Another Milestone to Our Quest of Bringing Our Customers the Best Wines in the World

We constantly strive to bring our customers phenomenal wines. As you all know, we have done a lot of things over the last year at Ledson Winery to take our wines to a higher level. My team and I live in such a lush region and are driven to make a superior product by our incredible landscape. From the meticulous care of our vines, their deep saturated soil to the beautiful sun of Sonoma County, we try to capture the essence of the land in each bottle of wine we make. To me, there is nothing better than seeing the grapes on the vine, the sun setting over another beautiful day, and having a phenomenal glass of Zinfandel on the porch with my wife Amy. These are the simple things that bring me so much happiness and pleasure. I want to make sure that everyone we reach, whether it is by visiting us or following my blogs, has the opportunity to feel the same way.

My team at Ledson is constantly improving and challenging each other to produce some of the best wines out there.  I cannot stress how important it is to us that the wines we make be unsurpassed.  However, we are aware that there is always room to excel further, and that improvement is what we continue to bring to anyone who enjoys a glass of Ledson. Hiring David Ramey as our consultant was a great step in our recent changes.  Bringing on Winemaker Andrew Bilenkij, from Australia, who trained with the famous Phillip Shaw, twice winemaker of the year, was another huge, strong move for Ledson. We have our own consultant viticulturist Daniel Roberts, also known as “Dr. Dirt,” who has been with us for over five years and has replanted a lot of our vineyards.  And, for those of you who don’t know, we just purchased the famous Mountain Terraces vineyard here in Sonoma, a 125-acre site with 85 acres planted to vineyards in the Mayacamas Mountains. So, there are a lot of important transformations happening over here at Ledson.

Matt Standing

Matt Standing

What I couldn’t wait to do was express my enthusiasm to all of you about hiring our new Assistant Winemaker, Matt Standing. As you might know, my family is originally from England.  My Grandfather came over at the turn of the century and the English blood in me still enjoys some of that English humor, and believe it or not, English wine! What’s really exciting about this is that Matt is a young lad from England and is just one of those outstanding gentlemen. He worked with David Ramey for a year before heading back to England to finish school and earn his degree. Before interviewing Matt, I asked David Ramey about this young chap and he had this to say:

“Matt worked the harvest of 2011 with us and proved himself such an intrepid international student of wine that when he asked if he could spend the year with us, we didn’t hesitate.  It would be a great match, both for Matt and for Ledson.  Plus, winemaker Andrew would get to call him a ‘bloody pommie’ all the time.”

I knew this was a bloke I had to meet. In May, Matt will have completed a Bachelor of Science Honors Degree in Viticulture and Enology at Plumpton College in Sussex, England, before joining us in June. Plumpton College has been offering higher education courses in wine since 1996 and is an exceptional school.  Southern England is becoming world-renowned for making outstanding sparkling wine using the traditional method and it turns out that Matt grew up just two miles away from Ridgeview Wine Estates, specialists in English sparkling wine. In 2010 Ridgeview, up against wines from Champagne, won the highly acclaimed award for best sparkling wine at the Decanter World Wine Awards. Matt also worked two vintages at up and coming sparkling wine producer Wiston Estate in Sussex and has experience working in Australia as well. He has an outgoing personality, has so much integrity and honesty, and a true passion for winemaking. All this is complimented by a tremendous work ethic and drive. I think this new addition to our team is just going to be phenomenal.

With all these new changes taking place, I bet you can’t help but wonder, what are those chaps at Ledson going to do next? I’m not sure myself, but I know for certain there is some sparkling wine in our future… at the very least, we will open a bottle and raise a glass to welcome our new Assistant Winemaker, Matt.

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My Cousin Julia Bertetta: A Century Celebration of an Incredible Woman

I want to share a special story with you about my dear friend and cousin, Julia Bertetta. I have to say that she’s an amazing lady and someone I’ve admired all my life. I’m inspired not only by Julia, but also by the extreme fondness that my father Noble and uncles Winslow and Whitby had for her.

In fact, Winslow told me on numerous occasions that he had a crush on Julia. Winslow and I used to talk until the wee hours of the morning while we played liar’s dice, cards and talked about the good old times in Kenwood. Julia’s name came up often.

She’s always been the life of the party and has an amazing, charismatic way about her. Back in the day, when the “Ledson boys” were ready to head to town, the first person they asked to go with them was Julia.

And now, at age 100, everyone still takes notice when she walks into a room. There’s something extraordinary about the way she carries herself.

Julia’s family has been in Sonoma County since the turn of the century; they ran the quarry at Annadel State Park. Back then they used the stones from that quarry to build cobblestone streets in San Francisco.  Julia was born at the quarry in a small cabin!

JULIA-BABY-AND-STEVEwpWe were so honored to throw a birthday party for Julia, and I was more than excited that my one-month-old daughter, Taylor Lynn, was there. I’ll never forget the experience. Julia put her loving hand on Taylor’s chest and said to her, “You’re going to be a very wise young lady.” And later she shook her finger at her and added, “You better pay attention to your dad, young lady!”

Julia has been taking a bus up to Reno once a month to gamble and she plays bingo every Thursday night. She’s living life to its fullest, which is what I try to do every day. One thing I learned from Julia is to make the best out of every moment.

Throughout my life I’ve looked up to and admired a lot of people, but this woman has and continues to inspire me so much that I recently named a vineyard after her – one of my favorite spots to have lunch on our family ranch in Anderson Valley. This Pinot Noir ‘Julia’s Vineyard’ is just breathtaking. No doubt it will produce wines with the utmost character, hopefully as fabulous and lively as Julia herself!

Some people in life are just born with the kind of personality that can charm everyone from the President of the United States to some who are just down on their luck; Julia makes everyone smile.

And when it comes to telling a joke, there is no one better. I can’t count the times she has made me laugh.

I love this lady. She makes me smile every time I see her. Isn’t that the way we all want to live our lives? Always with a smile.

I just have a feeling Taylor Lynn will have that same positive, charismatic personality – living her live to the fullest.