Winemaker Brian Maloney zips and dashes between DeLoach and Buena Vista wineries

DeLoach Vineyards french open top barrels

French open-top barrels

In 2003 Jean-Charles Boisset purchased DeLoach Vineyards and quickly revamped the winery, gaining certified biodynamic status, adding new wine making equipment, and most importantly hiring a young winemaker by the name of Brian Maloney. About a year ago Jean-Charles purchased Sonoma’s historic Buena Vista Winery, founded in 1857 and, as he did with Deloach, is making major changes and restoring the winery to its former glory. Brian Maloney was doing such a fine job as winemaker at DeLoach, it was an easy choice for Jean-Charles to make Brian the winemaker at Buena Vista as well.

I met with Brian at the DeLoach winery located on Olivet Road in the Russian River Valley near Santa Rosa, CA. He says the workdays are long but rewarding. On many days he travels to both wineries, plus the Raymond winery in the Napa Valley. The Raymond facility is where some of the wine for both DeLoach and Buena Vista is made. He says he is fortunate to have skilled assistant winemakers at each location, who can take over when he is not present.

The focus at both DeLoach and Buena Vista is to make top Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines, using wine making techniques that have been around for centuries. This means large wooden open-topped tanks where Pinot Noir ferments, where workers take turns punching down the fermenting grapes by hand. After fermentation, watchful barrel aging takes place. The key is in the vineyard, where organic and sustainable farming enables the terroir to fully represent itself in the wines.

I asked Brian if there will be any differences in the way the Pinot Noir from the DeLoach Russian River vineyards and the Carneros vineyards of Buena Vista will be made. Here is what he had to say:

At DeLoach 90,000 cases of wine are made annually. A large production of entry level wines is placed in many supermarkets and wine shops, while the second tier of wines is sold through the tasting room or offered on the wine list at select restaurants. Visitors can taste wines for a $10 tasting fee. Check the DeLoach Website for other tasting and tour options. Travelers can make a full day of wine tasting on Olivet Road. In addition to Deloach, on this three mile road, there are four other small and family-run wineries: Olivet Road Wine Trail.

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