Sonoma County region
Consistently scoring among the top white varietals in the country
A number of wine industry insiders consider Robert Mueller one of the shrewdest individuals in Sonoma County – with good reason. Mueller’s formula for success is vastly different from other wineries that have carved their niche in the California wine business.
For the most part, Robert Mueller followed time-honored methods to achieve his goals. His first academic attempts involved pursuing a career in dentistry. He was a biochemistry major at the University of California Santa Cruz when the wine bug literally changed his life. A job at the old Paul Mason Winery served as the catalyst and, in 1974 Mueller changed schools and enrolled at the University of California Davis in pursuit of an Enology degree.
Upon graduation at UC Davis, Mueller signed on for short stints at Foppiano Winery (then Charles Krug Winery) before he landed in the Central Valley with the sprawling Perelli-Minetti facility. There he was responsible for a huge volume of wines for Perelli-Minetti’s custom clients. After several years, Mueller came to Sonoma and to Chateau Souverain in the Alexander Valley, at the time the area’s premier winery facility. Here the emphasis was on finer quality and more specific wines and Mueller dedicated himself to developing his skills and style.
When Souverain was sold to Nestle in 1985, Robert Mueller found himself out of work but was soon hired to consult for a new venture the former president of Souverain was developing to provide a custom production facility for select clients.
By 1991, an idea had fashioned in Robert Mueller’s mind to create his own, Mueller Winery. Mueller was able to arrange sufficient financing to build an incredible 15,000 square foot facility aimed primarily at producing extremely high quality varietals for a number of assorted customers.
The new venture was immediately successful and less than five years later, Mueller paid off most of his loans and reversed the direction of his fledgling company in order to focus on his own line of premium Burgundian varietals.
His success in this new endeavor are the stuff that movies are made of. Starting with an original production of only 315 cases of his Russian River Chardonnay in 1991 and a minute 266 cases of his first Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley, Emily’s Cuvée) in 1994, Robert Mueller has patiently increased production to his winery’s present level of over 4,000 cases. His long-term goal is to reach a maximum production of 5,000 cases, but the timetable for that is unclear. It should be said that this decision is probably the only facet of Robert Mueller’s entire concept that is open for speculation. Everything else runs with preciseness and care, according to the winery’s master plan.
Mueller’s wines have consistently scored among the top white varietals in the country and the winery is now considered one of the premier Chardonnay and Pinot Noir makers in the entire world. His wines are consistently sold out and are offered to his customers within the United States and abroad only by allocation.
Robert Mueller has also been able to enjoy a measure of satisfaction that few winery owners enjoy. By keeping his production small, he has allowed himself the luxury of a tiny staff, along with fewer problems and headaches. Mueller performs all the cellar and production duties by himself, with the exception of part-time workers during the crushing and bottling segments of his operation. Mueller’s wife Lori is also a full-time participant in the winery and handles all of the accounting, compliance work, and retail sales for the operation.
Mueller Winery is an excellent model for the wine industry and should be treated with the respect it definitely deserves.
Through this development, Robert Mueller has maintained an absolute dedication to price-value relationship and customer satisfaction. His pricing has not changed significantly since Mueller Winery was first introduced, another tribute to his planning and expertise. It is doubtful that many other of Robert Mueller’s competitors are able to say the same about their own wines’ pricing.
We are proud to present this exquisite Mueller 2011 “Tempi” Pinot Noir for your enjoyment. We know you will enjoy it to its fullest.
Robert Mueller - Co-Owner & Winemaker
Dear Platinum Series Members,
It all started 20 years ago. We had been in business a few years, sold out of wine each year and enjoyed having a lovely tasting room in Healdsburg, CA. That’s all good. On the other hand, we were only producing one wine, our “LB” Chardonnay (Late Bottled). Even though it was highly praised by the wine press and quite popular in the tasting room, it was only one wine. As a result, visits to the tasting room tended to be, well, brief. After an intense, high-level executive meeting with all top executives at Mueller Winery (that would be me and Lori, my wife and partner) that lasted well over 10 minutes, we arrived at the obvious decision; produce another variety of wine. Since our favorite red was Pinot Noir, it was the choice and the die was cast.
Now the horses. Actually one horse, “Sesostris” aka “Sol.” Our daughter, Emily, had a horse and he was large (17 hand Oldenburg Gelding!), yet nimble, agile and youthful. His focus was on dressage. Under Emily’s tutelage and as a team, they looked lithe and light as air, deftly competing in the intricate movements known as dressage. “Tempi” is the term used in the sport of dressage and refers to the quick timing changes and speed of the movement the team makes.
Our Pinot Noir “Tempi” is a high toned, very fruit forward style of Pinot Noir. A bit crisper and perhaps more “Burgundian” than our other offerings, it has the luscious raspberry and red cherry aromatics and flavors of Russian River Pinot Noir. I call the aromatics “intense and high frequency” – it is evident when poured and many inches above the glass rim. Bright red fruit, touch of vanilla and long finish complete the picture. On its own, paired with pasta pescatore, grilled salmon or pork tenderloin, it is a perfect match.