Fine wines, heirloom cider, traditional balsamic vinegar & more
At The Terraces, we make everything from Riesling to heirloom cider to balsamic vinegar—and, yes, we do make an estate Cabernet Sauvignon, as well. And we’re proud to be able to offer our wide array of delicious wines at an approachable price point, because we believe wine should be enjoyed, not hoarded.
We’re adherents to the creed of radical self-expression, but not when it comes to winemaking. We prefer food-friendly wines that taste true to type, and emphasize freshness, fruit, and drinkability over points-grabbing density, alcohol, and tannins. In addition to vinifying our estate fruit, we collaborate with grower colleagues in Clarksburg to source the varieties we have discovered and loved on our travels to Europe.
When we started making Chardonnay, most domestic examples of this wine were oaky and buttery, the result of a lot of fiddling in the cellar. Intrigued by the pure and fresh pineapple and sliced-apple notes of ripe Chardonnay grapes, we decided to capture these unadulterated flavors in the glass.
We love Loire Valley Chenin Blanc and offer its California counterpart as a delicious alternative to the pungent Sauvignon Blanc that is more often vinified in these parts. A rare sight in Napa Valley tasting rooms, our delicate Chenin offers aromatics of stone fruit and flowers.
Sharon lived in Florence, Italy during her semester abroad when she was at Berkeley, and we travel there as often as we can. We love visiting Naples, and fell in love with Falanghina there. Our acid-driven Falanghina makes a floral, citrusy, apéritif, or a refreshing accompaniment to a meal.
Our wines are distributed by Skurnik in New York, which is also the home for the brilliant importer and author Terry Theise. We’re unabashed fans of Terry’s Austrian and German Riesling discoveries, so we make our Riesling in a restrained, dry style that’s more Teutonic than American.
Tabset Vertical — White Varieties
We only grow one acre of Cab Franc, but it’s the vineyard block in which Timm spends the most time. It’s a touchy variety, difficult to grow and difficult to vinify into a fine wine. But our hard work pays off with brilliant violet aromatics and ageworthy acidity. This is the wine our club members go wild for.
The Terraces is one of the best spots in the world for growing Cab, so we sell this fruit to colleagues and keep some of it to vinify for ourselves. Our Cab displays the earthy, dusty notes of Rutherford, as well as the satisfying minerality imparted by the rhyolite soil substratum beneath our vineyard.
This is such a sexy wine to make! The juice is a glowing midnight purple and the aromatics are straight mocha. We keep a careful eye on the tannins and vinify our Petite Sirah to showcase its beauty and natural velvety richness, without bogging it down in too much oak.
We stumbled across our first harvest of Tempranillo through dumb luck and an ad in the newspaper; we were so awestruck by the pristine quality of the fruit that we determined to do it right. We vinify it in a light, fruit-forward, food-friendly style, in neutral oak, to emphasize its silky texture.
Caymus Vineyards founder Charlie Wagner was buying Werle clone Zinfandel from our estate vineyard as far back as the 1950s, and we feel that it is our responsibility as stewards of this heritage site to continue to vinify it. We make it in a claret style, emphasizing structure and tannin for ageability.
Tabset Vertical — Red Varieties
Integrated, holistic farms are healthier and more sustainable than monocultures. So we grow more than grapes, and we make more than wine. Our cider, balsamic, honey, and produce express the unique terroir of this historic property. We are pleased to be able to offer these specialty items to visitors and club members.
Forget all the sweet ciders you’ve tasted out of cans and kegs, which are almost always made from concentrate that has been frozen and shipped from overseas. At our tasting room, the first glass you’ll be handed is a flute of our bone-dry, estate-grown, single-vintage European-style cider. Our 130 apple trees represent more than 40 different heirloom varieties, which we press in our antique wooden cider mill, then ferment while still fresh.
What started out as Timm’s hobby back in 1994 is now the largest and oldest balsamico venture in the United States. In our stone acetaia, The Terraces wines rest in Renzi barrels from Modena for decades, until they have transformed into a rich syrupy treat that will soon be available for our club members. Using a solera system, we fractionally blend each barrel to capture complexity, resulting in a vinegar that is both fresh and nuanced. We have hand-bottled our first vintage of balsamico in elegant long-necked German bottles sealed in Italian wax and will make them available to club members.
Our bee boxes offer a safe haven for imperiled bee populations and also provide us with a honey that reflects the terroir of the ranch. Nectar from blossoming fruit trees, as well as flowers such as poppies and irises, contribute initial notes of delicate sweetness to The Terraces honey, while mustard blossoms add a peppery bite. The creamy-white flowers of the imposing native toyon (also known as Christmas berry) shrub are responsible for our honey’s satisfying toasted-nut finish. We don’t sell our honey, but we’re proud to offer tastes of it to our guests.
As believers in decommodification, we pride ourselves on the food we grow on the ranch. Depending on the season, visitors may be able to taste anything from persimmons to tomatoes, olives, artichokes, or pluots. Sharon and Timm both prepare food for our guests, whether it’s a nibble to accompany a wine tasting, or a paella dinner for 60 club members. Visit our Blog page to view some of Timm’s most beloved recipes.