Get the Dirt About March Wines

20 Jun

MarchPeople1. What was your first vintage year? 2016, so we are pouring our first vintage.

2. How many cases do you make per vintage? Our first year we made 80 cases Riesling and 70 cases Rose.

3. Who is your winemaker? Our label is a collaboration between winemakers, Maura Christoffers and Charley Johnson.

4. How did you get your start in the winemaking business? We both got into the business to learn the wine industry and then do a form of sales within the industry. I (Maura) was going to go into wine distribution and Charley was going to go into his family business, selling agricultural cleaning equipment. We both entered the Viticulture and Enology major, myself at UC Davis and Charley at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and absolutely loved the process of making wine. We never looked back!

5. What wine made you want to become a winemaker/start your own winery? Maura — Riesling!!!! Charley – Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

6. What varietals do you work with? Which varietal/wine is your favorite to make? Why?

Maura — In our day jobs, we are both Assistant Winemakers in Napa and we work with a lot of heavy Bordeaux varietals, Chardonnay, and Pinot. For March we are working with saignee of Pinot noir and Riesling and have hopes to get a red into the mix within the next few years. My favorite varietal to make would have to be Riesling. It is such a winemaker’s grape where you can really have your influence be reflected in the wines. The slightest change to temperature can effect aromatics, or controlling the ferment when you want to control the sugar/acid balance. It is fun, but really stressful towards the end!

Charley – I really like making aromatic whites, especially Riesling. Aromatic whites, every winemaking choice has almost an immediate effect with the overall perception of the wine. I also love how Riesling can be made so many different ways that are all viable choices.

MarchVineyard7. What vineyards do you source from? Why? The Riesling is sourced from Redwing Vineyard on the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains along Hecker Pass. It is a 2-acre vineyard planted in 1971 with a really fun story. It was planted during the Riesling boom in California and maintained until about the 90’s when a family of two teachers and 5 girls moved into the property. The family clearly had their hands full and neglected the vineyard for about 10 years. It grew into a giant tumble weed of vines and growth until 2000 when David Boll moved in. He got a viticulturist in, cut the growth down, and retrained the vines. It’s been 17 years since then and the vineyard looks great! It is farmed organically, currently has a fresh layer of compost, and produces extremely balanced juice.

The Rose is a saignee from two very famous vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Come and talk to us about them.

8. What type of oak treatment do you use? None, we wanted to make clean, crisp wines.

9. What do you love about your winemaking region? What makes it different special? We love how beautiful it is! The Santa Cruz Mountains are absolutely beautiful, and although it is quite a drive for us, it is always a treat. Central Coast in general is starting to get some more stamina and some really beautiful wines are coming out of the area.

10. What’s the story behind your name/label? It is actually really simple… Maura + Charley = March. If you look at the logo the dot on the “i” acts as a period in between the Mar and ch.

MarchLabel11. What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you about the wine business before you started your own winery? Coming from a production perspective, I wish we had known how hard it is to get your name out and sell. We each have full time jobs, so finding time to approach restaurants is a little difficult, but that is why this Garagiste Festival is so great!

Also, finding a crew to pick your grapes! We ended up picking our Riesling and hauling it across the bay area. It was a long day.

12. 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? When you are so small you see so much support from all your friends and family. It truly has been shocking to see all the people coming out to help! From a production point of view I love the freedom I have to do whatever I want. That could just be because I am my own boss though. Next year I want to do some wild ferments in neutral oak to see what it does to the texture.

13. How do you view the future in the wine industry for small-lot winemakers? There is definitely a demand in the market from small producers doing really cool things. Everyday there is an article in the news about a new winery in Napa getting bought up by a corporation. The stories of these wineries are getting lost and I think the younger generations getting into the wine markets are interested in those stories.

14. If you had to choose another wine region to work in what would it be?

Maura – Mosel. The exact vineyards where Clemensbusch gets their grapes would be great.

Charley – Anderson Valley. A ton of great wine out there in a beautiful setting with a laid back environment.

To learn more about March wines, please visit their website or follow them on FACEBOOK.

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