Santa Ynez Valley AVA
"It's all about our objective of representing the total wine experience for our guests"
More than a decade ago, Martin Gauthier was running a successful electrical energy business in Montreal that involved selling energy throughout Canada’s widespread provinces. At one point, he became interested in wines and began collecting bottles of his favorite French Burgundies and top Rhône varietals.
Nearly five years passed and Gauthier and his wife Isabelle moved to Northern California where his wine passion continued to grow.
“We began looking for a property that was well suited to growing great Rhône fruit, since the wines of the Rhône Valley were my choice to drink,” he recently recalled. “We looked all over and eventually came upon Rideau Vineyard that proved almost perfect for what we wanted to accomplish.”
Rideau Vineyard was the handiwork of Iris Rideau, a New Orleans native that had conceived the vineyard nearly thirty years ago. In addition to being the first African American woman to own a winery in California, Iris Rideau was approaching her eightieth birthday. In 2016, she agreed to allow the Gauthiers to purchase the 23-acre property located in the Central Coast’s Santa Ynez Valley’s Los Olivos District AVA growing area.
“Rideau Vineyard was a perfect fit for us,” Martin Gautier recounted. “The microclimate is absolutely perfect for Rhône varietals. We have planted additional Rhône varietals and now have fifteen acres under vine. All of our estate wines are grown on our property.”
The Rideau Estate is more than just a growing site, in fact, a great deal more. An historical adobe, El Alamo Pintado Adobe, was built in 1884 and is incorporated into the Rideau Vineyard complex that is a well-established destination for many Southern California weekend travelers.
“The original rose garden and its environs are absolutely charming,” remarked Gauthier. “It’s all about our objective of representing the total wine experience for our guests. It’s also about our long term goals of creating world-class Rhône varietals that rival our French cousins. They are considered among the world’s finest wines and we want our wines to be considered their equals.”
To that end, Sonoma-born winemaker Adrienne St. John became the Rideau Vineyard expert in winemaking. She is a fourth-generation winemaker of the iconic Pedroncelli Family that has made wine for almost a century in Sonoma’s hallowed grounds.
“It was my interest in Rhône varietals and the direction Rideau Vineyard was heading that caused me to join the Rideau winemaking team,” St. John offered. “Anyone who wants to produce topflight Rhône varietals gets my attention. Since joining Rideau, I feel we have never looked back.”
At this point, the winery produces between 7,000 and 8,000 cases each year, but it is the intention of Martin Gauthier to increase the production until it reaches the 10,000-case mark. “At that level, it is still possible for us to control the quality of our wines. If we get any larger, the volume represents a bit of an obstacle,” he added.
The Rideau Vineyard label is a story unto itself. According to Isabelle Gauthier, who oversaw the new labeling process, “The rose is the symbol of our place in history and our ongoing connection to the historical aspect of the adobe. Since we want everyone who visits to experience this relationship on a personal basis, the rose is the symbol we chose. We also decided to change the pattern on the label for each wine we produce. From the great reaction we have received from our customers, I feel our label has been quite successful.”
Rideau Vineyard buys a certain amount of fruit to augment its non-Rhône wines. The contracts are all with local growers whose fruit the winery feels meets their exacting standards. “We visit our growers and see how they develop their grapes. Most of our growers are on long-term contracts that provide us with extremely high-quality fruit that goes into our wines. The success we have enjoyed with our portfolio speaks for itself.”
It is refreshing to see a relatively new venture (even though the winery has been in existence since 1996) make a mark so quickly in the ultra-competitive world of high-end wines.
Martin and Isabelle Gauthier seem well suited to making Rideau Vineyard a real force to be reckoned with in the future. The fact that the place is a destination spot for many travelers is a boon for the company and the exposure it receives makes it a successful long-term project.
It is our great pleasure to introduce the magnificent red blend of Château Duplantier by Rideau Vineyard to our Platinum Wine Club members. It is a wine you won’t soon forget.
Map of the area
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
I hope this wine finds you well!
We are happy to share one of our favorite and most iconic wines, handcrafted at Rideau Vineyard as our signature Red Blend for almost 20 vintages now. For those of you who don’t know us, we are a boutique winery based in the Santa Ynez Valley, producing small-lot wine from our organically-farmed estate and a select group of local vineyards.
This wine is very special to us. It’s a spin on a traditional GSM blend, with an extra layer of depth and complexity introduced by adding a fourth grape: Petite Sirah. We find that richer structure and blueberry fruit tones provided by the Petite are gorgeous accents to the other varietals.
As an almost fully direct-to-consumer winery, we only partner with the most exclusive wine clubs, and are very happy to be part of yours. We wish you a great tasting - cheers!
Martin Gauthier, Owner