin layer of sandy loam (Josephine series) of volcanic origin, marine sediment from ancient sea beds and rocky formations. 

Doña Margarita Vineyard

The gravelly, uphill drive to the vineyard, the density of the wild forest of redwoods and pines just behind, the proximity to Freestone and Occidental, small towns with such great character, and the overall condition of the vineyard, all represent in more ways than one the combination of beauty and ideal growing conditions of this region.  This vineyard is 7 miles from the Pacific Ocean, it is a very cool microclimate where the coastal fog provides very cool nights but sits just below the vineyard during the days allowing for ideal sun exposure.  The soil is composed of a thin layer of sandy loam (Goldridge series) of volcanic origin and marine sediment over fractured Sandstone subsoil. We are very grateful to Marimar Torres for trusting us with her fruit for one of our two single vineyard designated wines.

Alma Fria_The People.JPG

The People:  In Carroll Kemp, winemaker, and Greg Adams, viticulturist, we have found true journey companions.  Their talent and profound familiarity with the nuances and complexities of winegrowing within the West Sonoma Coast, their entrepreneurial advice, an attention to detail and most importantly, a shared philosophy of a “vineyard first” approach to winegrowing, have created a “working chemistry,” a blend if you will, that has been instrumental in realizing our vision.


The Wines:  2012 is our first vintage in bottle and the range is made up of two single vineyard Pinot Noirs that represent the north and south extremes of the West Sonoma Coast:  Holtermann Vineyard and Doña Margarita Vineyard, complemented by two appellation wines, a Pinot Noir and a Chardonnay.  For the 2014 vintage, we will add a single vineyard Chardonnay from Campbell Ranch in Annapolis.

To learn more about our wines and read some of the early buzz written about them since their recent release, please visit

Follow Alma Fria on Instagram and Pinterest!

Be sure to add your Alma Fria experiences in the VAULT29 app

Pali Wine Co

Pali Wine Co

"Wine Mic Monday" is a VAULT29 series based on an "open mic concept" where wineries take over our blog to write about aspects unique to them and their wines. This week, we are proud to feature Pali Wine Co, from Santa Barbara. Their 2012 Huntington Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara County was just featured in Wine Spectator's Top 100 wines in 2014.

Pali Wine Co and the “2012 Huntington Pinot Noir”

Pali Wine Company has been crafting Pinot Noir and Chardonnay using grapes from top appellations in California and Oregon since 2005. Pali gets its namesake after owners Tim Perr and Scott Knight’s hometown of Pacific Palisades. What began as just a small production winery has developed over the years into a company that produces almost 40,000 cases of wine annually. With the skills of winemaker Aaron Walker, we produce a cuvee series of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay defined by their appellation of origin but named after different neighborhoods in the Pacific Palisades. We also craft a line of Vineyard Designate wines made in very small production. In 2010, Pali launched a sister label, Tower 15 Winery, which showcases varietals from the Paso Robles region


Recently, our 2012 Huntington Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara Country was featured on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2014 list. Though many of our wines have received scores of 90 and above, this is the first time in our almost 10 years as a winery that our wine has made this coveted Top 100 list. This wine is described by Wine Spectator’s James Laube (who also gave it a score of 90 points) as “Notably floral and spicy, with firm tannins amid the dark berry, mocha, roasted herb and fresh-turned earth flavors. This is complex, dense and persistent, gaining depth and length. Drink now through 2022.”


The beauty of this wine is that it retails for just $22.50 a bottle. We at Pali pride ourselves on being able to offer consumers wine at great prices without compromising the quality. Pinot Noirs typically pair well with a variety of dishes such as salmon or other fatty fish, roasted chicken, and even pasta dishes. A Pinot with noticeable, firm tannins such as our Huntington can hold its own up to duck or other game birds and even a hearty beef stew.

To learn more about Pali Wine Co. and our wines please visit our website and, stop by our tasting rooms in downtown Santa Barbara and Lompoc. 

Be sure to add your Pali Wone Co. experiences in the VAULT29 app