Scherrer Winery is nestled in the far west of Sonoma, as far off the beaten track as you can get. Fred Scherrer is one of California’s great characters, focused on producing long-lived and ultra-pure wines. Every aspect of the winery, and the man himself, is unique! As Antonio Galloni says: “Readers who have not tasted these wines owe it to themselves to do so.”
Fred Scherrer’s vinous journey began in the 1970s. in his own words: “In the mid-1970’s, due to a normal teenage interest in alcoholic beverages, my family allowed me to make some wine from the family vineyard and beer at home (under adult supervision, of course!).” He embraced this fascination by studying for his degree in Fermentation Science at U.C. Davies, followed by his first positions as a winemaker in Alexander Valley and Mendocino County. In the late 1980s he was appointed head winemaker at Dehlinger Winery.
During his 10 years at Dehlinger, Fred honed his approach to single-vineyard production, and winemaking philosophy which is simply: “I try to make good tasting wine that will age well”. Boy, has he nailed it!
His first vintage of Scherrer was in 1991, a Zinfandel from the Family Vineyard, at the Dehlinger winery. In 1997 he and his wife Judi moved to a new and permanent winery just south of Forestville in very west of Russian River Valley. Production has grown steadily to around 3,000 cases per year.
In addition to the Scherrer Vineyard surrounding his family’s farm and house in Alexander Valley, Fred sources fruit from the miniscule 0.4ha Helfer Vineyard in Russian River Valley, Platt Vineyard on the Sonoma Coast, Hallberg in Green Valley, and Martinelli’s legendary Zio Tony Vineyard.
In Fred’s own words: “I try to make good tasting wine that will age well. Most of our work is done and choices are made during the harvest season. Afterward, there is little reason to touch a wine that is on a wonderful trajectory.” All the Pinots, Zinfandels and Chardonnays are bottled without fining or filtration, and have extended elevages, sometime spending 2-3 winters in old oak. Fred gives the same level of attention to detail with his winemaking equipment, hand-building his own sorting table and adjusting the engine-timing on his bottling machine to ensure the gentlest possible process.