Vineyards is owned by the father and son team of John and Peter Wellington. John
purchased the winery site in 1986. At the time, it consisted of 20 acres of old
vines and a few decrepit old fruit and nut trees. Replanting of part of the old
vineyard and orchard started in 1988. The winery was completed in time for the
1989 crush. We grow approximately half the grapes we use and purchase the remainder,
primarily from small, unique vineyards. The winemakers are Peter Wellington and
Chris Loxton. Both Chris and Peter did post-graduate study in Enology at U.C.
Davis and have experience at other premium wineries.
The estate vineyards consist of 21 acres, 11 of which are 70 to 105 years old.
There are 24 different varieties in the old vineyard, with the most common being
Zinfandel, Carignan, Alicante Bouschet, Grenache and Syrah. In addition, there
are 10 acres of four to nine year old vines that consist of Merlot, Chardonnay,
Marsanne, and Roussanne. We grow more Merlot than anything else.
The Wellington’s own a 2 acre vineyard in the Mayacamas named Maple Glen Ranch.
Cabernet sauvignon, Cabernet franc and Merlot were planted starting in 1984. Purchased
grapes include mountain grown Cabernet sauvignon, Cabernet franc, Chardonnay,
Syrah and old vine Zinfandel. In the vineyard we practice sustainable agriculture.
We use a blend of organic and traditional farming practices that promote healthy
vines and a healthy environment. Our new, irrigated vineyard blocks have permanent
cover crops in order to help replenish the soil and to provide habitat for beneficial
insects and spiders. The 70 to 105 year old, dry-farmed blocks are still cultivated
(with a pre-W.W.II Allis-Chalmers model M crawler), in order to retain soil moisture.
Sulfur dust, used for millennia to control the powdery mildew, is the only thing
that we ever put on the vines; fortunately we never need insecticides.
Winemaking is custom tailored to each small lot of grapes (average lot size is
four tons). There are no standard practices other than utilization of the utmost
care in handling grapes and wine. All wines are aged in oak barrels, clarified
by racking and are bottled either unfiltered or with minimal filtration. Our oak
is currently 75% French, 25% American. Our new barrels are mostly French.
Our first vintage was 1989, when we made 1000 cases. Current production capacity
is 6 to 7000 cases per year. (Production levels: 1996-5400 cases, 1997-6500, 1998-6500).
The product mix is roughly as follows: Merlot-1200 cases, Cabernet sauvignon-1000,
Chardonnay-1000, Syrah-500, Port-500, Zinfandel and other old vine reds-2300.
Wellington Vineyards is not a glitzy showplace winery; we put our money and hard
work where it belongs - into wine production. Our goal is to produce great wines
at a fair price. An important aspect of this plan to offer great value is based
on direct sales. We sell close to 50% of our wine through the tasting room; availability
elsewhere is and will continue to be extremely limited.
Wellington Vineyards / 11600 Dunbar Road / Glen Ellen, CA 95442 / 1-800-816-WINE