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Londer Vineyards - Anderson Valley

91 Points — Connoisseurs’ Guide, 90 Points — Wine Spectator magazine

Many successful California wineries are family affairs: some have been passed down through generations, others have naturally developed after years of schooling and experience in the industry, and few are the products of brave career changes, made to follow a passion or calling that simply couldn’t be ignored. Such is the case with Londer Vineyards of Anderson Valley, a top Pinot Noir producer who proves it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

Londer Vineyards is owned and managed by Shirlee and Larry Londer, who are both originally from the beautiful mountain city of Denver, Colorado. The two met when they were young and a relationship blossomed that’s kept them together for the better half of their years.

“We met when we were two years old!” Shirlee recently joked. They actually found each other in high school and went together ever since. After both attending Boulder’s University of Colorado (Shirlee studying to become a first grade teacher, and Larry completing medical school to pursue a future in ophthalmology), the couple moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota for five years while Larry completed his residency.

Larry’s career path brought the Londers to Albuquerque, New Mexico where they resided for 27 years. Larry practiced ophthalmology while Shirlee ran the optical shops. Outside of work, they both had an interest in wine and started joining gourmet wine clubs to help expand their collection. Over the years, the talk of one day planting a vineyard and starting their own winery started coming up. This “interest” in wine started to take larger form and the Londers found themselves getting involved with the Vintage Albuquerque Fine Wine & Art Auction team, helping to also support the local symphony orchestra.

“I was the Executive Director and Larry was the Chairman of the Wine Committee,” Shirlee explained. “We were always seeking donations from California wineries and making visits to all the popular regions.” One visit in particular changed the course of their lives. The Londers had purchased one of the auction’s donation packages to Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley and fell in love with its beautiful landscape.

“We decided this was the place for us; it was one of the most beautiful areas we had ever visited,” Shirlee revealed. It was 1997 and the Londers were about to make the biggest decision of their lives. They left their home in New Mexico, purchased a property in Anderson Valley, and made the big move to Northern California. Larry partially retired from medicine (he continued to work one day per week in Santa Rosa) and Shirlee started working part time in a local tasting room. Their families didn’t take the big change lightly.

“Everybody thought we were crazy!” Shirlee laughed. “Either that, or they were envious, thinking it was something they wanted to do.” Larry and Shirlee immediately enlisted the help of local winemaker Greg LaFollette, who helped them develop what was to become Londer Vineyards. Their first release of 700 cases came in 2001, consisting of a Chardonnay, a Gewurztraminer, and two Pinot Noirs. “We knew we wanted to do a Pinot and Gewurztraminer,” Shirlee explained. “Those are Larry’s favorites!” The first releases were incredibly well received and Robert Parker even wrote that their 2001 Paraboll Pinot Noir was “reminiscent of a Grand Cru.” With a compliment like that, the Londers knew anything was possible.

Today, Greg LaFollette is still a part of the Londer family, functioning as their consulting winemaker and Rick Davis has joined the team as full time winemaker. They continue to use a custom crush facility in Sebastopol, while keeping the production level small and manageable. With hard work and incredible perseverance, the Londers are continuing to make headlines with their astounding Pinot Noirs and have also added 15 acres of Pinot Noir and an acre of Gewurztraminer to their Anderson Valley property. At a current production level of about 5,500 cases, the Londers are comfortable with where they stand and don’t plan on expanding further anytime soon.

Shirlee sums it up, “All we can say is that the move has proved to be a success. Our adventure with country life has been exciting, enriching, and with something new occurring every day.”

  1. Londer
    2005 Pinot Noir
    Anderson Valley
    Mendocino County


    91 - Connoisseurs' Guide
    id: 345
    Pinot Noir

Rick Davis joined Londer Vineyards in 2005

After 18 years of experience and working with many of the top producers on the Sonoma Coast. Rick was first introduced to the wine industry in 1988 at New York’s Rivendell Winery where he started as a barrel washer and worked his way up to a lab technician. Rick was determined to learn every micro-facet of the grape to wine process.

