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Windemere Winery - Paso Robles, California Central


91 Point - Wine Enthusiast magazine, Connoisseurs’ Guide - ‘A highly distinctive wine.”

Cathy MacGregor founded Windemere Winery in 1985. The name Windemere comes from an old Scottish village destroyed hundreds of years ago by the British. It is back to this village that Cathy can trace her ancestors, the MacGregor clan. Windemere Winery’s 2,500 case production is devoted to handcrafting small lots of premium Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery’s signature wines, Cathy MacGregor, are top-of-the-line, Reserve-quality wines that show off the special attention they receive from vine to glass.

The Cathy MacGregor Zinfandel is made from the highly sought after fruit of the Benito Dusi Vineyard in Paso Robles. Planted in 1923 this fabulous vineyard produces intensely flavored, robust Zinfandel. Each year’s harvest is tightly allocated and doled out to only a small handful of select winemakers in the state.

Cathy MacGregor Chardonnay is produced from her father’s renowned MacGregor Vineyard in the Edna Valley. This is the same vineyard that continues to produce “MacGregor Vineyard” designated Chardonnays from such notable producers as Mount Eden Vineyards and Morgan Winery. Cathy and her father have identified one special block in the vineyard that produces grapes of such intense flavor that she uses it exclusively for her signature Chardonnay.

Andy MacGregor, bought the land in the early 1970s after retiring from long stints at both Rocketdyne and General Electric. He spent his career as an aerospace engineer designing jet and rocket engines on such projects as the Flying Wing and the B-1 Bomber. Most notably, he designed a jet propulsion pump used to fly the Mercury and Saturn rockets to the moon. In 1972 he left the corporate life behind to pursue an interest in grape growing and winemaking. True to his engineering background, his approach to beginning this second career as a grape grower was decidedly scientific. The physical location, soil composition, climate conditions and varietal choice were all extensively researched before he bought 11 acres in Edna Valley.

In 1977 Andy MacGregor bought another 60 acres near his original vineyard site. It was about that time that it became apparent to MacGregor that tending to the vineyards was all that he desired to do. Starting a winery would demand too much of his time.

Perhaps coincidentally or perhaps by design, shortly after Andy’s decision to stick with the vineyard side of the business, daughter Cathy enrolled in U.C. Davis’ enology program. After finishing her studies at Davis in 1982, Cathy took a route through several established wineries to gain real-world experience in the wine business. Then a few years later Cathy took the plunge and started her own winery, Windemere. “There was really no reason not to do it,” Cathy recalls. “I knew how to make wine. I knew where I was going to buy my fruit. And I knew the quality of grapes were first rate. All I had to do basically was not blow it!”

After Cathy had made her first 400 cases of Chardonnay wine in 1985, she knew she was on to something big. “Maybe it was the market at the time, but the wine sold remarkably well. It was gone in no time,” she humbly says.

Cathy’s first vintages from her father’s vineyard were produced at leased facilities of other wineries in Northern California. However, she now produces all of her wine in Edna Valley. She and her husband Larry Bryans plan to build a new wine making facility on the MacGregor Vineyard property in the very near future. It is then that Windemere Winery will start producing significantly more than their current 2,500 cases of five different wines.

“I seek out the best grapes I can buy, from the ideal locations, including my father’s,” says Cathy. “Only then can I begin to make wines I’m proud of,” she adds. As the daughter of a grape grower Cathy has the privilege of actually picking the rows from which she’ll buy grapes on her Dad vineyard. Andy MacGregor has always believed in selling his grapes only to good winemakers. He can proudly boast that his daughter’s name is on the list! We hope you enjoy this unique glimpse of rare and wonderful Cathy MacGregor wines from Windemere Winery.



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