Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Marchesi Antinori, joint venture partners for wineries in California and Washington state, announced the promotion of Darel Allwine to winemaker for Col Solare, the landmark Red Mountain estate founded by the partners in 1995.
Entering his 18th harvest in Washington state and his ninth on Red Mountain, Allwine most recently was the cellarmaster for Col Solare. Since 2003, he has worked hand-in-hand with Marcus Notaro, the previous winemaker at Col Solare, and Renzo Cotarella, chief enologist for Antinori, to craft the estate’s acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines. Notaro is now winemaker for Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, the iconic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon producer, also a Ste. Michelle-Antinori joint venture.
Ted Baseler, president and CEO for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, explained how a deep understanding of Red Mountain’s terroir and of Col Solare’s approach to working with Red Mountain fruit were critical factors in the partners’ decision to appoint Allwine to lead this collaborative winemaking team.
“When we looked for the right person to carry on the Col Solare tradition of producing world-class Red Mountain Cabernet, we didn’t have to look any farther than our own estate,” Baseler said. “Darel knows our vineyards and the vision of our Antinori partners better than anyone and there’s no one better to lead this estate into its third decade.”
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Marchesi Antinori founded Col Solare to bring their collective expertise to bear on a shared vision – to craft Washington state’s premier Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine using fruit from the region’s best vineyards. Since the Col Solare estate vineyard was planted in 2007, the vision of the partners has evolved to focus on the Cabernet Sauvignon of the renowned Red Mountain appellation and, ultimately, the specific fruit of their unique vineyard site.
“Red Mountain is a special place and we’ve worked carefully to develop our estate vineyard to showcase the distinct characteristics of this important appellation,” said Allwine. “I’m honored to lead our incredible vineyard and winemaking team as we continue to explore the full expression of Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.”
“Darel has a unique understanding of the winemaking philosophy that we bring to each of our estates in Italy and to our partnership at Col Solare,” Cotarella said. “We strive for balance and ageability above all, with a pure expression of fruit and a clear reflection of both the vineyard and the vintage.”
A Washington State native, Allwine spent 20 years in the Air Mobility Command of the United States Air Force, including a stint in Germany where he first became interested in wine while touring the Mosel and the Rheingau. When he returned home, he answered an ad for a cellar worker at Columbia Crest Winery. There he first met and began working with Notaro, then the red winemaker at Columbia Crest, as well as Ray Einberger, then head winemaker, who had previously worked at the famed Napa Valley winery Opus One.
“I’ve had the tremendous good fortune to work alongside some of the world’s foremost experts in Cabernet Sauvignon in Marcus, Ray and Renzo,” said Allwine. “I’ve learned a great deal from them over the years and they’ve all helped to shape my vision for what Col Solare will be in the years to come.”
About Col Solare
Col Solare is an equal partnership between two influential wine producers who are recognized leaders in their respective regions: Washington state’s Chateau Ste. Michelle and Italy’s Marchesi Antinori. From the inaugural 1995 vintage, the mission of Col Solare has been to unite these two unique viticultural and winemaking cultures to produce a world-class Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine from Washington state’s very best vineyard sites. With the planting of the Col Solare estate vineyard on Red Mountain in 2007, the vision of the partners has evolved to focus on showcasing the Cabernet
Sauvignon of this renowned appellation and, ultimately, the specific fruit of the estate vineyard. With the 2009 vintage, fruit from the estate vineyard plays an important role in the Col Solare blend for the first time and, beginning with the 2011 vintage, all future vintages of Col Solare will carry the Red Mountain designation. For more information on Col Solare, visit colsolare.com.