And they're off!

The warm spring weather has vines out of the gates several weeks earlier Floodgate budbreak 2014than historical average. The image at right is a Pinot vine in the Floodgate vineyard taken on March 21st.

It's like hitting a big reset button every year when we drive out in the vineyards and can see green on the vines out the truck window. No matter how much we’ve been thinking about it, seeing those first few leaves makes us shift gears from wondering when we’ll see buds to thinking about how to protect those tender shoots from harsh weather and the biggest threat: frost. An early start means a long frost season, so we're watching the forecasts closely. So far we're sailing along just fine, and we even got some much-needed rain late in the winter.


Boston-based food/travel/wine blogger Meghan Malloy wrote a nice appreciation of Cartograph on her “Travel, Wine and Dine” blog earlier this year. “Their Floodgate Vineyard Pinot Noir is simply a joy, with bright bursts of berry and a little earthy funk. It’s everything Pinot Noir should be, and it makes us dream of a trip to their new Healdsburg tasting room!”

Alan’s journey from public radio to Pinot noir is detailed in this thoughtful interview at the Bacchus & Beery wine blog by Roger and Donna Beery. Check it out for Alan’s take on the risks and rewards of upending your life, winemaking philosophy and influences, and what lies ahead for Cartograph.


Gold Medalist for Pass the Pigs Olympics 2014To help celebrate Charlie Palmer's Pigs & Pinot weekend dedicated to all things pork paired with Pinot noir, we held our first annual Pass the Pigs Olympics . . . and it was as ridiculous as you might expect. We had 12 contestants in a double elimination tournament that generated huge waves of laughter as well as some serious poker faces from the über-competitive players. There were even a few tears as the flags were raised with the playing of the national anthem. We won't spoil anything since we'll have a video coming soon, but we can tell you that the medal podium was a solid USA sweep. The chants of "U! S! A! U! S! A!" definitely got the attention of folks strolling past the open tasting-room doors.

Now, to get this event fully endorsed by Charlie Palmer and get a line for betting in Las Vegas—we're going big time!

announcing our spring releases

We've just bottled our white wines from 2013, along with our first-ever Sangiovese, which we made in 2012. Bottling can often be a hair-pulling event with plenty of tiny things that can go off the rails, but thanks to our new production facility, Punchdown Cellars, we were ready well in advance.

Here are a few images from the bottling runs.

We're looking forward to sharing these wines and other spring releases with you. Spring releases, you say? Yes, we've finally tasted through the 2012 Pinots and have chosen what wines will join the 2013 whites in the spring release.

Drum roll, please! The wines that will be the spring 2014 release are:

2013 Rosé of Pinot Noir

2013 Floodgate Vineyard Gewürztraminer

2012 Russian River Pinot Noir

2012 Green Valley Pinot Noir (Cartograph Circle members only)

2012 Roma's Vineyard Pinot Noir

Cartograph Circle members will receive their allocation notices soon, and we’ll send their shipments before we release the wines to the public.

Many Circle members have chosen a club level that allows them to pick the wines they receive. To help you decide which wines best fit your dinner table, we're taking several of them on the road to share at club events in the Twin Cities and Chicago before our spring release party in May. (See Upcoming Events below for dates).

Our Cartograph Spring Release and Club Pickup party will be May 3 in the Cartograph tasting room, where we’ll host a party and pair the wines with great paella and other fun food. Tickets are $50; Cartograph Circle members can purchase two tickets at half price ($25).

from the winemaker: green valley pinot

A friend of ours who is a grower swung by the tasting room one day in July 2012 and told us about a tiny vineyard in the Green Valley AVA he was helping to manage for a couple who had just recently purchased the property. We chatted about the challenges of working with such a small property and told the grower if the couple had any questions about winemaking, I’d be happy to help. Funny how epic journeys often start with the best intentions... Read More on the blog by clicking HERE


April 24: Circle Club Tasting, Minneapolis, MN

April 25: Winemaker Tasting, Chicago, IL

April 26: Pinot Days, Chicago, IL (use code CARTCH14 for a 15% discount on tickets)

May 3: Spring Release and Club Pickup Party, Cartograph Tasting Room, 340 Center St., Healdsburg

May 24–25: Passport to Pinot , Healdsburg, CA

in closing

We hope to see you at our upcoming Minneapolis or Chicago tastings—but if not, please let us know if you’re planning a visit to the tasting room. We always love to catch up with you and hear what you think of our wines.


Alan, Winemaker/Owner, and Serena, Owner