Edward Sellers Vineyards and Wines
Paso Robles AVA
Edward Sellers is a niche winery in the truest sense of the word
The existence of upstart Central Coast winery Edward Sellers Vineyards and Wines is directly traceable to the entrepreneurial spirit and energy of its founder Edward Sellers. As a young student at Arizona State several decades ago, Sellers became enamored with the complexities of French Burgundies. The seed was fertilized that would one day result in the formation of Edward Sellers Vineyards and Wines, this month’s Gold Wine Club Selection.
“Many customers would leave portions of their wines in the bottle,” Sellers, now in his late fifties, explained. “French Burgundies were extremely popular in our French restaurant and the other waiters and I were able to taste them when the customers were finished. I couldn’t believe there was so much difference in complexity and taste from wines that were made in the same basic locale.” After a varied career that included a number of unrelated but highly successful industries and companies, Sellers and his wife Dani (who shared his passion for wine) traveled to the West Coast to visit a college roommate who managed a golf course in Paso Robles. There, the pair was smitten by the old wine bug. They fell in love with Paso Robles itself, and foresaw the giant strides the area was making in the world of California wine.
“We basically said to ourselves, this is where we want to be. The place itself was ideal for growing great vines and the terroir afforded me the chance to do something I had wanted to do for a long time – make a series of Rhône varietals,” he added.
That was 2003, and the rest is history. Edward Sellers Vineyards and Wines began purchasing grapes from selected growers and began to produce the company’s initial release of wines. The case amount, 2,500, was enthusiastically received by the trade press and consumers and the small winery was on its way to becoming an overnight success.
“It’s been a really wild ride,” Edward Sellers recalled further. “We have just completed our seventh vintage and we’ve already received a number of 90’s from wine guru Robert Parker. We will produce around 5,000 cases this year, but our five-year goal is to double in size. That’s where we will stop because I feel we will still be able to control our quality. Any bigger and we have to hire additional people and start making our wines from a different perspective.” Edward Sellers (as the winery is known locally) opened a new tasting room in the fall of 2010 on the winery grounds located on Highway 46W. It has a marvelous view and is open seven days a week for interested consumers. It is remarkable to note the fact that the winery is almost completely an on-premise operation; meaning the bulk of its sales in just a handful of states and Canada are mostly to restaurants. This makes Edward Sellers a niche winery in the truest sense of the word.
“A long time ago we decided that it was impossible to be everything to everybody,” Edward Sellers continued. “While there are others out here making Rhône wines, I don’t think any are quite like ours. I want to be different and make the best wines possible.” Sellers also considers his label (a compass rose with rays extending from the center, usually found on Old World maps) a little European but slightly upgraded. The compass rose was discovered during the Sellers’ earlier life and had great meaning for the couple. They felt it belonged on the label as a symbol of their dedication to the grapes of the Rhône Valley, one of France’s earliest wine producing regions. Edward Sellers Vineyards and Wines is the complete Rhône varietal package whose star will continue to rise as its new releases continue to impress. It is our pleasure to again feature this important Central Coast winery to our members.
The Art of Fine wine
La Vallee de Bergerac
Painted by English artist Adam Cope, who enjoys creating pieces that remind him of his childhood summers spent in the south of France. Vineyards and landscape scenes are often seen in Cope’s watercolor and oil work.
Peachy Canyon Vineyard
Painted by artist Therese Fowler-Bailey, who has been educated in all aspects of watercolor and taken intense workshops from the best Masters of Art over the past 15 years.
About the Vineyard
As of now, most of the fruit that goes into Edward Sellers varietals comes from the Paso Robles AVA, the most agreeable growing environment for Rhône varietals along the Central Coast in the opinion of many experts. The conditions and soils of Paso Robles closely mirror those of southeastern France and the Rhône Valley, home to many of the world’s greatest wines.
