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Ryan Cochrane Wines

Santa Barbara County region


Ryan Cochrane's legacy continues with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Santa Barbara's Central Coast

With grapes sourced from the best vineyards they can get their hands on, Ryan Cochrane Wines produces extremely limited quantities of vineyard-designated Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Santa Barbara County on California's Central Coast. Although he was relatively new to the wine business when he launched the brand in 2010, Ryan Cochrane quickly established himself as an award-winning winemaker with a loyal following of his Burgundian-style wines. It is with terrible sadness to report that Ryan Cochrane passed away in early 2019, but his mother, Catherine Cochrane, and winemaker Ed Kurtzman are continuing the Ryan Cochrane Wines brand to honor his legacy and celebrate what he started.

Raised in Saratoga, California, Ryan Cochrane earned his degree in marketing from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, and then moved to San Francisco where he launched a successful career in marketing and advertising. Over the years, Ryan worked as an art director, a freelance copywriter, and a creative director for a number of marketing communications companies.

However, Ryan had always dreamed about making wine, and it was one foggy morning in July 2009 that he decided to stop dreaming about it and actually do it. The advertising agency he was working at had just imploded and he had started freelancing, but it was a bad time for work in San Francisco. Ryan decided that now was the perfect time to experiment with winemaking. He contacted Roger Nichols at RN Estate in Paso Robles and asked to be an intern. Ryan was impressed, not only with Roger Nichols' beautiful wines, but with his 'DEY' (do everything yourself) approach to his business. That year, Ryan helped in all phases of RN Estate's harvest, from vineyard work in the spring to pressing and barreling in the fall.

In 2010, Ryan came back to RN Estate and made one barrel of his inaugural Ryan Cochrane Pinot Noir on the side. The following year, he made three barrels and was promoted to Roger's assistant winemaker. He made two different Pinot Noirs in 2012 and introduced his first Chardonnay in 2013. All of the fruit was sourced from among the best vineyards in Santa Barbara County, including Fiddlestix Vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills and Solomon Hills Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley.

Ryan also designed the wines' labels himself, incorporating artwork from the Ryan family coat of arms (Ryan was his first name and mother's maiden name) with the three griffins, and the family motto from the Cochrane side, Virtute et Labore (With strength and effort). The griffins symbolize vigilance and bravery, while the Latin translation of the motto, Virtute et Labore, perfectly describe Ryan as a winemaker.

Pinot Noir was always Ryan's favorite varietal because, in his words, "it's food friendly, extremely versatile, and it seems to express the terroir from which it's grown better than any other varietal. For me, it's just so nuanced, complex, delicate yet substantial, feminine, and beautiful." We couldn't agree more!

We are happy to present this beautiful Ryan Cochrane Chardonnay to our Garagiste Wine Club members and hope you enjoy it to its fullest. We also look forward to what Ryan Cochrane Wines’ future holds and salute Catherine Cochrane and winemaker Ed Kurtzman for continuing Ryan’s legacy. Cheers!

Ryan Cochrane - Winemaker

Picture of Ryan Cochrane - Winemaker

Ryan Cochrane is the owner and winemaker for his namesake operation in Santa Barbara County. His focus has always been on Pinot Noir (his favorite varietal) because, in his words, “it’s food friendly, extremely versatile, and seems to express the terroir from which it’s grown better than any other varietal. For me, it’s just so nuanced, complex, delicate yet substantial, feminine, and beautiful.”

We couldn’t agree more! Ryan loves making Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara County and bringing out the characteristic brightness and liveliness the region’s fruit is known for.