Get the Dirt about Tessier Winery from winemaker Kristie Tacey

14 Apr

tessierKristie1. What was your first vintage year? 2009

2. How many cases do you make per vintage?
2009, 2010, 2011- 200 cases; 2012 – 350 cases; 2013 – 375 cases; 2014 – 400 cases; 2015 – 600 cases

3. Do you have a Tasting Room? If Yes/Hours? If NO, can people make an appt? Via email/Phone?
No tasting room. Appointment by email/phone is OK.

4. How did you get your start in the winemaking business?
I started my career as a research scientist. I put in 10 years and worked on some cool projects: protein pathways at the University of Michigan, sequencing the Human Genome on the government project and case/control studies focused on Central Nervous System diseases. Then in 2006, I leapt into the wine world taking a job at a small urban winery in Oakland. I was the Operations Manager/Assistant Winemaker and felt that I had found my calling. This winery was later sold and that was when I decided to start my own label.

5. What wine made you want to become a winemaker/start your own winery?
Rochioli Pinot Noir, Gevery-Chambertin Burgundy

6. What varietals do you work with? Which varietal/wine is your favorite to make? Why?
Pinot Noir is my favorite varietal. It is so versatile to pair with food and I appreciate its subtle nuances . When I visited the Southern Rhone I was inspired by Viognier and Grenache, so I added these varietals to my lineup. Currently, I am planning to add another Rhone to my portfolio, as well as a Cabernet Franc.

tessiergrapes7. What vineyards do you source from? 

Saveria Vineyard in Corralitos area of Santa Cruz Mountains. Love the Pinot Noir profile from this area: pomegranate, hibiscus with dried herbs. Tends to have more tannins and acid for increased agebility.

Morelli Lane Vineyard in Green Valley of Russian River Valley. Love the Pinot Noir profile from this area: plum, mulberry, floral notes of lilac and violets, earth, mushrooms.

Fenaughty Vineyard of El Dorado. Higher altitude, mineral driven soil, hotter climate than the Pinot vineyards to give aromas of red licorice, black raspberry, blueberry, vanilla creme and dried garrigue.

8. What type of oak treatment do you use? Why?
Pinot Noir- 20-30% new French oak. The new oak gives structure to the wines along with a lovely, long finish.
Grenache, Cab Franc – Neutral French oak. I want to just highlight the fruit of these wines.

9. What do you love about your winemaking region? What makes it different special?
As a micro-winery I have the freedom to buy fruit from growers all over, that I respect and believe in. All of the growers I work with use sustainable practices, which is an all around encompassing approach to treating your workers well along with the environment and the community.

tessierlabel10. What’s the story behind your name/label?
Tessier is the original French version on my last name, Tacey. Our family hails from the Loire region of France way back when. Also the label is in a round shape, giving the feeling as if you are looking through a microscope. The abstract image that you see are yeast cells, since they are the workhorse of fermentation. On the back of the label we use the slogan ‘Science as Art’ as a tribute to my previous career as a research scientist.

11. What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you about the wine business before you started your own winery?
I have heard all the sayings from working at a small winery before so I knew pretty well what I was getting into. :-)

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?
I can take the time and focus on what matters, and that is quality. We hand sort, do difference percentages of whole cluster and foot stomp. We can make decisions for each wine to let it express the best it has to offer of the place where it comes.

13. How do you view the future in the wine industry for small-lot winemakers?
Folks are resurrecting some rare varietals and thus educating the general public on some of their favorite unique varietals.

14. Have you noticed any changes in the market for small-production wineries?
It seems that there are more of them now and the public is excited about this small-production approach.

15. Any other thoughts on the wine business in general?
It is such a passion driven business, especially for small wineries. I love being a part of it!

To get more information about Tessier Winery, please visit their website or follow them on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.

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