With the exception of fruit coming from Edward Sellers’ home estate vineyards in the Templeton Gap corridor located to the south and east, (these first estate wines will be released in 2011), the remainder of the winery’s grapes are located on the calcareous-rich hillsides on the west side of Paso Robles. The ten different vineyards there are planted in small blocks to insure the vines have proper conditions to achieve a unique character.
There is also great variety available as nine different Rhône varietals make for some really splendid fruit that is rich in varietal nature and style, so important to the development of quality Rhône varietal wines.
Jeremy Weintraub - Winemaker
Jeremy Weintraub grew up on Long Island, New York drinking mostly French wine with his family. Before leaving for college, he took a job giving tours at Lenz Winery on Long Island and the experience left a lasting impression. Jeremy went on to work at a think tank in Washington, D.C. and spent time in New York writing articles for a number of magazines, but at the age of 30 he decided to listen to his heart.
Jeremy moved to California and earned his Master's Degree in Viticulture and Enology before taking assistant winemaker positions Tantra Winery and Shadow Canyon Cellar on the Central Coast. He also served as head winemaker at the highly acclaimed Seavey Vineyards in St. Helena.
In June of 2011, the Central Coast lured Jeremy back and he has since served as the highly energetic and captivating winemaker for Edward Sellers. His winemaking style totally captures the essence of Edward Sellers and infuses new energy into the winery's future.
More about Edward Sellers
Edward Sellers originally hailed from upstate New York, where his family raised Morgan horses and was surrounded by neighbors with sheep and cows. He feels that his roots began in the farmland and have continued with his development of Edward Sellers Vineyards and Wines.
‘No matter what anyone tells you,” he began, ‘It’s all in the growing of the grapes. If you are correct and attentive, the soils and climate with work together and give you some wonderful fruit to make into wines. If the grape quality is not great, neither will the wines they produce.” To that end, Sellers has managed to piece together a ten-vineyard collection of properties that he uses for his wines. He then works closely with the vineyard owners to insure that each property is carefully structured to his exacting requirements to produce fruit at an extremely high level.
‘No two varietals are alike and each has to be handled individually. Take the Grenache grape for example. Its individual clusters can be enormous so it is necessary to prune repeatedly to get the quality we desire. During development we watch each varietal closely and determine what is best for it to achieve greatness. It takes a great deal of time and attention, but it’s definitely worth it in the end,” he added. Edward Sellers is most definitely a person who knows what he wants. He has started and sold a number of businesses (from healthcare to manufacturing, from the Midwest to the Northeast). His philosophy has always been the same, namely ‘to do only one thing, but do it the best it can be done.” His pride extends to a 30-acre parcel of land in the Templeton Gap corridor of the famous Santa Lucia Highlands growing area, where conditions vary greatly and 40-degree swings in daily temperatures are common. His first estate production will take place in 2011, a unique blending of a red and white wine, and a marked departure from his varietal releases to date.
‘Our red and white program will give me a great deal of flexibility,” sellers commented. ‘We will be able to utilize all of our Rhône varietals and make a most distinctive pair of wines. They might vary slightly from year to year, but we are betting they will be most inviting to the palate.” Edward Sellers is also his own winemaker at this point, having parted with his original winemaker some four months ago. ‘I was her grunt for the past four years and I simply wanted to make the wines myself in the true artisan manner, so we parted ways,” he added. ‘I want our wines to be well-balanced and food friendly, more French style than California, but still fruit friendly. I know what I want and I don’t mind taking my time to achieve it, that’s the way the wine business works.”
Sellers is also a pilot as well as an avid sailor. He estimated that for a number of years he traveled in excess of 120,000 miles each year with his various businesses. Some of that has changed. Sellers and his wife Dani have recently started a family and have been blessed with an 18-month-old baby that has changed his outlook radically.
‘The winery is really taking me home,” he finalized. ‘These days, it’s all about enjoying life and the really important things. The winery gives us a chance to experience just about everything.”