Winemaker Alex Kanzler produces a limited 2,000 cases of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the cool western edge of Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley. Planted just eight miles from the Pacific Ocean, the renowned 15-acre Kanzler Vineyard was one of the first established in the rolling hills southwest of the town of Sebastopol, Calif.
The growing region—now informally called the Sebastopol Hills neighborhood—was once thought to be too cool for grapes. It has proven ideal for the notoriously difficult Pinot Noir, which enjoys the well-drained Goldridge soil predominant here, and sunny summers tempered by cooling ocean breezes. Most nights the fog rolls in too, allowing grapes to ripen slowly and develop the deep, complex flavors for which the Kanzler Vineyard is known.
Alex grew up on the vineyard his parents planted, and worked as a field hand at 16. After college he surprised himself by falling sincerely in love with winemaking. He honed his craft at exceptional wineries in Oregon, New Zealand, and Sonoma. At KANZLER, he handcrafts each vintage himself, and applies gentle farming practices such as dry farming and the exclusion of synthetic herbicides. He also farms nearby Walker Station Vineyard, a gem of the Green Valley neighborhood.
Alex’s wife Breauna Kanzler allocates bottles via the mailing list during biannual offerings. She also hosts tastings and tours for overnight guests of the estate vineyard house.
The vineyard’s sought-after grapes have been featured in vineyard designate wines by other top producers such as Kosta Browne and Lynmar Estate; the vineyard is the sole source of over 60 wines rated 90 to 98 points by Wine Spectator.
Kanzler Vineyards was founded in 1996.
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