Press Kit - SUTRO
Sutro Wines are a refined, small production, and a diligently crafted product made from estate-grown sustainably-farmed vineyards at historic Warnecke Ranch.
Alice Warnecke Sutro and Eliot Sutro have created a new wine brand from the depths of California history. With humility, a sense of scale and lots of elbow grease… not to mention a great palate. Their motivation is to bottle up the essentials of their home to connect people.
Alice is the side of the equation that brings into play Warnecke Ranch, the 100-year-old family owned and operated estate along the Russian River that inspired the couple to begin winemaking and from which all grapes are sourced for SUTRO. "There is too much in this amazing property to talk about, so having something as magical as wine be the communicator of the story is the best art piece I can imagine being a part of,” explaining her career move from artist, to vineyard manager, to wine producer. She learned the ropes of the wine industry while working for 6 years as assistant vineyard manager at Warnecke Ranch. Her grandfather, renowned architect John Carl Warnecke, established the vineyards in 1973 and her aunt Margo Warnecke-Merck is current manager. In parallel to delving into the wine industry, Alice contributed a great deal to helping the family in founding Chalk Hill Artist Residency in 2010 and continued as Program Director until 2016. The on-site arts nonprofit invites artists to take inspiration from the historic property to create new artwork and is specifically inclusive to artists with disabilities.
A similar search for a balance of esthetics, nature, and crafting brought Alice & Eliot together and landed them on Chalk Hill Road, at the southern tip of Alexander Valley. Architect, wine-maker and mandolin player, Eliot brings careful attention, sensitivity and an acute palate to winemaking. In addition, the label pays homage to his family lineage that traces the development of San Francisco. His great-great-grandfather immigrated to the Bay Area during the gold rush era along with his cousin Adolf Sutro. The latter put his lot into mining and land development, becoming a major shaper of the San Francisco city-scape and one-time mayor in 1895. Eliot's direct relative immersed himself in law to form Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro in 1894. In 1906 they won a landmark case by representing the California Wine Association and forcing fire insurance companies to pay for fire damage from the earthquake. Eliot still leads the Healdsburg branch of Sutro Architects, focusing on high end residential projects.
Together Alice & Eliot present an elegant and aromatic wine. They’ve shaped a brand that is timeless and respectful to the higher powers of oenology: excellent winegrapes, a magnificent site and deep family roots in California history.
Wine Notes from Alice & Eliot
Here are the tangible elements, from the farming and wine-making perspective, that make SUTRO stand out. Please taste and add your perspective to the experience!
2012 Cabernet Sauvignon: Our first vintage lands us in one of the best growing seasons in the past ten years. Add to that dramatic drought conditions that limited watering and pushed the vines to “survival state," maximizing phenolic compounds in the mature grapes. At Warnecke Ranch, precision farming allows for finely tuned canopy management, irrigation control and vine balance in the fruiting zone, leading to excellent ripeness at harvest time – harmonious pH, acids and sugar content. The wine-making this year required minimal intervention, but also required hawk-eyes on the fermentation curve to push the temperature up to the degrees needed to correctly extract fruit vs. skin tannins. Double Gold Medal at SF Chronicle Wine Competition and rated 8.5 by Alder Yarrow. 2012 CAB Tech Sheet
2013 Cabernet Sauvignon:
250 cases produced
With the 2013 vintage we turned our attention to the "old vine" block of Cabernet on Warnecke Ranch. Situated at the foot of Chalk Hill, this handful of acres represents the remainder of the original Clone 8 plantings established by John Carl Warnecke in 1973. The dry-farmed vines with their deep roots and gnarled wood produce a scant 2 tons to the acre, lending remarkable concentration to the fruit. Over the course of 29 months in barrel, the resulting rich phenolics and tannins have integrated beautifully into the finished wine. Double Gold Medal at SF Chronicle Wine Competition. 2013 CAB Tech Sheet
75 cases produced
Along the ridge that runs from Chalk Hill to the Russian River, a steeply terraced vineyard stretches down towards the ranch lake. This is the site of the Merlot block from which we made our first wines together six years ago. A handful of these unlabeled bottles are still traded among and coveted by friends and family. In 2013 we were sure to produce enough to offer publicly. This is a wine of aromatic and textural elegance befitting its site.
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