Mark Lyon, Sebastiani’s winemaker, has been at the winery since 1979. Here are his thoughts on current winemaking and farming protocols.
“Since Bill purchased Sebastiani in 2008, we’ve been doing a number of concrete things to produce world-class wines that showcase the great terroir and versatility of Sonoma County. One of the first things we did under Bill’s direction was to decrease production, which allowed us to jettison marginal vineyards and focus our winemaking efforts on exceptional individual sites.
Today, as we replant our estate vineyards, we carefully match clones, rootstocks and farming protocols to geography, topography and climate. We also limit yields at all of our properties and farm each site on a vine-by-vine basis. As for contract vineyards, we work exclusively with growers who not only farm for quality, but who are also situated in the sub-appellations of Sonoma County best-suited for each grape variety.
In the cellar, we are handling a huge number of small lots, something we couldn’t do before. We are now able to experiment with techniques such as employing a more natural approach to Chardonnay by fermenting with indigenous yeasts found on the grape skins versus inoculating with commercial yeast strains.
As a result, we are making more concentrated, complex wines across all tiers – from the Sonoma County Selection to the Proprietor’s Selection. It’s exciting to be at Sebastiani these days.”