Russian River Valley
About The Estate:
Arista Winery was founded in 2002 by Al and Janis McWilliams with a mission to grow and produce small production, site driven Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley. Convinced that the Russian River Valley could produce world-class wines the McWilliams purchased the 36-acre estate in 2004 on the famed Westside Road in the town of Healdsburg, California. Nestled between iconic producers Williams Selyem Winery and Rochioli Winery, the McWilliams family partnered with legendary Vineyard Manager Ulises Valdez to plant the estate in 2006. The vineyard is divided into 5 individual blocks with a total of 9 acres planted to Pinot Noir and 1 acre planted to Chardonnay.
In 2012 Al and Janis sold the business to their sons, Mark and Ben McWilliams. The brothers grew up working for their parents at the winery and assumed control when Al McWilliams retired at the end of the 2012 vintage. With the shared vision of continuing to elevate the quality of the wine and the winery’s visibility as a world-class producer, Mark and Ben hired Winemaker Matt Courtney (previously winemaker at Marcassin Winery for 10 years) at the start of 2013. Joining Matt at Arista was his Assistant Winemaker from Marcassin, Gordon Miller and Cellar Master Corey Stewart. Under the guidance of Matt and his team, Arista Winery has consistently produced some of the most highly rated, highly sought-after Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from California since 2013.
In the vineyard and in the cellar the team is guided by a simple but profound philosophy: Less but better. This approach frames every decision they make and keeps them from compromising their standards. Work with fewer sites but only the best; fewer growers but only the best; fewer coopers but only the best; fewer passes through the vineyard but better thought through passes, and on an on. Using time tested, traditional winemaking methods, all of Arista's wines are natively fermented (primary and malo-lactic) and all wines are bottled without fining or filtration. This artisanal approach to making wine is labour intensive and hands-on. No corners are cut. Skill and patience are rewarded with wines that are site driven and reflect the unique terroirs from which they come.
Matt Courtney was winemaker at Marcassin Winery from 2003 to 2013, where he achieved no less than 5 x 100 point scores!
The 36 acre Estate sits along the famed Westside Road, with neighbours including David Ramey, DuMol and William Selyem Estates.
Along with the vineyards, the team raise sheep, goats and chickens on the Estate. They also farm 1.5 acres of vegetables and fruit orchards on the Estate, which are prepared and cooked in-house for lucky visitors!
Looking east across the Russian River Valley from the Arista Estate vineyard