Our family began hand making small lots of wine in Sonoma County in 1989, but our history in the industry started in 1973 when Marty took a job in the lab at Rodney Strong Vineyards. After five years as a member of the winemaking staff, Marty left to co-found Vinquiry in Healdsburg. Our wine service laboratory, consulting and specialty winemaking products provided critical support to the surge of growth in the wine industry.
In 1989, Marty and Gary acted on their interest in winemaking and started the Bannister label, wiith a focus on Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Zinfandel. Brook was involved in harvest and critical points in the process when he wasn’t busy in school. At present, he and Marty collaborate on the wine making and the management of the business.
“There is an alluring purity and equilibrium to everything I have tasted from Bannister. These are classic examples of what one expects from a particular varietal without being overweight, flabby or excessively wooded.
– Robert Parker
Our interest in Pinot Noir began in the 1980’s when only a handful of growers were examining the climates and soils that would bring out the full potential in this fruit. We were able to work with some of these growers and begin developing a style and belief that still informs our wine making. Even after twenty six years and counting we are still asking questions and learning new techniques.
When you get exceptional fruit from great locations, much of the work of wine making is already done. And that’s what hands off wine making really means – guiding what the grower and the land and the season give you into a finished wine. We aim to make wines that are full flavored and that are balanced in alcohol and tannin; that express the local soils and climate, and are a joy to drink with food or just by the glass.
The beginning of the 2013 growing season had everyone crossing their fingers. Already in a drought, spring was dry and warm which brought on an early bud break. Temps were high in April and May. The vines were off to a fast start, but had a fantastic fruit set. Verasion began early (in June), but consistent weather patterns in Coastal Sonoma and stable temperatures led to a harvest of healthy, beautiful, consistent fruit.
We’ve lived in Healdsburg for a long time – even back when it was a small town where everyone loved each other. We are a small family business. My mom and I make the wine, and my dad jumps in to help with anything that comes up.
We collaborated on our label with local artist Bob Johnson. He also did the beautiful drawing of the Pomo basket.
Speaking of which, many of the Pomo’s baskets are preserved and cared for at the Grace Hudson museum in Ukiah, which is an awesome place to visit..
Our website was designed and built by our friend Andrea Godard at Daedalus House.
We also like the Russian River keeper, Save the Redwoods League and Alliance Mediacal center.
We don’t have a tasting room, but if you’re in our neck of the woods, get in touch – we’ll eat some lunch and visit a vineyard or two