(KELSEYVILLE, Calif.) – Lake County winemaker Jed Steele has been making wine longer than many of his customers have been enjoying it, but even at 72 he still relishes crushing grapes, filling barrels and making blends. He’s always looking for ways to improve his wines, including providing more specific grape sourcing information on his labels.
Steele has made his Cuvee Chardonnay for the past 25 years and it has always carried a California appellation. Starting with the 2016 vintage, he decided to highlight the multi-county appellation: Sonoma 43%, Santa Barbara 48%, Mendocino 9%. The vineyard sources include Durell, Sangiacomo, Pamelee-Hill, Goodchild, Lolonis and Bien Nacido from the Carneros, Santa Maria Valley and Redwood Valley appellations.
“I think we were just a bit too cautious when we first made the Cuvee Chardonnay,” explained Steele, “but we’ve sourced from these same vineyards for many years now, so it’s time to give the appellations some recognition.”
In addition to the revised Chardonnay label, Steele will revise his Carneros Pinot Noir label to spell out the specific Sangiacomo Vineyard block where the grapes are grown. Starting with the 2016 Steele Sangiacomo Pinot the label will include the Green Acres vineyard block designation.
“Green Acres has always been my favorite block of Pinot,” said Steele, “and it’s time to let everyone know it.”
Jed Steele has been making wine since 1968. He started his own wine brand in Lake County in 1991. Today he crushes 16 different varietals and produces 40 different wines under four distinct labels. Steele Wines owns five vineyards and leases three additional vineyards from the Dorn family, original settlers of Lake County. The winery also buys grapes from established grape growers from Santa Barbara County to Washington State.