Workman Ayer

Central Coast AVA

Two great families to produce small lots of Rhone inspired wines


Founded in 2010, Workman/Ayer brings together two great families to produce small lots of Rhone inspired wines on California’s Central Coast. The Ayer family has deep roots in agriculture in Iowa and California, while the Workman family has a long and broad history in the northern California wine business. Together, they are crafting some exceptional wines and working to grow their presence within the Central Coast region.

Michel Ayer, the proprietor and winemaker behind Workman/Ayer, was first exposed to the wine business after graduating college. He held various positions at Robert Mondavi Winery, Swanson Vineyards, and Terra Valentine, and was fascinated by both viticulture and winemaking. He eventually went to law school in Iowa and then moved to Arizona to practice real estate law, but he never lost his love of wine. Michel’s wife, Stacy Workman, grew up among the vineyards of Napa Valley where her father Gary Workman spent over 30 years working for Robert Mondavi in every position imaginable. After graduating from UC Davis, Stacy returned to Napa Valley and met Michel Ayer while they were both working for Robert Mondavi. Stacy also spent many years working at Napa’s Far Niente Winery.

After several years of living in Phoenix, Arizona, Michel and Stacy (and their respective families) decided to launch Workman/Ayer and rekindle their love of wine. In 2010, they released their first two wines - a Viognier named ‘Ipso Facto’ and a Rhone style red blend (GSM) named ‘De Facto.’ The Latin phrases reference Michel’s career in law. Michel sources fruit from throughout the Central Coast region, including the ares of Ballard Canyon, Santa Ynez Valley, York Mountain, and Los Alamos Valley. The Central Coast’s warm, dry climate is the ideal setting for producing his Rhone style wines.

Today, Workman/Ayer releases just 200 cases of wine each year. Michel and Stacy still live in Arizona, but travel to the Central Coast throughout the year to manage their small family winery.

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