Autumnal Leaves and Winesong as Harvest 2017 Nears by Jennifer

Our house is finally cooling down to the 70s after several weeks of hot September weather in San Francisco. It has been much the same up in Mendocino County, although there are already signs of fall, with a smattering of leaves starting to change color in the vineyards.

Leaves changing color at Oppenlander Vineyard on September 9, 2017. Photo: J. Waits/Waits-Mast Family Cellars

Leaves changing color at Oppenlander Vineyard on September 9, 2017. Photo: J. Waits/Waits-Mast Family Cellars

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New in the Cellar: 2016 Sauvignon Blanc by Jennifer

We’ve always said that Waits-Mast Family Cellars ONLY produces pinot noir, but that’s not entirely true. We love white wines and have been toying with the idea of expanding our repertoire for awhile, even dabbling in micro batches. Those non-pinot noir forays in 2009 and 2014 led to two interesting wines that were crafted for us by other talented winemakers.


Waits-Mast bottling, February 2017. Photo: J. Waits

Long-time followers may recall a limited run of a 2009 Waits-Mast sparkling wine from Split Rock vineyard in the Sonoma Coast. Comprised of 100% chardonnay, we only made 6 cases of the wine and released it back in 2011.

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Counting Down the Days to Harvest 2014 by Jennifer

It’s the calm before the storm, as harvest is imminently approaching for Waits-Mast Family Cellars. It’s looking like our first pick of the year will happen in just a few days, with other picks soon after. This will all be unusually early for Mendocino Pinot Noir. But because of the drought and a warm winter, budbreak was early. This, along with a moderate growing season is driving an earlier harvest.

A week ago we went up to Anderson Valley and Mendocino Ridge in order to check in on the vineyards from which we source our Pinot Noir grapes and things were looking and tasting great already. Here’s a quick glimpse of what’s happening at four (of our five) vineyard sources:

Wentzel Vineyard, Anderson Valley: Our first visit on the weekend of August 23, 2014 was to Wentzel Vineyard in Anderson Valley. We initially starting working with this vineyard in 2007 (the wine was our first commercial release) and after a short break, have been making wine from Wentzel every year since 2010. Pictured below is the section, dubbed Le Clos, from which we have primarily been getting our grapes. It features a field blend of Dijon clones of Pinot Noir and is located in a lovely, enclosed sloping section of the Wentzel property. It looks like this will be our first pick of 2014, with fruit coming in any day now.

Wentzel Vineyard

Wentzel Vineyard, Anderson Valley


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2013 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival Part 3 – Winery Open Houses, Including Ours by Jennifer
Invitation to the Waits-Mast Open House (photo: J. Waits)

Invitation to the Waits-Mast Open House (photo: J. Waits)

We wrapped up the 16th Annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival weekend with perhaps our favorite event, the Sunday winery open houses on May 19. Every year wineries pull out special wines, prepare incredible food pairings, and open their doors to eager tasters. Many wineries that aren’t typically open will welcome customers to their properties for a rare opportunity to visit.

Soup Shots at Boonville Hotel

Soup Shooters at Boonville Hotel (photo: J. Waits)

Since Boonville Hotel now has a wine room/shop, we relished the opportunity to pour at our very own winery open house for the first time. Boonville Hotel’s wine buyer Mark Mendenhall graciously offered to host the event and even arranged for some delicious bites from their fabulous restaurant Table 128.

Boonville Wine Room

Brian Prepares for Waits-Mast Open House at Boonville Hotel Wine Room (photo: J. Waits)

At the open houses wineries can pour a variety of wines, so we decided to open up some selections that we couldn’t pour at the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival the day before. We started with our 2012 Waits-Mast Family Cellars Rose of Pinot Noir from Mendocino County and then poured three Waits-Mast Pinot Noirs from 2010 (from Londer Vineyard, Wentzel Vineyard, and Oppenlander Vineyard).

Waits-Mast Rose on Ice

Waits-Mast Rose on Ice at Boonville Hotel Open House (photo: J. Waits)

It was a festive late afternoon tasting (so that we could visit a few wineries ourselves in the morning) and we saw many friends and a few fellow winemakers. A number of hotel guests also made their way into the wine room in order to enjoy the event. It was gratifying to hear that tasters were enjoying our chilled rose on the warm May afternoon, with people describing it as “delicious” and “fantastic” with a “fresh strawberry” taste. A taster said that the 2010 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir from Londer Vineyard had “nice Anderson Valley black cherry” notes and another called the 2010 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir from Wentzel Vineyard “nice, dark, and beautiful.” The 2010 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir from Oppenlander Vineyard may have been the crowd favorite, with people calling it “over the top good,” “well-balanced,” and “fruit forward,” with a “tobacco nose.”

