Sonoma County region
A jewel nestled in the heart of the Russian River Valley
After graduating from renowned Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Lynn Fritz decided to enter his family’s international shipping business to start his career. The logistic service company had a number of offices around the world and Fritz routinely visited them when conducting business.
“I was very fortunate to be able to travel around the world,” he recalled during a recent interview. “Not only was I able to visit Europe, but Asia, Australia, and South America were also involved. It really broadened by horizons and taught me a great deal about foreign products and customs.”
Among the accouterments Fritz acquired was a deep appreciation for wine and its incredible relationship to food, a feeling he holds in high regard to this day.
“I have always enjoyed wine with my meals,” he related, “and to that end, much of what we do here is directly related to that aspect of our business.” More to come on that later.
Fritz’s family logistics business was eventually sold to shipping giant UPS and Fritz began looking for something else to do. The San Francisco native was familiar with neighboring Sonoma County and in 1980, acquired a 35- acre Russian River Valley property that was complete with several acres of producing vineyards.
“When I realized what the property involved - our Quail Hill Ranch was producing world-class fruit that was being made into world class wines - I knew what I needed to do with my life from that point on. I knew the standards involved and I knew the rewards that awaited us if we were successful.”
The establishment of Lynmar Estate began in 1982 with the construction of a state-of-the-art winery that allowed Lynn Fritz to produce his own wines. A total of around 800 cases heralded the event that slowly increased to the present-day level of between 10,000 and 12,000 annual cases. Along the way, Fritz added six more properties that became available, bringing Lynmar Estate’s total domain to 100 acres - of which 48 are under vine.
“Everything we have here is totally self-constructed,” he said proudly. “We have planted and replanted specific clones and have achieved specific angles, prunings and spacings for our plants. This particular area of the Russian River Valley is where Pinot Noir thrives and we give our favorite varietal every possible advantage.”
Plaudits for Lynmar Estate’s wine portfolio came often and the winery was soon elevated to a lofty spot among Northern California’s upper level wineries. High ratings and top scores became the norm for Lynn Fritz and his team.
From the beginning, Lynmar Estate’s rise to the top has been decidedly different from most California wine entities. Instead of the usual three-tiered method of distribution employed by most wineries, Lynn Fritz chose to market his products directly to the consumer.
“I made a business plan that seemed to make sense to me. If I was able to produce ultra-caliber wines and intended to keep our production small and controllable, I saw no reason to involve distributors and the like. Instead, I built a marvelous environment and made our place a perfect destination for everyone.
“Ours is a true customer pleasure business with views in every direction. We do all of our own farming to exacting standards and practice sustainability farming to the letter. Our efforts have made Lynmar Estate one of the most beautiful wineries in the entire state. We also have two chefs of staff that ensure our original goal of food pairings with our wines are kept to the highest standards. The caves on the side of the hills make the entire experience something one is not soon to forget. It’s amazing what can be done with property that was formerly apple orchards if you put your mind to it and have a workable plan,” he concluded.
Fritz credits his wife Anisya as a major factor in the winery’s success. “She’s the Director of Consumer Experience,” Fritz explained. “She has created a multi-sensory experience for our guests, a sense of place to be more exact. The visceral connection our visitors experience is different in many ways from other commercial wineries. Anisya has become so involved in the wine industry that she even teaches a wine business course at nearby Sonoma State University.”
It is with great pleasure that we introduce our members to this marvelous estate from the Russian River Valley. The wine involved speaks for itself, but the winery model developed by Lynn Fritz serves as a shining example of excellence and fulfillment to its competitors and consumers alike. You can enjoy them in our Pinot Noir Wine of the Month Club.
Dear Platinum Club Members
The 2017 Quail Hill Pinot Noir represents the aggregate knowledge of 30 years of making wine from the same owned, managed, and internally farmed vineyard.
Fourteen different clones of Pinot Noir have been planted over the years in carefully chosen blocks. Each block is farmed separately, picked separately, fermented separately, and barreled separately. All to draw out the very best elements into the wine - a complex artisan process.
Lynn C. Fritz
Shane Finley - Winemaker
Shane Finley is the talented winemaker behind Lynmar Estate’s award-winning wines. Rather than finding inspiration in the halls of UC Davis like many of California’s top winemakers, Shane found his passion for wine working in restaurants in New York. He moved to Sonoma County and earned hands-on experience working his first harvest at Copain Wines, then a second in Australia’s Barossa Valley at Torbreck. He interned in France’s Northern Rhone Valley, and finally returned to Sonoma to become Cellar Master at Copain.
In 2005, Shane worked as Paul Hobbs’ assistant winemaker and crafted the winery’s celebrated Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons from some of California’s finest vineyards. He joined Lynmar Estate in 2012, eager to work with the winery’s exceptional estate vineyard and his wines have been a tremendous success.