On the last day of November 2019, we met up with Ryan Stirm of Stirm Wines to taste and be educated about Riesling and natural wines. Ryan is totally humble, thoughtful and committed to making the most delicious wines. It was a blow-you-mind kind of tasting and I am so happy to share it with you. This is a long audio but it’s worth it because Ryan is such a knowledgeable and generous wine maker. It was a real gift to have an abundance of time and wine. I hated to spit it out (even the barrel samples)! Nothing but superlatives here. Stirm wines will change you mind about Riesling and natural wines.
Here’s what he says about Riesling: “As climate change continues to spur the unpredictability of weather and extreme weather events (with the notable exception we continue to get warmer annually), there are few white grapes better suited to withstand the impacts than Riesling. Here’s some data to back the claim: it’s drought-tolerant, has extreme winter hardiness, buds late, has good heat tolerance, ripens late, has very high acidity, and has stylistic variation unmatched in most other grapes. Much like it was done long before us, it’s our mission to pioneer the new age of California Riesling.”
He also makes wines for the Companion Wine label, and here is his ‘About’
Ryan Stirm began his winemaking career through a love of farming. His passion was for the land and what could be grown but eventually turned towards vineyards specifically. Wine then became his way of documenting a place and time. While most of his winemaking pedigree has been etched in California, he spent time in in Margaret River, Australia and the Wachau in Austria (Weingut Tegernseerhof). Abroad he was able to hone his craft making Riesling as well as learning about the best practices in vineyard management. Ryan currently splits his time between the cellar and the vineyards he is contracted to tend in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Companion is his platform for showing the vast potential of Riesling and California viticulture.
Listen to the interview HERE (please forgive background noise, this is a working warehouse)