Colin MacLauchlan Joins As Director of Operations
James MacPhail has converted the former MacPhail Family Winery to a custom crush facility serving ultra-premium producers such as Bacigalupi Vineyards, Blagden Wines, Bruliam Wines, Weese Family Wines, Bailaran Cellars, Calafia, Front Porch Farms, KaiTel Wines, Magnolia Blossom, Saini and Surina.
Tongue Dancer Wines, the new Pinot Noir focused project from MacPhail, also calls Grapewagon home. Tongue Dancer currently produces Pinot Noir and Rosé of Pinot Noir, including ‘Pinot de Ville’, a vineyard designate from the Putnam Vineyard on the far Sonoma Coast. The wines are already receiving critical acclaim, and the small production is available only to list members and quickly sells through.
The unique winery, approx. 4,200 square feet on a one-acre parcel just outside Healdsburg, was originally designed for Pinot Noir, with eight 6-ton open top stainless steel fermenters, two French Oak fermenters and a small barrel chai. A first-ever-as-a-feature wetlands located next to the winery was created to filter winery wastewater.
Today, MacPhail notes that the just completed harvest found 17 different varietals hand crafted at Grapewagon, including Viognier, Verdelho, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Rhone varieties Marsanne and Roussane, Riesling, Grenache Blanc, as well as Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Zinfandel, Carignane and Muscat.
“It’s a privilege to witness the varying passions of a family of small producers, all striving to create exceptional wines,” said MacPhail, who now serves as a consulting winemaker for three very different Pinot-centric projects. “There’s a sense of community here that is proving to be both very special and beneficial in the encouragement and collaboration that naturally occurs in our version of a big, supportive family.” Both his own consulting assignments and winery are “full up” he notes.
To oversee crush operations, James relies on his partner and wife Kerry MacPhail, as well as newly hired Colin MacLauchlan, most recently cellarmaster at Littorai Wines. MacLauchlan has varied experience ranging from Littorai, where he was heavily involved in managing the Biodynamic® program there, as well as assignments at Australia’s Ross Hill Wines and as assistant winemaker at Zepaltas Wines in Santa Rosa. His principal assignment, explains MacPhail, is providing “peace of mind” that clients and winery are being well taken care of.