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Winemaking At Simi


 

Winemakers

World-Class Winemaking Team

 

Susan Lueker | Director of Winemaking
To me, a good wine has both balance and integrity.

Even after nearly two decades of crafting SIMI's iconic wines, Susan continues to be thrilled when her friends and family ask for another glass of SIMI.

A scientist at heart, Susan fell in love with winemaking after experiencing firsthand the congruence of grapes from vineyard to bottle during her undergraduate studies in viticulture at the University of California, Davis. During an enology class visit to the Dry Creek Valley, Susan tasted an older bottle of Zinfandel made from the very vineyard in which she had just been sampling grapes. Susan quickly honed her expertise at some of Sonoma's top wineries, including Hacienda Winery, Kendall-Jackson, and Dry Creek Vineyard, before joining the SIMI Winery team in 2000.

Decades after making dandelion wine on the family farm as a child, today she creates wines with harmony and a true sense of place. She still marvels at just how long quality wines can live beyond harvest, and takes any opportunity to taste old vintages of SIMI.
 

Lisa Evich | Winemaker
When crafting exceptional wines, the key is to keep the big picture and the details in focus all at once.

The one word that Lisa Evich would use to describe SIMI wines is "timeless." Through meticulous care and attention in both the vineyards and the winery, she works to maintain the timelessness of both SIMI and Sonoma County.

Hailing from Santa Rosa, Lisa fell in love with food and wine at an early age. While at Sonoma State University, her focus was on Environmental Studies and Planning. But there was something about the vineyards that called to her. It wasn't just the science of winemaking, but the art as well, the craft that could translate a place into a bottle.

Lisa began her career at SIMI, spending nine years with the winery before diversifying her experience with positions at Pine Ridge and Arrowood. SIMI welcomed her home as winemaker, where she collaborates with director of winemaking, Susan Lueker, creating world-class wines. And while Lisa would never require her friends and family to exclusively drink SIMI, there's no greater compliment than for someone to tell her that SIMI is their house wine.
 


Vineyards

Great wine begins in the vineyard, which is why SIMI made its home in the heart of the spectacular Sonoma County over 140 years ago. Our specialized and diverse Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley vineyards allow us to craft a remarkable range of wines, from powerful, nuanced Cabernet Sauvignons to cool, elegant Chardonnays.

Alexander Valley

Just north of Healdsburg lies one of Sonoma County’s finest winegrowing regions: the Alexander Valley. Known for its diverse soils and complex geology, the warm Alexander Valley is well suited to red Bordeaux varieties, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon. The area’s special pockets of gravelly soil bear remarkable similarity to those of Bordeaux, creating elegant wines with concentration and longevity.

Landslide Vineyard:
172 Acres

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Red Fan Vineyard:
72 Acres

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Los Amigos Vineyard:
96 Acres

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Del Rio Vineyard:
44 Acres

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Russian River Valley

Many natural forces occurred over hundreds of thousands of years to make the Russian River Valley the heralded wine region that it is today. Geologic plates have collided, rivers have shifted, and volcanoes have erupted, creating a unique and complex area that is one of the most complex in all of California. The Pacific Ocean’s cooling fog drifts into the vineyards, preserving lifted acidity while fully developing ripe fruit flavors in renowned varieties like our prized Chardonnay.

Goldfields Vineyard
105 Acres

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Great wine
begins in the vineyard.
Alexander Valley

Landslide Vineyard: 172 Acres

One of the most complex vineyards in Alexander Valley, Landslide is comprised of five distinct soil types that were created by a volcanic landslide from Mount St. Helena. The vineyard also has three different distinguishable sections and several microclimates. The highest part of the vineyard produces dense wines; the middle, powerful wines; and the lower, elegant wines. This leads to more complex blends. Fruit from this vineyard is used to make Landslide Cabernet Sauvignon and our Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, our Sonoma County Cabernet and our Sonoma County Merlot.

Red Fan Vineyard: 72 Acres

Red Fan Vineyard is named for the clay loam soils at the vineyard base that rapidly fan out to become shallow, red volcanic gravel on the upper bench. This grade of changing soils produces different flavor profiles within the vineyard and produces wine that express the best characteristics of Alexander Valley’s eastern benchlands—velvety texture and bright, luscious flavors. This vineyard contributes fruit to our Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Los Amigos Vineyard: 96 Acres

Home to Cabernet Sauvignon production for more than 30 years, Los Amigos vineyard produces wines that resonate with the classic characteristics of the Alexander Valley floor. The sandy loam soils are ideal for low-vigor vines. Our Cabernet vines share the vineyard with Merlot, another varietal ideal for the site.

Del Rio Vineyard: 44 Acres

Soils here are sandy loam, deep and fertile. Similar to Los Amigos, low vigor rootstocks and minimal irrigation keep yields low and concentrate flavors.

Russian River Valley

Goldfields Vineyard: 105 Acres

This meant-to-be Chardonnay vineyard makes up the heart of our Reserve Chardonnay and also contributes to our Sonoma County Chardonnay. We’ve planted it to a variety of Chardonnay root stocks, field selections and clones taken from some of the best and oldest vineyards in California. The vineyard’s Goldridge and Huichica series soils provide superb drainage. Goldfields’ location in a warmer region of the Russian River Valley allows grapes to ripen fully each vintage.


History


SIMI WINERY - CELEBRATING OUR 140 YEAR ANNIVERSARY


 

1849

Giuseppe Simi leaves the Tuscan hills to find his fortune in the gold fields of California.

1876

Giuseppe and brother Pietro produce their first wines under the Simi name.

1890

The first harvest in Simi's stone cellars at the present day winery on Healdsburg Avenue.

1904

SIMI's stone cellars are expanded. Tragically, later that year both Simi brothers die suddenly. Giuseppe's daughter Isabelle takes over management at the age of 18.

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1920

Prohibition begins. Isabelle sells all vineyard holdings to keep possession of cellared, anticipating a quick repeal of the Volstead Act.

1933

Prohibition is repealed in December. SIMI is immediately prepared to sell 500,000 cases of perfectly cellared wines to the thirsty public.

1934

Isabelle establishes SIMI's first retail outlet, a tasting room fashioned from a 25,000 gallon cask installed in front of the winery's stone cellars.

1970

Isabelle Simi retires, selling the winery to Alexander Valley grape grower, Russell Green.

1974

SIMI uses the Alexander Valley appellation on its labels for the first time.

1979

Zelma Long joins SIMI prepared to direct major renovation of the winery's fermentation and barrel rooms.

1984

SIMI acquires Landslide Vineyard in southern Alexander Valley to enhance and expand their Cabernet Sauvignon program.

1989

SIMI purchases 100 acres in the Russian River Valley and begins the development of Goldfields Vineyard, planting Chardonnay field selections and clones.

1990

SIMI celebrates 100 years of wine making in the stone cellars. A new hospitality center replaces Isabelle's cask tasting room.

2008

SIMI becomes green certified.

2011

SIMI builds an outdoor pizza oven for events and snacks for the tasting room.

2016

SIMI celebrates 140 years by bringing back Sparkling Wines to the tasting room.

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