When Rick moved out to California in 1992, he gained the Assistant Winemaker title at Flowers vineyard and spent some time at Santa Ynez’s Gainey Vineyards at well. After working at Greg LaFollette’s Tandem Winery in Sebastopol, Rick was introduced to Londer Vineyards and has enjoyed his time with the boutique winery ever since.

Rick loves the vineyard challenges that come naturally with the quest of creating unique taste sensations and specializes in cool climate varietals like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Rick resides in Santa Rosa and in addition to winemaking, has a second career as a leather artisan.

About The Region

Londer Vineyards is located approximately 120 miles north of San Francisco, in the southwestern corner of California’s Mendocino County. The small 16-acre property is mostly situated on south facing hills with a combination of well-drained sandy loam covering an underlying clay loam. Matched with the cool, foggy nights and warm, dry sunny days, the Pinot Noir grapes are able to slowly develop and ripen, allowing for maximum flavor concentration at harvest.

The Anderson Valley is considered one of the coolest of the state’s so-called cool-climate wine regions, which makes the site ideal for growing varietals such as Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer, and Chardonnay.

The Londers also source from a small handful of neighboring vineyards in Anderson Valley in order to produce a number of vineyard-designated wines with different flavor characteristics. These additional vineyards are among the top most desirable properties in Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley.

Stuffed Mushrooms with Bacon and Goat Cheese


40 small (bite size) Crimini mushrooms
1/3 cup finely minced, lean, smoked bacon (about 3 strips)
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ cup minced sweet onion
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh lemon thyme
3 teaspoons Pankocrumbs
2-3 ounces goat cheese
salt & pepper


Clean the mushrooms. Using the small end of a melon baler, scoop out the stems and some of the cap on 36 of the mushrooms. There should be an indentation in the mushroom but the cap should be intact. Quarter the remaining 4 mushrooms and place in a work bowl of a food processor along with the stems and other mushroom bits. Pulse until finely minced. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a 10 to 12 inch skillet, sauté the bacon in the olive oil until light brown. Add the onions and minced mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes or until most of the moisture is gone and the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Turn off the heat and add the herbs. Stir well and then add the Pankocrumbs and goat cheese. If necessary, add salt and pepper to taste. Scoop into mushrooms and serve. Makes about 3-dozen.

Jumbo Shrimp Pasta in a Garlic Lemon Butter Sauce


12 jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined
2 pieces thick-sliced bacon
1 Portobello mushroom, cut in quarters then sliced
1 small yellow onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoon butter
Juice from 1 large lemon (at least 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup fresh flat parsley, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
5 ounces uncooked spaghetti


Place a large pot of water over high heat to be used for pasta later. Heavily salt the water with kosher salt. Allow water to come to a boil. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, cook the bacon, flipping half way through cooking. Once most of the fat has rendered out, remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Once cool, crumble. Pour out half of bacon fat from pan. Place pan back on stove and increase heat to medium-high. Season the shrimp with kosher salt and black pepper on all sides. Once the pan with the bacon drippings is hot, sear the shrimp in the oil for about 90 seconds, then flip the shrimp and sear for another 90 seconds. Remove from pan with tongs and set aside.
Reduce heat below pan to medium. Add butter, sliced onions, and mushrooms to the pan. Stir. Sauté onions and mushrooms for about 10-15 minutes until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally. Half way through sautéing the onions and mushrooms, add the spaghetti to the salted boiling water. Cook according to package. Add the lemon juice to the pan with the onions to deglaze, making sure to scrape up all of the bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the bacon and parsley to the pan. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
As soon as the pasta is done, add it directly from the pot to the sauté pan with the veggies using tongs. Add the shrimp to the pan as well. Toss to coat to thoroughly combine ingredients. If necessary, add a little of the water used for cooking the pasta to the pan to thin out the sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve immediately and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiana as desired. Enjoy!