Named after the trolley line that once ferried riders across Los Angeles, Red Car winery was founded in 2000 by wine-loving Angelinos Carroll Kemp, Richard Crowell and the late great Mark Estrin. Today, the business is led by Richard and his wife Alison and produces pinot noir, chardonnay and syrah on the region’s extreme coastal edge.
In 2004, the founders acquired 125 acres of land and began developing vineyards in the wild coastal ridges north of Bodega Bay, a subregion now known as the Fort Ross-Seaview AVA. Here, they discovered the secret that allowed them to produce the kind of nuanced, structured and age-worthy wines that got them into the business in the first place.
Together with viticulturalist Greg Adams, winemaker Tanner Scheer follows a minimal intervention approach to produce wines that are concentrated and highly perfumed. The winery uses a majority of its own fruit, picked from a range of sites and following organic and permaculture principles.
The Zephyr Farms vineyard is located in one of the county’s coolest pockets within Sonoma Coast’s Freestone-Occidental subregion. It’s subjected to a mix of maritime and sylvan influences, the latter lending lovely wood and spice characters.
If you’re passing through Sebastopol, the Red Car tasting room is a must-visit (don’t miss the pinot noir rosé).