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Gravel

Producer Gallery

Our Mission:

Since 1989, WineWise has been importing some of the finest estate-grown wines from France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal and Greece. Our specialty is small family firms that offer over-performing wines and exceptional value. Grower Champagnes and other sparkling wines are a particular area of emphasis for WineWise.

What we're drinking right now...

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France

White

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Joel Delaunay 2022 Sauvignon Blanc 'Le Grand Ballon'

France

Red

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Laurent Perrachon 2022 Fleurie Vieilles Vignes

France

Red

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Laurent Perrachon 2020 St. Amour "La Gagere"

France

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Joel Delaunay 2022 Touraine Sauvignon Blanc

France

Red

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Laurent Perrachon 2022 Moulin a Vent "Terres Roses"

Portugal

White

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Antonio Madeira 2022 Branco

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Wine Wise introduces Singer Baker Lane Estate Syrah and Viognier

For the first time in its 30 year history, WineWise has added a California estate to its portfolio. Stephen Singer will be known to many of you as a ground-breaking figure on the California wine scene. In the 1980's, he opened a wine shop in San Francisco called Singer & Foy, whose Saturday afternoon tastings were the stuff of legend. I (Hiram) personally attended probably too many of them, and was able to encounter wines from the likes of Jayer, Chave and Raveneau for the first time. Equally importantly, Stephen and I became friends. Stephen was also the long-time wine director at Berkeley's Chez Panisse, whose list was something of a Holy Grail. He opened a series of restaurants to great acclaim, among them César and Table 29, as well as pioneering the importation of top-flight artisinal olive oil from Tuscany. In 2002, Stephen decided to complete the circle of his vinous odyssey by doing the one thing he had not done - grow grapes and produce wine. His innate inclination to seek elegance over power drew him to the cooler confines of Sebastopol, where he found a promising, west-facing hillside site totalling all of six acres on Baker Lane, whose name gave rise to the estate's initial identity. The Syrah and Viognier grapes that he and his long-time viticulturist and wine-maker Greg Adams grew quickly developed a reputation for top quality and were eagerly snapped up by some of the best-known names among Sonoma wineries, such as Arnot-Roberts and Scribe. In 2019, however, Stephen decided that the way forward lay with making less, not more wine. So he prepared to wind down the Baker Lane brand, which encompassed an array of excellent wines including several bought varieties, and he re-launched in 2022 as Singer Baker Lane Estate. Today, Stephen makes tiny quantities of just two wines - a Syrah (270 6-packs) and a Viognier (90 6-packs) - from the choicest parcels of his undulating estate, while continuing to supply his long-time customers with grapes that are surplus to his needs. Being an artist by avocation, Stephen also designed the striking labels of his new wines himself. Oh, and let us not forget to mention that he also cultivates a large number of olive trees from which he squeezes exceptionally fine oil. It is therefore with great pleasure and pride that WineWise announces its representation in California of Singer Baker Lane Estate. It will be apparent that there is not very much to go around. But if you are an aficionado of great Rhône wines from Syrah and Viognier, these wines will speak to you. Please do not hesitate to ask your sales representative about them. We thank you for your attention to this long announcement and look forward to hearing from you.

Female Wine Producers

We're proud to support female winemakers. These wineries are female-led.

Dom. du Banneret

We resisted for a long time the temptation to import any wines from this iconic but often under-performing appellation. It is therefore with particular pleasure and some pride that we present to you the wines of a vigneron who is as rooted in his milieu as any we have ever encountered. Jean-Claude Vidal is the uncle of Jean-Marc Espinasse (see Rouge-Bleu above). An engineer by profession, he has lovingly tended his pocket-sized domaine since inheriting it thirty years ago. A fierce traditionalist, he makes a wine that will bring tears to the eyes of any nostalgists who believe that Châteauneuf’s best days are behind it. Making just 500 cases a year, he proves that it is possible against all odds to harness the benefits of today’s climate to the aesthetic standards of yesteryear. Now, his daughter Audrey has taken the reins and brought a wave of energy to the enterprise without in any way changing the time-honoured vineyard and cellar practices. So you can continue to expect rugged, full-throated wines made from all 13 authorised varieties, patiently aged in used barriques and built to last. These are the opposite of the smoothed-out fruit-bombs that mostly pass for Châteuneuf these days.

