The Search Compels Us

We love California for her vast and diverse landscapes. Our constant quest for new vineyard sources has led us to some of the Golden State’s last frontiers. It’s brought us face-to-face with California’s unspoken heroes—the farmers. This is the beauty of making wine wherever the spirit moves us. From river valleys and wind gaps, to coastal ridges and high deserts—the tenacity and intrigue of those who shepherd the vines in these difficult places cannot be overstated. We’re pleased to introduce you to some of the particulars about the land, and about the people who bring it all to life.

Image of Steven Moore

Steven Moore

Bohemian, musician, naturalist

Image of John Balletto

John Balletto

Grower, winemaker, entrepreneur, family man

Image of Butch Cameron

Butch Cameron

Sonoma County growers since 1853

Image of Prudy Foxx

Prudy Foxx

The Vine Whisperer

Image of Jim McCutchan

Jim McCutchan

A vineyard man for the decades in the rugged Mendocino mountains

Image of Athan Poulos

Denise & Athan Poulos

Certified Organic since the 1950’s

Image of Bob & Claudia Klindt

Bob & Claudia Klindt

A stoic husband/wife team take on the “deep end”

Image of Michael Michaud

Michael Michaud

Unsung hero of old Chalone.

Image of David Hirsch

David Hirsch

Bronx native, Sonoma Coast Innovator

Image of Michael McNeil

Michael McNeil

Custodians of Burgundian-style winemaking in California

Image of Peter Knez & Anthony Filiberti

Peter Knez & Anthony Filiberti

Business guru meets California vigneron.

Image of Michael Michaud

Michael Michaud

Unsung hero of old Chalone.


It takes unyielding determination to farm up on the sun-scorched, limestone mound that is Chalone, just west of Pinnacles National Park. Despite the rich wine-making history that exists here, the place was without electricity until the mid-1990s. Working by kerosene lamp and installing by hand, both power lines and water pipes, Michael Michaud could only be described as indefatigable.


Appellation: Chalone
Vineyard designate: Michaud Vineyard
Soil type: rare braid of granite and limestone
Elevation: 1600 feet


Image of Michael Michaud

Michael Michaud

Unsung hero of old Chalone.

It takes unyielding determination to farm up on the sun-scorched, limestone mound that is Chalone, just west of Pinnacles National Park. Despite the rich wine-making history that exists here, the place was without electricity until the mid-1990s. Working by kerosene lamp and installing, by hand, both power lines and water pipes, Michael Michaud could only be described as indefatigable.

Appellation: Chalone
Vineyard designate: Michaud Vineyard
Soil type: rare braid of granite and limestone
Elevation: 1600 feet
Clone: Pinot Noir Clones 667, 777, and Swan
Average age of vines: 22+ years

Unique aspect: Extremity at every level: elevation, temperature, water-table, soil
Sourced for: Michaud Vineyard, Pinot Noir
What to expect from the wines: Profound, mineral-driven Pinot Noir with distinctive Christmas spice notes, and an age-worthiness rarely found in the new world.


In the late 1970s and early '80s, David Hirsch went where no Sonoma grape grower had gone before: to the extreme edge of the Sonoma Coast. On the recommendation of a vintner friend, he planted Pinot Noir on his foggy ridgeline property, within two miles of the Pacific Ocean. Today the Hirsch Vineyard is recognized internationally for its Sonoma Coast Pinot. Always pushing the site-specific limits, David has recently taken the vineyard biodynamic.

Our expression of Hirsch Vineyard is a blend derived from three unique blocks that are exclusive to us, and our technique is clear. We harvest early to maintain snappy, fresh character and brisk acidity;...


Appellation: Sonoma Coast
Vineyard designate: Hirsch Vineyard
Soil type: complex calcareous seabed material
Elevation: Elevation: 1100 - 1400 feet


Image of David Hirsch
vineyard map

David Hirsch

Bronx native, Sonoma Coast Innovator

In the late 1970s and early '80s, David Hirsch went where no Sonoma grape grower had gone before: to the extreme edge of the Sonoma Coast. On the recommendation of a vintner friend, he planted Pinot Noir on his foggy ridgeline property, within two miles of the Pacific Ocean. Today the Hirsch Vineyard is recognized internationally for its Sonoma Coast Pinot. Always pushing the site-specific limits, David has recently taken the vineyard biodynamic.

