A cutting-edge winery near the Santa Lucia Highlands
Located on the River Road Wine Trail in Northern Monterey County, the darlingly different Wrath Wines estate produces small lots of site-driven wines from their sustainably certified estate vineyard and other respected properties within the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA. This cutting edge winery was founded in 2007 by Dr. Michael Thomas and his mother Barbara Lemmon when they purchased the old San Saba Vineyards property. They set out to dramatically change the estate’s wine and viticulture program to produce terroir-inspired wines with attitude and passion. Now nine years later, their wines are topping critics’ lists and Wine Spectator has named the operation ‘A Winery to Watch.’
Michael Thomas found his way into the winery business in a most interesting way. After earning a PhD in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Texas, Michael spent time in Italy exploring the cultures of the Etruscans and Romans. Over the past (nearly) twenty years, he has lived on and off in Rome running archaeology excavations in Pompeii and Florence. Michael has also taught at several universities, including the University of Texas at Austin, where he currently directs the Center for the Study of Ancient Italy (CSAI).
While in Italy, Michael spent his free time discovering the hidden restaurants, markets and wine shops in the quaint hillside villages. He naturally came to appreciate the art of Italian wine, and combining this passion with his years of working with soil as an archaeologist, he decided that joining the wine business was an appropriate direction.
Michael saw many similarities between the rural and fertile Santa Lucia Highlands and the dramatic countryside of Italy, so when the opportunity arose to purchase the 72-acre San Saba estate, he jumped at the chance.
Michael worked closely with viticulturist Steve McIntyre to aggressively rejuvenate the old property by replanting large sections of the vineyard and implementing a SIP certified sustainable farming program. He also hired an all-star winemaking team, including Sabrine Rodems and Byron Kosuge, to craft the Wrath wines.
The name for Michael’s winery was inspired by both the ‘wrath’ of nature and the ‘wrath’ of the creative process that winemakers must have when crafting wine. The inaugural 2007 vintage was met with four 90+ scores, fast-tracking this new comer winery to become one of the hottest upper-echelon boutique producers in the region.
When away from the winery, Michael maintains an archaeology research position in Texas and escapes to Italy with his wife and children any chance he gets.
Sabrine Rodems - Winemaker
One of Monterey's most innovative young winemakers, Sabrine Rodems is the talented winemaker behind the Wrath Wines brand. Sabrine began working at San Saba Vineyards in June of 2004 and was promoted to winemaker in March of 2006. When the property was purchased and renamed Wrath Wines in 2007, she and Michael Thomas developed a more rigorous farming standard and new, experimental winemaking methods that have proven to be very successful. Sabrine is also a board member of the Monterey Vintners and Growers Association and a member of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture.
In addition to her winemaking role at Wrath Wines, Sabrine consults for Ventana Winery, makes wine for Kori Wines, and is the winemaker/owner of her own brand, Scratch Wines.
Sabrine was first exposed to the wine industry as a young child, when her parents would take the family on winery tours in the area. She grew up to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Theater, Film, and Television from UCLA and spent years working on set production before the lull of the wine industry truly set in. She went on to earn her Masters of Science in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis, and spent time researching with the faculty while completing an internship at Gloria Ferrer Winery. Today, Sabrine is an exceptional winemaker in her own right, and her award-winning wines speak for themselves. Sabrine is pleased to be sharing her wine with our Pinot Noir Series Wine Club members. Cheers from Sabrine.
About the Vineyard
Wrath's estate San Saba Vineyard is sheltered in a nook just below the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, roughly 25 miles southeast of the town of Monterey and overlooking the Salinas Valley. This cooler climate growing region is heavily influenced by the morning fog and afternoon winds from the nearby Pacific Ocean. The vineyard sees little rainfall and has one of the longest growing seasons in the world, promoting the production of ripe, concentrated wines with exceptional balance.
The San Saba Vineyard is planted to just under 68 acres of grapevines, including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, and Muscat. Dr. Michael Thomas also recently added the obscure Italian varietal Falanghina, which is one of the most ancient Italian varietals and is just one of the many ways Michael is exploring the Romans' wine legacy. The San Saba Vineyard is overseen by veteran wine grower Steve McIntyre.