John Fones, owner and winemaker of Cellars 33, is no stranger to Sonoma Coast fruit. He cut his winemaking teeth interning for Freeman Winery, in the heart of the Russian River Valley, and worked alongside Ed Kurtzman as Assistant Winemaker for August West — who sources their grapes from the RRV, among other California coastal appellations. So, it’s no wonder that he chose two diverse Sonoma Coast vineyards to create his expression of cool-climate Pinot.
Jon Fones, co-owner and winemaker of Cellars 33, says that when starting a winery, one tends to grab at the fruit they can get their hands on — vineyards with available, affordable contracts with fruits you’re able and willing to work with. After working with Napa-based Chardonnay for a number of years, Fones — through a tip from a fellow winemaker — turned his sights to Lodi where, he found, the Grenache Blanc in Clay Station Vineyard grew just beautifully (and, yes, affordably). It may have been a bit experimental at first, working with a new grape variety within his portfolio, but now Cellars 33 is focused on Grenache Blanc as their white wine. “With the fruit from Clay Station,” says Fones, “We can express the source through our wine. And that’s really what we’re all about.”