Our expression of Hirsch Vineyard is a blend derived from three unique blocks that are exclusive to us, and our technique is clear. We harvest early to maintain snappy, fresh character and brisk acidity; we use 30% whole cluster in the fermenters, producing an edgy, spice-driven complexity; and we age the wine in just 20% new oak to avoid the "white noise" of too much oakiness. Finally, our Hirsch spends four months in a chilled stainless steel tank, developing to a razor-sharp focus.

Appellation: Sonoma Coast
Vineyard designate: Hirsch Vineyard
Soil type: complex calcareous seabed material
Elevation: Elevation: 1100 - 1400 feet
Clone: Pinot Noir Clones 115, Pommard, and Mt. Eden
Average age of vines: 30+ years

Unique aspect: proximity to the ocean, heterogeneous topography, biodynamic farming
Sourced for: Hirsch Vineyard and Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
What to expect from the wines: Elegant Pinot Noir that displays a combination of tart red berry fruit and intense minerality.


Nestled in the Mayacamas mountains above the town of Sonoma, 46-acre Hanzell Vineyards produces wines prized by collectors worldwide. Its place in the pantheon of California winemaking history is undisputed. This estate is home to the oldest continuously producing Pinot Noir vines in North America, and the first-ever French oak-aged California Chardonnays were raised in their cellar. With such undeniable pedigree, Hanzell Vineyards has seldom had the desire to sell grapes. That we were able to secure a fruit contract here is one of our proudest moments.

Our interpretation of Hanzell is dictated by our general philosophy about Chardonnay, which is to say we like them full...


Appellation: Sonoma Valley
Vineyard designate: Hanzell Vineyard
Soil type: cobblestones, volcanic, red clay
Elevation: 800 feet


Image of Michael McNeil
vineyard map

Michael McNeil

Custodians of Burgundian-style winemaking in California

Nestled in the Mayacamas mountains above the town of Sonoma, 46-acre Hanzell Vineyards produces wines prized by collectors worldwide. Its place in the pantheon of California winemaking history is undisputed. This estate is home to the oldest continuously producing Pinot Noir vines in North America, and the first-ever French oak-aged California Chardonnays were raised in their cellar. With such undeniable pedigree, Hanzell Vineyards has seldom had the desire to sell grapes. That we were able to secure a fruit contract here is one of our proudest moments.

Our interpretation of Hanzell is dictated by our general philosophy about Chardonnay, which is to say we like them full of freshness and minerality. LIOCO's Hanzell has sharper edges than the estate's bottling. It is often harvested earlier, sees zero new oak, and spends several months in stainless steel prior to bottling, a technique that brings a fuzzy picture of Hanzell into crisp focus. Given the exceptional quality of the raw material, our mission is clear: simply get out of the way and let the voice of this special vineyard come through.

Appellation: Sonoma Valley
Vineyard designate: Hanzell Vineyard
Soil type: cobblestones, volcanic, red clay
Elevation: 800 feet
Clone: Chardonnay Hanzell Clone
Average age of vines: old vines, low-yields, heritage Hanzell Clone, volcanic soil, elite pedigree

Unique aspect: old vines, low-yields, heritage Hanzell Clone, volcanic soil, elite pedigree
Sourced for: Hanzell Vineyard Chardonnay
What to expect from the wines: Age-worthy, mountain-grown Chardonnay that smells of fresh loquats and spearmint, and tastes like candied lemon peels, mirabelle


We knew of John's pedigree as a Sonoma County vegetable grower. When water became a scarce, he deftly converted his ranches to grape growing. When we first met him, we spoke not a word about his once legendary zucchinis. Chardonnay was the topic. John showed us a map of the area with an overlay of the vineyards now under his purview. He explained them one at a time detailing the specifics of each site. The last one, located far out on Burnside Road, he seemed to downplay. "It's a stressed, older vineyard with low yields, and a late-ripening arc." Check. Check. Check. We went there first, tried to maintain our poker faces, and negotiated a fruit contract with our boots still on...


Appellation: Russian River Valley
Vineyard designate: N/A
Soil type: Goldridge
Elevation: 200 feet


Image of John Balletto

John Balletto

Green-thumbed survivor

We knew of John's pedigree as a Sonoma County vegetable grower. When water became a scarce, he deftly converted his ranches to grape growing. When we first met him, we spoke not a word about his once legendary zucchinis. Chardonnay was the topic. John showed us a map of the area with an overlay of the vineyards now under his purview. He explained them one at a time detailing the specifics of each site. The last one, located far out on Burnside Road, he seemed to downplay. "It's a stressed, older vineyard with low yields, and a late-ripening arc." Check. Check. Check. We went there first, tried to maintain our poker faces, and negotiated a fruit contract with our boots still on the soil.

