Edna Valley AVA
Big Wines from a Small Vineyard, Windemere Winery has Arrived
Windemere Winery was founded in 1985 by Cathy MacGregor. The name Windemere comes from an old Scottish village destroyed hundreds of years ago by the British. It is back to this village that Cathy can trace her ancestors - the MacGregor clan. Windemere Winery is devoted to the production of small lots of premium Chardonnay wines grown on the well-known MacGregor Vineyard in Edna Valley, south west of San Luis Obispo, on the Central Coast of California. The vineyard is located on deep soil with a substantial amount of clay. The presence of limestone provides a good drainage system for the vines. This is the same vineyard that continues to produce the now legendary "MacGregor Vineyard" designated Chardonnays from such notable producers as Mount Eden Vineyards, Leeward, and Morgan.
Cathy's father, Andy MacGregor, bought the land in the early 70's after retiring from long stints at both Rocketdyne and General Electric. He spent his career as an aerospace engineer, designing jet and rocket engines on such projects as the Flying Wing and the B-1 Bomber. Most notably, he designed a jet propulsion pump used to fly the Mercury and Saturn rockets to the moon. In 1972, he left the corporate life behind to pursue an interest in grape growing and winemaking. He bought 11 acres in Edna Valley and proceeded to plant Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. During it's expansion over the years to the present size of 45 acres, it became apparent to MacGregor that tending to the vineyards was all that he desired to do. He would leave it to his daughter Cathy, to pursue the winemaking business.
Cathy's first vintages from her father's vineyard were produced at leased facilities of other wineries in Northern California. However, she now produces all of her wine in Edna Valley. She and her husband Larry Bryans are finishing plans to build a new wine making facility on the MacGregor Vineyard property. It is then that Windemere Winery will broaden their offerings to include Pinot Noir and Zinfindel, and double production to 2,400 cases a year. "Meanwhile, the 1000 cases of Chardonnay and 200 Cabernet Sauvignon, will satisfy my creative needs." says Cathy MacGregor.
The featured Cabernet Sauvignon wine is made entirely with grapes from the notable Cabernet growing area of Diamond Mountain, in Napa Valley. "I seek our the best grapes I can buy, from the ideal locations." says Cathy. "Only then can we begin to make wines we are proud of." she adds.
Windemere Wines is a classic example of a small, family owned winery operation dedicated to hands-on quality production. Andy MacGregor has always believed in selling his grapes to good winemakers. He can now add his daughter's name to that list. We hope you enjoy this rare taste of exclusive wines from Windemere. Gold Medal Wine Club is proud to have "discovered" these wines for our members.
Update: Cathy MacGregor retired in 2006 and handed the reins over to Nancy and Craig Stoller to continue creating future vintages of Windemere wines. Today, you can find the Windemere label through Sextant Wines located in California's Central Coast.
Map of the area
Cathy MacGregor - Owner & Winemaker
Cathy MacGregor grew up in Malibu, California. Her father, Andy MacGregor was quite literally, a rocket scientist, for Rocketdyne in nearby Los Angeles. Cathy’s inspiration to make wines began when her father retired to start a vineyard near San Luis Obispo, 250 miles north of Los Angeles. At about the same time her father moved to San Luis Obispo, Cathy left to attend college at the University of California at Davis. There she earned a Master’s Degree in Food Sciences.
Cathy temporarily pursued the big company route, working as a Sensory Analyst for such firms as Wrigley’s Gum and Hunt-Wesson Foods. As a Sensory Analyst she set up and conducted tasting panels which were conducted for use in product development and quality control.
Eager to set out on her own, Cathy went back to U.C. Davis to study Enology. Subsequently, she began working as an Enologist and Assistant Winemaker at La Crema Winery in Sonoma. After La Crema, Cathy continued to develop her winemaking skills at several other prominent wineries such as, Grgich Hills, Mill Creek and J.W. Morris/Black Mountain Vineyard.
In 1985, Cathy launched her own label, Windemere Wines. Her first crush resulted in 600 cases of Chardonnay which earned immediate praise from wine critics. In fact, every vintage from the outset has won critical acclaim from wine writers and wine competitions across the country. Cathy points to the 1989 Chardonnay as her best wine to date. With two Gold Medals at two major wine competitions, it’s no wonder that she is proud of this particular wine. The 1989 Cabernet Sauvignon too, has caught the attention of wine critics. In the only contest entered, the wine won a hard-to-get Gold Medal. And if these wines are any indication, be on the lookout for her Pinot Noir in 1993!