Frostwatch Vineyard & Winery
Sonoma County region
Garagiste winery garnering several awards for its limited production wines
Founded in 2002 by Brett Raven and Diane Kleinecke, Frostwatch Vineyard and Winery is a small family owned operation committed to making high quality, hand crafted wines from Bennett Valley in Sonoma County. This recently established appellation is located just south and to the East of the city of Santa Rosa in a very cool pocket that is producing some exceptional wines, most notably Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, and Pinot Noir. Brett Raven and Diane Kleinecke work together with the goal of crafting powerful fruit driven wines that are stylish, balanced and food friendly and they are certainly doing an excellent job at that.
While 2002 was the winery’s inaugural vintage, Brett and Diane’s interest in wine dates back to the mid 1980’s when they met while attending U.C. Davis. After completing their educations, Brett and Diane married and went to work in San Francisco’s Financial District. They enjoyed urban life, but never gave up the dream of someday living in the country and having their own winery.
In 1995, Brett and Diane had the opportunity to purchase property in Bennett Valley, and shortly thereafter, moved to Sonoma County and had the first of their three children. They established Frostwatch Vineyard, and it became clear that Brett had found his calling. In addition to farming, Brett held a series of winemaking positions at Alderbrook Winery, Matanzas Creek Winery, and Ramey Wine Cellars, and he took courses in winemaking through U.C. Davis Extension. The inaugural vintage of Frostwatch Winery came in 2002, and they have slowly grown their portfolio to include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Merlot. Most of the fruit for Frostwatch Winery is produced from their very own Frostwatch Vineyard in Bennett Valley.
The name of Brett and Diane’s winery is an ode to the extremely cool climate of Bennett Valley. Although the growing season is dominated by marine influences, in the early spring and late fall, the diurnal temperature fluctuations become more extreme and freezing temperatures are quite common in the nighttime hours. Brett and Diane are often on ‘frostwatch’ these times of the year, relying on alarms that are set to go off just before temperatures dip below freezing. When this happens, they activate frost control systems to prevent any damage to the vines and buds. Every few years, they have a very cold night and awake to find their fruiting spurs encased in ice and icicles hanging from the trellis wires.
Over the years, Frostwatch Vineyard and Winery has garnered several awards for its limited production wines. We are pleased to feature this selection for our Garagiste Wine Club members and share our excitement for this rising star winery.