Diebolt-Vallois

We are inordinately proud to have been appointed the California importers for this celebrated Côte des Blancs producer. Because she is married to Jean-Paul Hébrart, we have known and liked Isabelle Diebolt for many years. Presiding over an 11 hectare estate raised to prominence by her father Jean since the 1970’s (though they trace their roots to Cuis in the 1500’s), she is an indefatigable perfectionist whose vivid wines have won acclaim in all quarters. The majority of their chardonnay vines lie in Cramant (Grand Cru) and Cuis (1er Cru), with additional holdings in Chouilly and Le Mesnil (Grands Crus) and the Côtes d’Épernay. Their small plantings of black grapes are from the Montagne de Reims and the Côte de Bar. The juice for all their Blanc de Blancs wines is exclusively cuvée. With the exception of the Fleur de Passion, (their tête de cuvee), the wines systematically go through malolactic fermentation. The result is a range that stylishly limns the capacity of chardonnay to offer tautness, fruit and minerality. Drawn from a relatively small geographical expanse, the wines expertly reflect both the bracing particularity of their origin in the north of the Côte des Blancs and the rounder qualities derived from the vineyards towards Épernay – the best of both worlds!

Dom. Labbé

The Savoie region, hard by Lake Geneva, can barely produce enough to meet the demands of winter sports enthusiasts and summer hikers, but we’ve been lucky enough to secure one of its top estates. Abymes, and its slightly better-known neighbor Apremont, produce light, aromatic, exquisitely balanced wines from the Jacquère grape. Cousins Alexandra and Jérôme Labbé keep yields low to extract maximum flavor from this delicate variety, while retaining freshness and sheer pleasure-giving gulpability.

Dom. Rouge-Bleu

Now firmly in the hands of French-Australian couple Caroline Jones and Thomas Bertrand (she makes the wine, he does the rest), this little domaine just east of Orange is now set fair on the course originally charted by Jean-Marc Espinasse. The newly-designed labels signal the new régime, but the founding principles of organic (mostly bio-dynamic) viticulture, honest wine-making and excellent value remain as they were. Thomas’ recent visit to California reignited interest in these rewarding wines and they go from strength to strength.

López de Heredia

This family-owned winery makes highly individual wines in a style essentially unchanged since its inception in 1877. They grow all their grapes using organic methods, ferment using only natural yeasts and do not filter their wines. They employ four full-time coopers to make their barrels. Gravonia, Tondonia, Bosconia and Cubillo are all individual vineyards which have been in the family for generations. Patience is a family watchword, as this bodega thinks nothing of waiting twenty years before releasing a wine. Their “Crianzas” are aged like others’ “Reservas” and “Gran Reservas”; the “Reservas” as long as others’ top “Gran Reservas”. And the ultimate accolade of “Gran Reserva” is accorded to only the very greatest vintages. Rarely are there more than three of these in a decade. These are uniquely traditional Riojas of massive, boundary-crossing repute. Both red and white are capable of staggering longevity. We are immensely proud to represent them. The only rub is that the estate’s uniqueness has now become universally recognised with a resultant run on stocks. Even with the producer’s necessity to raise prices,the prices remain entirely reasonable for uniquely great wines sold at peak maturity.

Fílipa Páto

There are few rules when it comes to building a portfolio, but one gold standard is that if you start with quality, you will attract more of the same. Fílipa is good friends with Alvaro Castro and Mário Sérgio (not to mention Heidi Schröck), Vasco Croft loves her wines, and you can guess the rest. This daughter of legendary Bairrada producer Luis Pato began by producing wines in the larger appellation of Beiras (and the Dão). She purchased a small winery in Bairrada, which she has now significantly expanded (by digging downwards!). Eventually, it is assumed, she will reunite with her father’s estate, but, in the meantime, she has carved a big international name for herself by dint of her strikingly expressive and honest wines, so reflective of her own character. Joined now by her husband, renowned Belgian sommelier Willem Wouters, they have enthusiastically embraced the rigours of bio-dynamism. They have been steadily buying up new parcels of land, all within 10 km. of the home-base, some planted to old vines, others being replanted with massal selections. The estate is up to 15 hectares now, with a final goal of 22. As you can see, they constantly sell out.

Weegmüller

Steffi Weegmüller took this ancient family property to the very pinnacle of Pfalz estates, as has been recognised at home in Germany but also now in the U.S.A., where David Schildknecht has paid tribute to the quality of her wines. Quite literally next door to the famed house of Müller-Catoir, and sharing many of the same fabled vineyards, she offered a series of pristine, almost chiselled wines that unite Pfalz spice and generosity with manic purity and length. The sisters Weegmüller (see above) kept some of their vines, specifically a parcel of 0.33 ha. bequeathed by their aunt in the Herrenletten, after selling the family estate. It includes notably their beloved Scheurebe and the vines that also gave rise to their popular “Drei Schwestern” Gemischter Satz. From these holdings, they now sell just these two wines, both rendered with Steffi’s signature panache and generosity. It was natural that we would want to continue working with these lovable ladies!

