RUSSIAN RIVER, CALIFORNIA
The Emeritus story began with a remarkable piece of land in the Russian River Valley named Hallberg Ranch. In the mid-1990s, Brice Cutrer Jones and his longtime vineyard manager, Kirk Lokka, became transfixed by the idea of growing Pinot Noir on the site. “With its perfect soil and ideal climate,” says Brice, “we recognized that Hallberg had all of the qualities necessary for a grand cru-caliber vineyard.”
Hallberg Ranch came up for sale in 1999—the same week that Brice sold Sonoma–Cutrer Vineyards, the iconic winery that he had spent a quarter century building into one of California’s most revered Chardonnay producers. “I wanted to take everything I’d learned about growing grapes, and apply it to making the finest Pinot Noirs in California.”
In the years that followed, the Emeritus team planted Hallberg Ranch, crafted their debut 2004 vintage of Pinot Noir, and acquired a second estate property—Pinot Hill. They also committed Emeritus to a unique path that would cement the winery’s reputation for making terroir-driven wines when they began dry farming their vineyards—a unique approach that allows the grapes to achieve ideal ripeness at lower sugar levels. A true family-run winery, the winery is now run by Brice’s daughter Mari. Renowned Winemaker David Lattin joined the team in 2017, crafting wines of incomparable elegance and complexity.
“Every Pinot Noir that we make comes from vines we planted and grapes we grow ourselves” says Mari. “Each person here is among the best at what they do, and many bring a lifetime of experience to their role. The fact that we love what we do, and we love working together, is part of the essence of our wines.”
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