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Submitted By: Lewis Perdue, March 13, 2010

Sonoma Coast Vineyard Collaborates with Gifted Winemaker

For more information contact:

Linda Schwartz or Johanna Bernstein

Fort Ross Vineyard & Winery


SONOMA, CA March 8, 2010 – Fort Ross Vineyard, located along the steep ridges of the Wild Sonoma Coast, is pleased to announce the appointment of their new winemaker, Jeff Pisoni. Jeff, the gifted winemaker of Pisoni Vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands, is known for his extraordinary wines produced from the family’s estate property.

According to Jeff, “I tasted the Fort Ross Vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at the Ritz Carlton and was struck by the luscious fruit, fine minerality and crisp acidity in each wine. The cool climate and the strong character of the vineyard were clearly evident from wine to wine and vintage to vintage. My goal is to continue to express the personality of the vineyard and the wonderful style the winery has worked so hard to establish over the last decade.”

Fort Ross Vineyard has had the very good fortune to attract some of California’s most talented winemakers including: Jeff Pisoni (2009 ‑ Present); Helen Keplinger (2007 ‑ 2008); Ed Kurtzman (2003 ‑ 2006) and Fred Scherrer (2000 ‑ 2004).

Linda Schwartz, who established the Fort Ross Vineyard along with her husband, Lester Schwartz in 1994, said “The terrain was so steep that we decided to begin with the “easiest” blocks. And even those first seven small blocks were so steep that it took four years of preparation before we could begin planting rootstock in 1998. We now have more than seven miles of fencing to keep out the wild pigs, deer, rabbits and turkeys. Our irrigation is done with the rain water we collect in our pond during the winter. Although the summers are water scarce, the rainfall in the wet winter season ranges from 75-125 inches ‑ more than in the Amazon Jungle. I recently spent time in the Amazon Jungle and the rains were insignificant by comparison!”

Adds Linda, “The few, remaining, plantable sites still available along the steep ridges of the Sonoma Coast are now greatly sought after. It is common to see helicopters hovering overhead searching for possible parcels to serve as home for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.”

All wines produced by Fort Ross Vineyard & Winery are made from estate-grown grapes. The winery’s 50-acre vineyard features 30 small blocks that range in elevation from 1200 up to 1700 feet. The site overlooks the Pacific Ocean, Bodega Bay, Point Reyes and the Faralon Islands far to the west. The property is located one mile from the coast making it the closest vineyard to the Pacific Ocean in California.

Fort Ross Vineyard has a policy of releasing each wine according to its individual development. Linda said, “They call me ‘Head of the Sales Prevention Department’! Our current releases are from four different vintages!”

If you would like to find out more about the Fort Ross Vineyard, please visit the website at


Jean Jacote, Partner

Big Bang Communications

office: 707-792-2331

mobile: 415-307-4215