From one of the oldest Riesling vineyards in California, Wirz has become an unlikely staple in our cadre of white wines. For me, the greatest sites we work with do not just check all the boxes of a good vineyard—good soils, fine farming, proper variety for terroir, etc. Though those are all extremely important and necessary, the sites and the wines I continually come back to and love most are those that also possess personality and soul, wines that manifest the love of the caretaker in their surroundings. When I drink Wirz, I think of the wildness of the vineyard setting, surrounded by golden California chaparral, the starkly plunging lines of the eastern Gabilans, of the small but barrel-chested Pat Wirz driving a large but equally enduring old cat-tracked tractor with a billow of limestone and granitic dust looming behind him. For me this Riesling is the totality of the that—savory, textured and uniquely Californian in all of its lofted, golden glory.
The area south of Hollister, known as Cienega Valley, is perhaps one of the last relatively undiscovered bastions of old vines in California. At the forefront of remaining vineyards is Pat Wirz’s own-rooted Riesling. Planted in 1963, the vineyard is one of the oldest Riesling vineyards in the country. That it is planted decomposed granite and limestone soils in the eastern shadow of the Gabilan Range just adds to its significant appeal and personality. Just one look at the magnificent Pat Wirz himself tells you all you need to know.