For the first two years, we made our wine in a barn in the hamlet of Duncan’s Mills near the mouth of the Russian River. This was guerrilla wine making at its finest.
randy & erin
We made our first vintage of Spider Chase in 2010 when friends, Jesus Velasquez and Patricia Greer, offered to sell us a ton of grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec) from their 18-year-old vineyard northwest of the town of Cazadero on the Sonoma Coast. I had recently moved to California from Seattle where I had spent fifteen years in wine sales. Randy was looking at his 9th vintage in California, but had never made his own wine. We knew that Jesus and Patricia farmed responsibly (they do not use any chemical pesticides or herbicides in their vineyard and only irrigate in drought years) and were intrigued by the idea of Bordeaux varieties grown in an area considered “too cold” by much of the wine intelligentsia to grow anything but high priced Pinot Noir. So we tightened our belts, crossed our fingers and bought a ton of grapes.
For the first two years, we made our wine in a barn in the hamlet of Duncan’s Mills near the mouth of the Russian River. This was guerrilla wine making at its finest. With no hot water, a couple of borrowed bins, an ancient basket press and lots of cows giving unsolicited advice, we relied on intuition and taste to decide when fermentations were complete, how long to leave the wine in barrel and when to bottle it. We agreed from the start that we would let the wine ferment naturally and that the only addition we would make would be sulfur in small quantities as needed. We also agreed that we wanted to make a wine that was friendly, easy and expressed the laid-back attitude of Sonoma County. We named our wine Spider Chase after the friendly crowds of arachnids that scurry about in the springtime undergrowth of a healthy coastal vineyard.
In 2012, the opportunity to make Spider Chase in a bonded facility became available to us and while we were reticent to leave our little bootlegging project in Duncan’s Mills, we were also eager to buy more grapes from Jesus and Patricia and to begin taking the steps to start making and selling our wine legally. So we borrowed some money, tightened our belts another notch, bought some more fruit and began filing the necessary paperwork.
Fast-forward three years and our dream to have our own wine production company, Unturned Stone Productions, was finally realized in the Spring of 2015. You can now purchase and enjoy our wines in restaurants and bottle shops throughout the Bay Area and Sonoma County. Most importantly, we can now ship our wines all over the United States. We invite you to join our mailing list and /or contact us so that you can savor a glass with your next meal!
Erin Mitchell and Randy Czech
Unturned Stone Productions