The SOMM Journal

June / July 2017

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Page 37 of 124

{ } 37 Westwood Wines' story is a perfect example of why any definition of terroir should encompass more than climate, soil and aspect. The oft quoted "great wines are made in the vineyard" is true, but the vineyard doesn't plant itself or put its fermented fruit in barrels. Westwood's Annadel Gap Vineyard, located at the northernmost tip of Sonoma County, checks all the scientific boxes of a superior viticultural site. Nonetheless, human effort, skill and heart is what elevates a site's innate potential to its highest artistic expression in a finished wine. At Westwood, that's what's happening right now. The team that first came together in 2014 is work - ing to lift the wines from the Annadel Gap Vineyard from good to great. As winemaker Ben Cane puts it, "Everything that we do—or don't do—in the vineyard is toward morphing what is already a good site into something exceptional." In late 2013, Westwood came to a crossroads. The project—initiated in 1998 when a group of wine-loving businessmen/friends purchased Annadel Gap—had stalled. So Carl Stanton, one of the founding partners, took a more active role as Managing Partner and began assembling an elite gang of wine professionals to help revitalize Westwood. Enlisting the assistance of legendary winemaker David Ramey was Stanton's first brilliant move. David's winemaking credits include Chalk Hill, Matanzas Creek, Rudd and Dominus Estates, and his own sought-after wines. Additionally, David's many years in the Northern California wine milieu makes him a gold mine for wine business connections. Exhibit A: David Ramey and Westwood Managing Director David Green first worked together 17 years ago at Lancaster Estate and have since collaborated on other projects. Exhibit B: Ben Cane, the hot young winemaker seven years at the helm of Silver Oak's Twomey, was ready for a new challenge when he ran into David Ramey. "David said, 'I may have an interesting new project for you,'" says the Aussie. Exhibit C: Ramey and Cane's connection indirectly led to young Natalie Winkler, now Cane's right-hand gal. Assistant Winemaker Natalie Winkler is shepherding the process for both biodynamic and organic certifications for Annadel Gap Vineyard. Westwood's consulting winemaker, David Ramey, is a legend in California wine.

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