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Gold Medal Wine Club
5330 Debbie Road, Suite 200
Santa Barbara, California 93111
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Taft Street Winery - Sonoma County

98 Points, Double Gold Medal Winner, Best in Region, Best of Class.

It all started back in the early 1970’s for brothers Mike and John Tierney. The Oakland natives were both students at the time, Mike in graduate school pursuing his doctorate in anthropology and John an undergrad studying geography at the nearby University of California at Berkeley. Interestingly, the Tierney Family had spent many of their summers vacationing in the nearby wine canyons of Sonoma County and the area became something of a second home to the youths during their teens.

And throughout those times, both brothers sought to support themselves with a variety of restaurant jobs that continued their early interest in both Sonoma and the wonderful wines that were locally produced. When John Tierney graduated, he moved to Sonoma where he worked for Chateau Souverain for a number of years in various capacities. When he decided to move back to Berkeley in the mid-1970’s, he brought with him a wealth of expertise in winemaking.

Since the house that Mike lived in dated back to 1918 and its garage was too small to fit a car into, a decision was made to begin making wines on an amateur basis. The garage was upgraded and production was slowly begun. The first wines were called Taft Street Garage or even Le Garage, and were mostly for local consumption by friends and family. Another local Berkeley business, called Wine and the People, was the source for grapes and equipment and the enterprise slowly grew. By the late 1970’s, the garage facility was producing around 1,000 gallons, a neat feat in itself until a disgruntled neighbor reported Taft Street to the BATF. Even though the incident was soon settled, the Tierney brothers and their cadre of friends and relatives, who were also to become owners of Taft Street, knew something better lay ahead.

“My brother made a wine and won the Best of Show Award for Amateur Winemaking at the California State Fair,” Mike Tierney recalled. “That was all the encouragement we needed. All our friends exhorted us to take some action and it really sounded like a great idea. We made a decision to get into the business for real and our Taft Street Garage brand became the Taft Street Winery.” On April 1, 1982, Taft Street Winery secured its bond and became a professional entity. Its first release amounted to between 1,500 and 2,000 cases, and met with instant critical acclaim. For the next eight years, Taft Street grew and in 1990, reached an agreement with Wm. Grant & Sons (originally a Scotch producer) to represent their products. Wm. Grant urged Taft Street to expand its operation and within a few years the winery’s total production was up to 65,000 cases.

“By the advent of the millennium,” offered Tierney, “we did some real soul searching and decided to dissolve the Wm. Grant relationship. We started out being a Sonoma County winery and had gotten away from that with constant expansion through the decade. We all knew that something was necessary to bring us back to where we wanted to be.” Today’s Taft Street Winery is comprised of approximately twelve different ownership entities, all belonging to close friends or family. The winery has settled into a more comfortable level of production around 22,000 cases, all of it originating in Sonoma County. Taft Street Winery focuses on the primary varietals of the area and is particularly pleased with its multiple award-winning Chardonnays and Merlots.

“This is where we really wanted to be,” Tierney added. “After all, we lived and grew up in Sonoma and we have finally returned to our roots.” Taft Street Winery has come a long way since its inception in Mike Tierney’s garage. As mentioned above, it is a tribute to hard work and determination. It also happens to produce some really incredible wines that are considered among the best values in the entire wine industry.

  1. Taft Street
    2007 Pinot Noir
    Taft Street


    98 Points - Double Gold
    id: 953
    Pinot Noir

Evelyn White has been the winemaker at Taft Street since 2007

Evelyn brings almost 30 years of experience to the growing winery. After graduating from Sonoma State University with a degree in Biology and Chemistry, Evelyn took a temporary harvest position at Chateau St. Jean, and ended up as a laboratory technician for the winery. She enrolled in several oenology and viticulture courses at Santa Rosa College to further her winemaking education, and then became the assistant winemaker for Lyeth Winery in Geyserville. In 1992, she moved to Clos du Bois Wines, where she spent 11 years and became the head winemaker, and in 2004 she joined Delicato Family Vineyards. Today, Evelyn enjoys winemaking for Taft Street Winery and also serves as a member of the American Society of Enology and Viticulture. In her free time, Evelyn takes part in cooking, gardening, and traveling worldwide with her husband.

About The Region

The grapes for Taft Street’s 2007 ‘Garagistes’ Pinot Noir came from Joe Keith’s Manchester Ridge Vineyard in the Mendocino Ridge appellation. Located in coastal Mendocino County, California, the boundaries of this region include a range of coastal mountains adjacent to the Pacific Ocean. Although this area covers more than 250,000 acres, the only land suitable for grape growing lies on hilltops 1,500 feet or higher in elevation. This prestigious area is freed from fog and the vines enjoy long sun-filled days with sharply contrasting cool nights. The resulting fruit possesses
the classic balance of fruit and acidity, so important in the production of the very best Pinot Noirs. Currently planted to 19 acres of Pinot Noir and 11 acres of Chardonnay, this highly coveted site is depended upon by a handful of wineries for producing award winning wines of supreme quality. The wines from Manchester Ridge Vineyard are distinctly vibrant, with a wonderful delicacy yet intensity of flavor. They have purity and grace, and Taft Street’s 2007 ‘Garagistes’ Pinot Noir demonstrates just that.

Taft Street Clam Chowder


1 pint shucked clams or 13 oz. minced clams
4 ounces bacon, diced
2 potatoes, peeled & diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup cream
3 Tbs. flour
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. saffron threads
salt & pepper to taste


Drain clams and reserve liquid. Add enough water to liquid to measure 2 cups. Set aside. In a saucepan, crisp the bacon, dice, and set aside. Add the reserved liquid, potatoes, onion, and celery to the fat in the saucepan. Cook about 15 minutes. Stir in the clams, and add 2 cups of milk and cream. Stir the remaining 1/2 cup of milk into flour, and then stir into the chowder. Cook about 2 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce, saffron, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the bacon on top. Serve and enjoy!

Pulled Pork & Slaw Sandwiches


For the Pulled Pork:
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. chili powder
3 lbs. pork butt or shoulder, trimmed,
& cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbs. honey
1/2 cup stock
1 onion, diced

For the Cole Slaw:
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
4 Tbs. sugar
4 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. celery seeds
1 medium cabbage, thinly shredded
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
2 carrots, shredded


For the Pulled Pork:
Combine the first four ingredients for the rub. Add pork and coat well. Refrigerate overnight. Brown pork in olive oil and set aside. Add stock, honey and vinegar, scraping the pan’s bottom to incorporate flavors. Add onion and bring to boil. Lower heat to simmer, add pork and cook until tender - about an hour and a half. Let cool, then shred by hand.

Preparations for the Cole Slaw:
Combine vinegar, sugar, oil, mustard and celery seeds in a medium saucepan. Stir and bring to boil. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Combine cabbage, onion and carrots in a bowl. Add dressing, toss. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.