The Wine Country Online

Well, the 2001 harvest is off to an early start, and the old Wine Tout has a good feeling about this one! It is the Wine Tout's job to introduce you to the folks who are handcrafting delicious, exuberant wines in the many small or recently established wineries around Northern California. These are wines that are not widely available beyond the neighborhood where they are produced. My goal is to encourage the consumer to contact the winemakers directly. In this issue we are pleased to introduce you to our friends at Camellia Cellars.


Jack Burton

Introducing the Wines of Camellia Cellars

A view to the southwest from Lencioni Vineyards to the lower Dry Creek Valley

This past August 28 the old Wine Tout had the good fortune to spend a little time on a lovely ranch situated splendidly on a beach overlooking Dry Creek Valley.

In the"Mother Patch" of 100-year-old Zin at Lencioni Vineyards

Bruce with the first ton of Zinfandel and the first cup of coffee of the 2001 harvest

Bruce, Chris and Ray with Carsten

Bruce Snyder had invited me to visit the source of Camellia Cellars' outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel wines. Brothers Fred and Randy Ginn farm twenty-eight acres of rocky bronze-red clay loam with excellent drainage on a rolling ridgetop commanding the heart of the valley. Established in 1898 by their great-grandfather, the Lencioni vineyards continue to develop around a venerable old "mother patch" of one-hundred-year-old Zinfandel vines which will supply the cuttings this fall for re-establishing a former hillside vineyard that had been long gone to scrub and blackberries.

With its unique setting and lovely clear pond, I was impressed by the ranch's well-balanced combination of vines, water, terraces, and classic California wildscape.

With their terrific source of fruit, which also includes the Merlo Vineyards in the Upper Dry Creek Valley, Camellia Cellars' wines are a great expression of this world-class growing region. The Wine Tout recommends you arrange to visit the good folks of Camellia Cellars ar Healdsburg's landmark B&B, the Camellia Inn, where you can taste library and current releases by appointment daily at 5 p.m.

Having been award-winning amateur winemakers for many years, Ray and Del Leward, Chris Leward and Bruce Snyder established Camellia Cellars in 1997, and still tend to refer to their production by the number of bottles produced   the old Wine Tout suggests you get in on this one while the getting is good!

For more information, to place an order, or to become an inaugural member of Friends of Camellia Cellars, please contact our friends at:

Camellia Cellars
1048 Alexander Valley Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448

Current Releases
1999 Sangiovese
This unique Tuscan clone delivers the best this grape has to offer. Rich flavors of cherry and plum fills one with rememberances of Italy. A classic!
Merlo Vineyards     225 cs made     $28 / bottle
1999 Zinfandel
Enjoy this full, ripe berry taste of Dry Creek Valley! This first vintage yields a deep, fully extracted wine with the taste of mature, vibrant fruit.
Lencioni Vineyard    215 cs made    $22 / bottle
1998 Cabernet Sauvingon
Another winner from the benchland vineyards, its deep garnet colors and floral bouquet yield to vibrant flavors with forward fruit and a lovely finish.
Lencioni Vineyard    294 cs made    $35 / bottle
1999 Diamo Grazie - Proprietors' Blend
We selected the best grapes from our growers to craft this lovely wine. Each compliments the others with full round flavors of cherry, pomegranate and blackberry to add to your celebrations.
Dry Creek Valley    200 cs made    $42 / bottle
In the Library
1997 Cabernet Sauvignon
A lush velvety wine with a chocolaty aroma and black raspberry fruit. Fills the palate with the full, satisfying flavor of true Cabernet Sauvignon.
Lencioni Vineyard    220 cs made    $45.00 / bottle
6 bottle limit

Case discount 10% mix or match. No discount on library wines.
Proprietors Ray and Del Lewand, Chris Lewand and Bruce Snyder.

Bruce, Chris, Fred and RayPhoto: Camellia Cellars