Dom. de Bel Air

This estate, which dates back to 1635, represented our first foray into the iconic appellation of Pouilly-Fumé and has proved a hit. With their three distinctive soil-types dispersed through their 15 hectares of vines, almost exclusively planted to Sauvignon Blanc, they make three single-soil wines in addition to the flagship Pouilly-Fumé. Impeccably run by the ladies of the family.

Alain Geoffroy

This impeccable producer of Kimmeridgean Chardonnay at reasonable prices has long been a mainstay of WineWise. Their estate extends to 55 hectares, all in the vicinity of Beines and points west. They also boast a fascinating museum of wine paraphernalia, including the largest collection of corkscrews that one can imagine. The founder Alain himself died in late 2020, but the estate is capably run by two women : his daughter Nathalie and long-time cellar master, Cyrille Mignotte. They suffered unbearable losses in the vineyards in three successive vintages, whether by frost, hail or oidium. As a result, supplies have had to be strictly allocated, and some wines have been completely unavailable, such as the Bourgogne Rouge. We hope for the best in 2022!

Léguillette-Romelot

The sleepy village of Charly on the very western frontier of Champagne, is home to a number of interesting producers, none more than this newly-discovered house. It was formed by the union of the two eponymous families in 1968, five years after they had joined together with other growers to form a co-operative in Charly. They remain members to this day, though the majority of their grapes are vinified in their own impressive facilities. Proprietors Laurent and Christine took over in 2000 and have always had a brisk trade on the domestic market, particularly with private customers. WineWise is actually their first American customer, and proud to be bringing their thoughtful range of diverse wines to the California market. The family, including the three children, are all keen amateur musicians – a fact reflected in the names of all their cuvées. The domaine covers 8.2 hectares of vines, which average 40 years of age, including a small plot around the house dedicated to three arcane varieties, called the Clos du Montdorin. The wines undergo systematic malolactic fermentation, and aging en tirage is longer than the average. We were impressed by the finesse and incisiveness across the board.. This is a house that exemplifies the strides being made by ambitious growers in the new era. We now have in stock a significantly increased assortment, so impressive are the current wines. They have divided their range into two lines : the “Classique”, made from the three Pinots, and “Cépages d’Autrefois”, which are based on or include the archaic varieties of Arbanne, Petit Meslier and Pinot Blanc. It should be noted that tragedy befell the family in the summer of 2018 when Laurent succumbed to illness at the unthinkable age of 45. Christine has taken over the reins and is showing great determination and optimism. This new assortment is testimony to her success.

Castell d'Age

This top-flight producer of dry, long-aged Cava is a superb discovery. With several geographically diverse parcels to work with, the resemblance to Champagne is suggestive. This is Cava with attitude from a woman-run estate that pioneered organic viticulture in Pénédès and is now certified by Demeter. After the recent triumphant visit to California of Olivia Junyent, we are happy to have several new wines from her to sell. Like Mestres, they use no giro-pallettes. Brother Josep is the impassioned director of viticulture and a fervent believer in bio-dynamism.

Valduero

Although Ribera del Duero is now well established in international markets, one forgets how comparatively new the DO is - the Valduero estate, established in 1984, was only the sixth in the appellation at the time! During the intervening 25 years, they have built up an impressive resume as a winery offering quality and value from grapes sourced from their 200 hectares of bush-trained, low yielding vineyards. The sisters Yolanda and Caroline García, daughters of founder Gregorio García Alvarez, run an impressive operation, that goes from strength to strength.

Paterianakis

Established in 1990, this was the first certified organic estate in Crete. With its 4000 year-old wine culture, this magnificent island offers no shortage of unique indigenous grape varieties, which are what we have chosen to feature here. The winery itself is intelligently constructed into a hillside, which offers natural insulation and the valuable possibility to move everything by gravity. Giorgios Paterianakis makes an impressive array of wines for a modestly sized estate. His oldest daughter Emanouella is impatient to take over, however, and is brimming with innovative ideas, including the adoption of biodynamic practices. A recent visit left us filled with excitement and optimism for the future of this outstanding estate.

Maria Hick

Maria and her husband Manfred run this pocket-sized (approximately 6 hectares) estate near Spitz, in the western part of the Wachau. Her family has links to the property that go back 300 years, when it was owned by St. Peter’s Stift in Salzburg. Her great-grandfather bought it from the church in 1931 after the financial crash obliged it to cash out. She has quietly been making wines of exemplary quality at moderate prices since taking over and has achieved increasing recognition in the Austrian wine press. The vineyard practices are solidly organic : composting, eschewal of herbicides and insecticides, feromonal pest-control, and leaving alternate vineyard rows unmown. Using minimal sulphur (below 5.5 gm) is another hallmark. The wines are sleek and pure, but also show flashes of Wachau grandeur without excess. The prices are truly exceptional.

Get in Touch

Mailing address:

5655 College Ave

Oakland, CA 94618

Order Desk: 510-473-5482

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