First and foremost, I’d like to wish you and your families a very Happy New Year! Looking toward 2021 vineyard management stays top of mind for me. I remain hopeful this year will provide much needed inclement weather for the vineyard as California experienced yet another record dry year. Thankfully, Sonoma County received ~4 inches of rainfall last month in December. The rainfall was welcomed signaling the end to a tumultuous fire season. However, Sonoma County received just ~9 inches of rainfall in 2020 compared to ~42 inches in 2019. Our vineyard thrives in long, warm summers and rainy winters. Fortunately, our vines are planted atop moisture rich Gold Ridge Soil helping when the vineyard experiences drought-like conditions. This type of soil allows for deep pockets of moisture reserves the vines may tap into over longer periods of time compared to other soil types. Because of the soil density the winery’s water use remains low. This helps us maintain “dry-farming”, allowing nature to dictate the true sustainability of production in our vineyard.


Our enhanced water management taps into a core value for us here at Ron Rubin Winery – sustainability. This month marks the official end to the rigorous SIP Certification. SIP or “Sustainability in Practice” is a certification process addressing the 3 P’s – People, Planet and Prosperity – ensuring that both natural and human resources are protected. The certification implores wineries and vineyards to undertake seven key values:

  1. Social Responsibility– Competitive wages, medical insurance, training, and education.
  2. Water Management– Reduced/recycled water in the vineyards and winery.
  3. Safe Pest Management – Introduce beneficial insects, attract raptors, and plant enriching cover crops to keep vineyards healthy.
  4. Energy Efficiency– Alternative fuels and energy sources like solar and wind; minimal tractor usage; enhanced insulation in winery.
  5. Habitat– Create wildlife corridors and preserve open space.
  6. Business– Ethical practices; treat employees and community with care and respect.
  7. Always Evolving – Evolve as new science, technology and research becomes available.

To achieve SIP Certification, Ron Rubin Winery has had to document 50 requirements and implement practices that directly relate to the seven key values above. Each practice is then verified through independent records and on-site inspections and then we may receive final approval from an independent advisory board. A rigorous process, but the environmental and social impact is well worth it! Since 2017, Ron Rubin Winery has achieved SIP Certification in the vineyard and sustainability continues to be one of our core values even as the winery grows. We have successfully implemented each value in one way or another while ALWAYS evolving. This evolution is constant, and I look forward to updating you all on other improvements as they are made!

Ron Rubin Winery SIP Certified Vineyard in 2020


2020 was an uncertain year given the changes considering COVID-19 and the various wildfires, but I am elated the winery has been able to move forward and complete necessary wine production. Our winemaking team has once again been able to produce exceptional wines – first of which the 2020 Un-Oaked Chardonnay. Our first to bottle in the New Year, this wine truly embodies refreshing and fruity characteristics all thanks to both the fermentation and “aging” processes occurring in stainless-steel tanks only. This allows the highlighted fruit to shine through and I do believe mother nature delivered this year despite the obstacles it dealt. The 2020 vintage is showcasing bright acidity, soft tannin structure and notes of pear and delicious ripe apple.

Bottling line for the 2020 River Road Un-Oaked Chardonnay

Because the bottling process occurs so early, the wine lends to the vibrant character and authenticity to the fruit and freshness which defines it. As a Winemaker, it brings me great joy to be able to capture that character and enhance it in a bottle. It is a highlight for me to make this wine at the peak of each New Year as it represents the beginning to a beautiful winemaking year!


As 2021 begins, I look ahead at what is to come. While this past year was different than we all expected, I’ve grown accustomed to the new virtual world created in the wake of 2020. Before, I would have welcomed many different guests helping to educate each on the property, people and various wines. Now, I look forward to a virtual reality created over Zoom. I recently created Weekly Team Tastings with our local and national team members. It has been important to me that we stay connected in some way while still physically distanced. These tastings continue to strengthen our team (even from afar). It has been a pleasure being able to see everyone on a more regular basis. Staying connected and getting together, even virtually, has been a great spirit booster for me! It is something I look forward to continuing in 2021.

Ron Rubin Winery Team Tasting

May you all have a prosperous, healthy, and happy New Year! Until next month, cheers from the team here at Ron Rubin Winery!