Napa Valley AVA
Wines with exquisite style, high praise and stellar ratings
Brothers, best friends, and business partners, Chris and Greg Stanton are two small-town guys that fell in love with the wine industry at an early age. They grew up in Napa Valley, and couldn’t help but be inspired by the region’s fruitful opportunities. Chris, perhaps the bigger oenophile of the two, found his way into the industry when he was just 14 years old. He helped pick grapes for extra money and assisted at the bottling line throughout his high school years before landing a prominent position at St. Clement Vineyard. Here, Chris worked his way into the positions of assistant winemaker and vineyard manager and fell in love with the art of winemaking – it’s been his passion ever since! Chris’s winemaking career also included successful tenures at Glen Ellen’s Mayo Family Winery and Santa Barbara’s Koehler Winery, before he teamed up with his brother Greg in 2008 to start Sobriquet Winery.
Sobriquet Winery (pronounced soh-bruh-kay) is different from many winery businesses in that it doesn’t call one appellation home. Rather, the Stanton brothers source grapes from several different appellations in California and seek out those special vineyard sites that have the terroir and climate to express intense varietal character and purity. With numerous 93, 92, 91 and 90 point ratings since their inception, it seems they are doing something right. While Chris Stanton handles the winemaking operations, Greg heads up the sales side of the business, and his wife Christina oversees the bookkeeping duties and local sales. Together, they produce just four Sobriquet wines – Pinot Noir, Syrah, Grenache and Chardonnay – each in an exquisite style, with high praise and stellar ratings.
The name Sobriquet, by the way, is the French word for ‘nickname,’ and also another word for ‘regions.’ Since the winery represents multiple regions, it seemed like just the right fit.
About the Vineyard
Sobriquet’s 2010 Pinot Noir comes from Santa Maria Valley’s Sierra Madre Vineyard where numerous award-winning Pinot Noirs have called home over the past 30 years. Originally planted in 1971 by Santa Barbara Ken Brown, the Sierra Madre Vineyard is home to 175 acres of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc. Because of Pinot Noir’s extreme clone sensitivity, Brown was meticulous in planting a wide range of desirable rootstocks and clones to create a winemaker’s dream selection of combinations. This allows wineries such as Sobriquet the opportunity to work with various Pinot Noir clone combinations to create a finished wine that is completely their own in style.
The Santa Maria Valley is an exceptionally cool growing region due to its direct influence from the nearby Pacific Ocean (just 15 miles away). It also benefits from being one of California’s rare west-east valleys, allowing for ample flow of fog and cool breezes to be funneled in straight off the ocean. This encourages grapes to slowly ripen over a long growing season which helps the development of structure and flavor intensity.
Chris Stanton - Winemaker
A Napa Valley native and wine enthusiast since his youth, Chris Stanton worked his way up the winemaking ladder with stints at St. Clement (north of St. Helena), Guenoc in Lake County, Mayo Family Winery in Glen Ellen (Sonoma Valley), and Koehler Winery in Los Olivos (Santa Barbara County). He is also currently the winemaker at Blackjack Ranch Vineyards in Solvang. He holds over 30 years of winemaking experience in California and his wines have drawn huge praise and ratings from competitions all over the country.
At Sobriquet Winery, Stanton showcases his artisan winemaking style through a collection of luxury-premium wines he's produced from some of the top appellations in California. His wines are show intense varietal character and purity, and since the beginning, they've been produced in a passionate style that favors art over science, palate and instinct over chemistry, and hand-craftsmanship over mass production. He's one of the top winemakers on the Central Coast today.