Healdsburg, CA November 30, 2023 – Tucked away in a cool micro-climate in the Russian River Valley, Ketcham Estate vineyards are believed to be some of the oldest Pinot Noir plantings in the Valley, quite possibly the oldest remaining Pinot Noir from the early 1970s…and these vines are still producing beautiful fruit.
From these mature and sustainably-farmed rows of grapevines, planted to several different Pinot Noir clones, comes a variety of vineyard specific wines and clonal blends that are proudly produced by women; Allie Ketcham, the widow of winery founder Mark Ketcham, Estate Manager Renee Graves and winemaker Tami Collins. Together they craft wines of finesse and elegance.
2023 was an unusual weather year in Sonoma County with early rains and cool weather, then heat and more cool weather. Harvest was later, later than most people can remember. There is always trepidation before an annual crush but, in 2023, the wait and worry was a good thing. “As a winemaker, my relationship with Mother Nature, particularly during harvest, is an interesting one,” says winemaker Tami Collins.
“At Ketcham Estate, due to a cool, wet spring and mild summer here in Northern California, our pinot noir harvest started on September 19th, about 3.5 weeks behind 2022. But even later than “normal” was our 2023 viognier, which we harvested nearly 28 days later than 2022,’ Tami points out.
“So, what does a later harvest really mean? The more time the grapes spend on the vine means better flavor development. Consequently, the end result of extended hang time and mild temperatures are amazing, flavorful wines with slightly lower alcohol…. so you can drink more!” summarizes the happy winemaker.
Recently, Healdsburg fine dining restaurants have jumped on the Ketcham train and have begun featuring the Russian River Valley Pinot Noir by the glass or bottle. At the bar and all restaurants at Montage Healdsburg Ketcham Pinot is first on the list of Pinots by the glass, a coveted spot on the menu. And it’s been selling so well, the winery is making emergency deliveries just to keep the wine in stock.
Also find Ketcham wines at the charming Guiso Latin Fusion restaurant and the acclaimed Valette, the first restaurant of local chef Dustin Valette.
For the holidays, Ketcham Estate is donating a percentage of their sales to Healdsburg High School’s Project Graduation, Sober Grad Night, and also supporting Future Farmers of America (FFA), which grants scholarships to students pursuing agriculture studies.
And, to celebrate an unprecedented harvest, the winery will be changing labels for all wines starting with the 2022 vintage. The updated, clean look reflects the simplicity yet elegance the Ketcham team finds in everyday life where these talented women raise families, cook up some creative cuisine to pair with their wines and enjoy the veritable fruits of their labor with guests, families and a significant wine club membership.
“After waiting an extra month for this year’s vintage to come in, we are thrilled with the way the fruit looks. The extra hand time has given this crop a lusciousness that we are excited to see age in the cellar,” says winery owner Allie Ketcham. “We are proud that our fifty year old Pinot Noir vines are still producing exquisite grapes prolifically.”
In addition to an array of Pinot Noirs, Ketcham Estate also produces Burgundian-style Chardonnay, crisp and floral Viognier, Rose of PInot Noir and selectively-sourced Cabernet Sauvignon, just because their members love a good cab!
New labels and recent harvest photos are attached. Please contact press contact for private visits to the winery, which may include lunch or dinner with the team or a night in the guest house overlooking Ketcham’s old vine PInot Noir.