Founded in 2009 by husband and wife team Chris and Sarah Pittinger, Gros Ventre Cellars has been over 20 years in the making. After college, Chris spent several years tasting and selling mostly European wines in shops and restaurants as a sommelier, which shaped his palate and lead him towards wine production. Starting in 2003, he began working at several notable wineries including Torbreck, Williams-Selyem, and Marcassin. Chris is also the full-time winemaker for Skinner Vineyards, one of the Sierra Nevada Foothill’s most notable estates. Through his work both at Skinner and Gros Ventre, Chris was named one of the San Francisco Chronicle’s 2013 Winemakers to Watch by Jon Bonné. In the winery, minimal handling and intervention is the goal. The wine’s evolution includes native fermentation, gentle punch downs, no extended maceration, no lees stirring, no additives outside of minimal sulfur and yeast nutrients, and no fining or filtration. Depending on the vintage, the wine typically ages for 11 months on its lees in a maximum of 25% new French oak (with the exception of the First Born cuvee). Gros Ventre’s production centers around Pinot Noir grown in cool, coastal sites, all of which are farmed by hands-on growers focused on sustainability. Cerise Vineyard is biodynamic, and the others are non-certified organic or sustainable. They prefer sourcing from coastal sites that have the right combination of sea, wind, fog, sun, and soil. Close proximity to the ocean and fog helps keep temperatures mild, alcohols moderate, and acids in balance, while high elevations (700 – 1,100 feet) allow for optimal exposure to sun and wind during the growing season.