Catching up with Bob Cabral
A lucky few of you have had the opportunity to meet our new winemaker Bob Cabral, who joined the Three Sticks team on January 1st. But for those of you who have not yet been introduced, we thought we'd bring you up to speed on the new master of the Three Sticks cellar.
Before coming to Three Sticks, Bob spent 17 years at the helm of the formidable Pinot powerhouse Williams Selyem. After what can only be called reaching near-perfection with the Williams Selyem portfolio, he was itching for a new challenge - and looking to get back out into the vineyards, getting his hands dirty in the grape growing and winemaking process.
"Williams Selyem was an amazing experience," Bob said fondly. "But I had taken that position as far as it could go, and I found myself looking for a new challenge."
Luckily, this is when he got a call from our own Bill Price. The two sat down for dinner, and tasted through an impressive swath of amazing wines, enjoying their shared passion for the process and the product of the wine business. It was pretty clear from the start that Three Sticks would be a good fit for Bob's next adventure in wine. Since he joined us, he has gotten his wish to be out in the vineyards - a LOT more. "I'd say since I started I've actually spent more time in the vineyards than I have in the cellar," Bob shared. When Bob arrived on the scene, the 2014 wines were just finishing malolactic, and the 2013s had not yet been blended & bottled. Bob works closely with Don Van Staaveren, who continues to play an active collaborative role in the cellar. The team will take a "divide and conquer" approach this year with Don taking the lead on the Cabernets and working with Ryan to craft the Castenada Red & Pinot Blanc, while Bob steps forward to take the lead on Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. Bob's right hand man is our new Associate Winemaker Ryan Prichard, who arrived in the cellar the same week as Bob. "Ryan and I got to know the Three Sticks wines by working hands on with Don in blending the 2013s - it was a great way to get to know how these wines had come to be - how they express their vineyard site and reflect the vintage - while having the opportunity to put my own imprint on the final blend."
Bob is looking forward to adding his signature the Three Sticks winemaking program from berry to bottle, making subtle changes to the nuance, timing and sequence of the process to further refine how we capture our estate vineyards in the glass. "Gap's Crown is such an iconic vineyard," Bob said. "Just 15 years ago people would have said this site was too cold to grow Pinot Noir & Chardonnay. But now, we see how this amazing fruit reflects the soils found on that side of the valley. I have already found a few blocks I'd like to keep for Three Sticks wines, and I'm excited to see what these vines will give us at harvest time."
Bob hadn't worked with Durell Vineyard before, but he knew it by reputation:
"I've tasted a lot of wines from Durell over the years so I was incredibly excited about the opportunity to work with it. This site has such a unique personality in each individual block, it's hard to believe all the wines are from the same vineyard. I'm looking forward to getting to know the blocks that have long been included in Three Sticks wines ... and I have my eye on a few additional cooler Pinot blocks, as well as a Chardonnay block with Wente clones. Stay tuned ..."
"One of the hardest things about leaving Williams Selyem was leaving the team of great people I'd worked with for many years. But I'm so pleased to find the camaraderie here at Three Sticks - these people are real people with real lives and wonderful families, who love what they are doing and where they are doing it. It was clear from day one that this team believes in Bill Price ... and he believes in us." Welcome aboard, Bob!
Producing world-class chardonnay and pinot noir from exceptional estate vineyards and celebrating the bounty of Sonoma County, one glass at a time.