The (Very) Small Fishpond Known as Gewürztraminer
It then struck home. Why were we specializing in a wine that no one could pronounce, few people knew about and even fewer had tasted in a dry version? Ted’s marketing background had made us decide that we would rather be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond. You can’t get a much smaller pond than dry Gewürztraminer.
We weren’t totally alone, however:
The McCrea family at Stony Hill in Napa Valley made a lovely Gewürz and when Ted fiddled with Fred McCrea’s stereo so Fred could get the classical radio station from San Francisco, a wine-mentor friendship was born.
Professor Amerine at the Viticulture Department at UC Davis had spearheaded a study of growing conditions in the Anderson Valley, so we knew it had the cool region one growing conditions similar to Alsace, a growing region whose wines we so admired.
In the late 1960s both Edmeades and Husch had small plantings of Gewürztraminer and we were impressed with the vines ripening late in the growing season with fruit with a lovely russet blush wafting heady aromatics.
It is hard to believe, now that Anderson Valley is filled with plantings of Pinot Noir, that Gewürztraminer grapes were actually priced higher than Pinot Noir in the 1970s. While we started with the intention of making dry Gewürztraminer, we soon came to appreciate the versatility of the grape, especially since the majority of our wine is marketed directly from the tasting room, which we built forty years ago.