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June 29, 2021: Varner

Jim and Bob Varner studied at U.C. Davis in the ‘70s. They eventually found their way to the Santa Cruz Mountains, first planting vines in 1980, and spent most of their working lives at their Spring Ridge Vineyards, falling in love with the land and viticulture potential. Thus began the legacy of the Varner brothers and their Burgundian-styled winemaking. They cultivated Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for 34 great years that was a labor of both love and satisfaction. At harvest, their crew of about 20 people meticulously sorted and picked just 2 acres of grapes per day. Bob worked in the rows, ensuring that sorting was done at the vine rather than at the winery. Any imperfect clusters were dropped the day before harvest and the small yellow boxes used by harvesters got an extra sorting to remove bad fruit. Once the grapes had been crushed, settled and pressed, there is one rule as Jim said – “No one touches a barrel”

 Goals diverged from that of Spring Ridge’s owner, Kirk Neely, so with the 2014 vintage, it was time to close that chapter of their lives. 

To that closing, when we uncovered a small, well-stored stash of the 2014 Varner Pinot Noirs we jumped on the opportunity.


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