A Study in Cerise

A photo essay by Lindsey Ross

1/16

Farming in Anderson Valley began in the 1850’s and the first grapevines followed soon after. Our story here is a new one. Having admired Cerise vineyard for many years we were fortunate to own and farm the vineyard, starting in 2016. It is a special and incredibly beautiful property but remote and hard to share in person. One of the ways we’ve chosen to tell the story of Cerise is through other creative lenses: quite literally in this case through the mammoth plate photography of Lindsey Ross. Lindsey spent a week at the property during harvest 2016 and these are her impressions of the vineyard.

A Study In Cerise
3/16

Arrival at Cerise. Oaks dominate the hillsides between vineyard blocks. The clean air creates a silvery fairy moss that hangs from tree branches and will turn an otherworldly bright green in winter. Manzanita and amorphous boulders fill dells and gullies or dot the long, golden, grass-covered slopes. There is a real sense of the wild here.

A Study In Cerise
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There are woodsy corridors that attracted the most beautiful light and caught my attention frequently. I dubbed them Narnia on account of their almost magical property. I heard mysterious noises coming from these places but never saw more than moving foliage and rustling grass. The quiet of Cerise makes one’s senses extra keen when it comes to unidentified sound and movement.

A Study In Cerise
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There are no animals in these landscapes, at least few you can see. The process is lengthy and not suited to capturing movement so the creatures that abound at Cerise and rule this fantastic landscape are best imagined by the viewer.

A Study In Cerise
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What kinds of creatures live here? Bobcat, coyote and mountain lion all left their mark. Deer, rattlesnakes, wild turkeys, owls and other birds of prey were observed almost daily, often when the sun was going down around the numerous springs throughout the vineyard.

A Study In Cerise
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A favorite moment was a morning encounter with a mother wild pig and her litter of 15 piglets. They crossed the road in front of me but the runt lagged behind, then stood in front of my truck, snorting and protesting. Precocious and aggressive beyond his size.

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The physical nature of this work meant that it took almost a day to create each one of these plates. Measuring 20 by 24 inches and with the image resting on fragile glass, it often took many attempts to capture the right light and moment. Positioning the immense camera along bumpy roads and steep hillsides was challenging yet allowed me to actually step into the web of the property.

A Study In Cerise
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I came here expecting to be an observer. Armed with the medium of wet plate collodion photography – a process which in the 19th century set itself apart from other artistic mediums by way of its veracity and inherent ties to the physical world – I believed that I could observe my subject matter objectively. However, the slow pace of the medium and that of the vineyard formed a bond. It would sync with me and I with it.

A Study In Cerise

Lindsey Ross works with a mammoth plate camera. This almost civil war era camera is cumbersome - weighing 200 lbs and 5’4” in length – and requires its own darkroom to be constructed on site. This is no mean feat. Images are created directly onto 20”x24” glass plates requiring arcane knowledge of by-gone photography. Find her at lindseyrossphoto.com.




We expect to release our first wines from Cerise Vineyard with the 2016 vintage.
Available to members of our mailing list.




Stories

We’ve been making wine for almost 20 years although it still often feels like it all just began yesterday. Sometimes it is worth taking a moment to pause and think about where we’ve come from and how we got to here. These stories, told by us and others we’ve met along the road, make us smile – ever grateful for the journey.

2009 - PRESENT

Onward

California Pinot Noir endures in the fine wine world and we are delighted to be a continued part of that conversation. As we mature as a winery we grow in different ways. We construct a custom winery tailored to how we make wine. We work with new financial partners who share our vision for quality. We invest in our first vineyard and begin to grow our own fruit. We are awarded the coveted ‘wine of the year’ – the only Pinot Noir to do so to date. Our focus, however, remains the same as before: making the best Pinot Noir we can.

A Study in Cerise

Our Estate in Anderson Valley
A photo essay by Lindsey Ross

The Crew

By KB Winemaking
Photography by Troyce Hoffman

The Rite of Interns

By KB Winemaking
Photography by Troyce Hoffman

2005-2009

PEOPLE ARE WATCHING

After almost nine vintages under our belt something curious started to happen. Interest in what we were doing grew and we began to gain recognition for our winemaking style. Our long awaited ‘overnight success’ struck and the challenge become less one of ‘staying alive’ to one of trying to keep up with the attention and demands while continuing our commitment to quality. We were also finally able to share our success with the original investors who generously backed our vision.

Nothin' Like a Dame

A conversation with Fred Dame (Master Sommellier)
By Matt Villano

1997-2005

ROCKY BEGINNINGS

When we started, we had little more than a shared love of Pinot Noir and the desire to go and make some of our own. We took all that energy and committed ourselves to try our luck. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t always even fun. These formative years tested our resolve and patience beyond compare but laid the quality foundation for what was to come.

The Tip Envelope

By KB
Illustrations by Beth Whybrow Leeds

Press

We’ve been fortunate to have nice things said about our wines and what we do. Here are some highlights.

2009-Present

Wine Spectator, May 2010 "Fans of Kosta Browne won't be disappointed by the 2008's. This is another very strong vintage for this Sonoma County winery, with 11 outstanding wines that show the level of quality possible..."

Wine Spectator, December 2011 "#1 Wine of the Year..."

Vineyard & Winery Management, March 2012 "The Sonoma County producers long road to overnight success..."

Wine & Vines, September 2013 "Kosta Browne is ready to crush the 2013 vintage in new, custom built winery.

Vinous, July 2014 "Kosta Browne has done a marvelous job with their four 2012 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinots. These wines show why Kosta Browne is among the top Pinot Producers in California."

Wine Advocate, October 2015 "Looking at the 2013's, this was obviously a great vintage for this estate and all the wines showed sensational purity and freshness paired with layered, nicely concentrated and textured profiles. I'd say it's the finest lineup I've tasted from this estate..."

Wine Advocate, September 2016 "This was another rock star lineup from Kosta Browne and it’s certainly one of the most impressive lineups I tasted all year. And while I generally consider 2013 to be a better vintage than 2014, these 2014s are a step up over last year’s releases, which were no slouches either."

2005-2009

Wine Spectator, December 2005 "#11 Wine of the Year..."

Wine Spectator, May 2006 "I'm also starting to believe, thanks to them and many others...that we have entered a new era for California Pinot Noir..."

Wine Spectator, December 2006 "#7 Wine of the Year..."

Wine Spectator, April 2007 "What Dan Kosta and Michael Browne have accomplished in 2005 is every bit as staggering as their watershed 2004 vintage.."

Wine Spectator, December 2009 "#4 Wine of the Year..."

1997-2005

Pinot Report, October 2003 "This Pinot really shows off the quality what the Cohn Vineyard can do in the right winemaking hands..."

Wine Spectator, September 2004 "Partners Dan Kosta and Michael Browne followed their taste buds into winemaking, parlaying their experience as sommeliers into a boutique Pinot winery in Sonoma..."