After the event drew to a close at 5pm, we packed up our remaining bottles and headed back to San Francisco. As another Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival concluded, we were left with some great memories of a tasty wine-filled weekend.

Waits-Mast Pouring at 2011 Pinot Days Chicago by Jennifer
November 6, 2011, 5:36 pm
Filed under: Events | Tags: , ,
2009 Pinot Days Chicago

2009 Pinot Days Chicago

It’s hard to believe that our first public wine tasting happened 4 years ago at Pinot Days Chicago.

I vividly remember setting up our table and anxiously awaiting customers. As one of the newest labels at the event in 2008, we weren’t sure that people would even stop by the Waits-Mast table. Our fears were unfounded, as plenty of people sampled our 2007 vintage at that event and we ended up making quite a few friends who we look forward to seeing at Pinot Days Chicago every year.

We’ll be pouring for the 4th time at the Pinot Days Chicago Grand Festival this Saturday, November 12, 2011 from 1pm to 5pm. At the tasting you’ll get a chance to sample a selection of our 2009 releases. If you are planning to attend, you can use the discount code WAITSCH11 to get 10% off your ticket. We hope to see you there.

Summer Hours at Waits-Mast by valleyfog

Waits-Mast Pinot Noir

Just a quick note that Waits-Mast Family Cellars will be closing up our webstore on June 30 for the summer and will re-open in the early fall.

Because the warmer weather in the summer is not conducive to shipping wine, and because we’ll be doing some work on our webstore in the next couple of months, our online store will be on summer hiatus. That means the current releases below will be available until June 30 and no longer available online after that.

Most are in limited quantity and will sell out soon, so if you have some favorites below, get ’em while you can at our online shop.

  • 2007 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills: 6 bottles left
  • 2008 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir, Hein Vineyard, Anderson Valley: 7 bottles left
  • 2008 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills: 58 bottles left
  • 2009 Waits-Mast Blanc de Blancs, Split Rock Vineyard, Sonoma Coast: 36 bottles left

After this brief hiatus, we will re-launch the webstore in the fall with our new 2009 pinot noirs – almost 200 cases of pinot from five different vineyards. Because we are transitioning our license and seller’s permit, we will no longer be able to sell the older vintages listed above. We’ll do a blog post or two about the whole arduous process, but, we’ll save that for another day!

And of course, if you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can find our wines at local retailers SF Wine Trading Company, Canyon Market and Draeger’s Markets in Blackhawk and Los Altos.

Sparkling Wine from Waits-Mast? Yup. by valleyfog
June 2, 2011, 11:59 pm
Filed under: New releases | Tags: , ,

Dig it. Back in 2009, in addition to the five different vineyard-designate pinot noirs we made, we participated in a small project to make sparkling wine from the Split Rock vineyard in the Sonoma Coast AVA. At long last, the 2009 Waits-Mast Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine, Split Rock Vineyard (Sonoma Coast) is now available in our webstore for a limited time only.

2009 Waits-Mast Blanc de Blancs

We only made 6 cases, so there will also be limited availability – we have a feeling they could go fast. Alas, we are excited to finally pop this bubbly and try it and to share it with you. It is a rockin’ good wine.

Sourced from the Split Rock Vineyard located in the Sonoma Coast growing region, the grapes selected for this sparkling wine enjoyed rocky soils combined with winds from the Petaluma Gap which consistently produces great fruit. Here are the tasting notes:

The 2009 Blanc de Blancs exhibits an abundance of soft, bright aromatics with fresh-baked brioche, Anjou pear and citrus flowers. The palate is lush with Pink Lady apple, melon and Clover honey. Long and elegant on the back end lifted by lively tones of Meyer lemon and Nashi pear. There is a creaminess on the mid-palate and a crispness on the finish of this sparkler, where the acidity and the apple and pear flavors really come through.


2009 Blanc de Blancs, Split Rock Vineyard

Blend: 100% Chardonnay

Alcohol: 13.0%

Aging: 20 months on the yeast

Disgorgement: May, 2011

Price: $40/bottle (750ml)

When we’re not drinking pinot noir, we’re drinking sparkling wine (or maybe both in one night!). We are also firm believers that sparkling wine is not just a special occasion wine – it goes well with so many foods and tastes great any time of the year. So, treat yourself for the summer and grab a sparkler.