Get the Dirt about Boonville Road Wines from winemaker Ed Donovan

1 Apr

EdBoonvilleRoad1. What was your first vintage year? 2016

2. How many cases do you make per vintage? 2016-215 / 2017-358

3. Do you have a Tasting Room? NO, not yet but I’m working on it!

4. What wine made you want to become a winemaker/start your own winery? Was doing sales for other wineries and had a Redwood Valley rental with 130 vines in the backyard. Made a barrel from there in 2015 and got hooked to find a custom crush facility and start my own thing.

5. What varietals do you work with? Which varietal/wine is your favorite to make? My first two vintages are almost entirely Rhones. I made Syrah and Carignan in 2016, and Syrah, Carignan, Mourvedre, and Counoise in 2017. I’m restless though – in 2018 I was offered Cole Ranch Riesling and Cabernet in addition to my Rhones and I jumped on it!

BoonvilleVyd6. What vineyards do you source from? Why? Broken Leg Syrah from high above Anderson Valley is the Cote Rotie of our county. Casa Verde Carignan from Redwood Valley, planted in 1942 and dry farmed, is filled with rocks from the headwaters of the Russian River, yields a little over a ton per acre, and retains beautiful acidity even in the Redwood Valley sun. I call it our Carignan Grand Cru. These are the two vineyards I have sourced from in my first three vineyards.

I made Syrah, Mourvedre, and Counoise from Alder Springs in 2017. The Syrah is amazing but they ripped out the block right after I got the fruit! I made Grenache and Mourvedre from Alder Springs in 2018. Cole Ranch is its own AVA and is the only vineyard along the Boonville Road. I was offered Riesling and Cabernet in 2018, from vines planted in 1972, and I couldn’t resist!

7. What type of oak treatment do you use? Why? Neutral oak only. I just want the fruit to shine through.

8. What do you love about your winemaking region? What makes it different special? Mendocino County is huge, and spans cool, tough to ripen sites to sun-baked inland areas. I make wines to pair with food and want to produce a range of textures and profiles and Mendocino County makes that easy.

BoonvilleLabel9. What’s the story behind your winery name / label? Locals call Highway 253, which leaves Ukiah and ends in Boonville, “the Boonville Road”. It’s a stunningly beautiful 17 miles of curves and steep climbs. More importantly to my label, it’s the bridge between inland and coastal Mendocino County. I’m not Anderson Valley Pinot and I’m not Ukiah Valley Zinfandel. Boonville Road contains multitudes of the amazing terroirs from all over the County.

10. What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you about the wine business before you started your own winery? I think this would actually be a pretty long list, LOL. Costs add up quickly at our size in particular.

11. Most importantly, what’s so great about being small? What can you do as a small winemaker, that wouldn’t be possible for larger wineries? I’d add small and relatively new. I think of this time as an experimental phase, finding my style and the wines I want to make gradually.

12. How do you view the future in the wine industry for small-lot winemakers? If we’re talking about the consolidation of distributors and the sales landscape it’s incredibly tough. On the other hand, I make small lots of several things and there are so many amazing restaurants, shops, and drinkers out there. I’ve found that looking at each of my wines as a child that just needs a few homes has really helped me hone in and focus my sales efforts.

13. If you had to choose another wine region to work in what would it be? I’m intrigued by the old vine Rhones in El Dorado county and the people growing Mondeuse and Trousseau and Rhones up in the Sierras. You could move me to Savoie or Languedoc as well.

To learn more about Boonville Road Wines, please visit their website or follow them on FACEBOOK.

 

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