Appellation: Russian River Valley
Vineyard designate: N/A
Soil type: Goldridge
Elevation: 200 feet
Clone: Clone 4
Average age of vines: 30+ years

Unique aspect: leaf roll virus, small yields, marginal sea-influenced climate
Sourced for: Russian River Valley Chardonnay
What to expect from the wines: Chardonnays with exciting tension between the yellow fruit flavors and stoney minerality.


For years, we knew Butch as a reliable source for tank and truck rentals when we needed to move loads of fruit in the county. What we didn't know was how long his family had been growers in Sonoma County since the Barbary Coast Era. When a friend tipped us off that Butch had some spectacular, old-vine Chardonnay in the heart of the Russian River Valley, we jumped. A visit to the site revealed a jewel of a vineyard with twisted old-vines planted in 1968 that were hanging the prized Wente Clone. That such opportunities still exist in the heart of the RRV amazes us. We acted swiftly to secure the entire block, the first harvest weighed in at just 4 tons.


Appellation: Russian River Valley
Vineyard designate: N/A
Soil type: Goldridge
Elevation: 200 feet


Image of Butch Cameron
vineyard map

Butch Cameron

Sonoma County growers since 1853

For years, we knew Butch as a reliable source for tank and truck rentals when we needed to move loads of fruit in the county. What we didn't know was how long his family had been growers in Sonoma County since the Barbary Coast Era. When a friend tipped us off that Butch had some spectacular, old-vine Chardonnay in the heart of the Russian River Valley, we jumped. A visit to the site revealed a jewel of a vineyard with twisted old-vines planted in 1968 that were hanging the prized Wente Clone. That such opportunities still exist in the heart of the RRV amazes us. We acted swiftly to secure the entire block,the first harvest weighed in at just 4 tons.

Appellation: Russian River Valley
Vineyard designate: N/A
Soil type: Goldridge
Elevation: 200 feet
Clone: Wente
Average age of vines: 45+ years

Unique aspect: old vines, choice clonal material, late ripening arc
Sourced for: Russian River Valley Chardonnay, Pet-Nat
What to expect from the wines: Concentrated, mineral-driven Chardonnay with an uncommonly savory profile. Citrus-driven Chardonnay with a long finish.


When you get Prudy Foxx talking about the Santa Cruz Mountains, you are bound to be taken on a journey to a hillside vine somewhere. Since 1989, she's been on a one-woman's mission to locate neglected vineyards, improve the farming, and find the right home for the grapes. At our first meeting, she compared the deep, sandy soils of Corralitos to a Great White Shark (both are slow to adopt the ambient temperature of their surroundings). Then she promptly led us to two stunning vineyard sites, La Marisma and Savaria, both on sand.


Appellation: Santa Cruz Mountains
Vineyard designate: La Marisma, Savaria
Soil type: sand and calcareous
Elevation: 200 feet


Image of Prudy Foxx

Prudy Foxx

Unabashed champion of forgotten Santa Cruz vineyards

When you get Prudy Foxx talking about the Santa Cruz Mountains, you are bound to be taken on a journey to a hillside vine somewhere. Since 1989, she's been on a one-woman's mission to locate neglected vineyards, improve the farming, and find the right home for the grapes. At our first meeting, she compared the deep, sandy soils of Corralitos to a Great White Shark (both are slow to adopt the ambient temperature of their surroundings). Then she promptly led us to two stunning vineyard sites, La Marisma and Savaria, both on sand.

Appellation: Santa Cruz Mountains
Vineyard designate: La Marisma, Savaria
Soil type: sand and calcareous
Elevation: 200 feet
Clone: Chardonnay Mt. Eden Clone & Clone 96, Pinot Noir Clones Pommard & 115
Average age of vines: 15+ years

Unique aspect: both sites within five miles of the Pacifc on distinctive, sandy soils
Sourced for: La Marisma Vineyard Chardonnay, Savaria Vineyard Pinot Noir
What to expect from the wines: Chardonnay with a briny, sea-influenced character and brisk acidity. Pinot Noir with freshly-picked, dark berry and exotic spice


In 2008, Peter Knez purchased two celebrated Anderson Valley parcels, Demuth and Cerise Vineyards, on the eastern slopes above the town of Boonville in Mendocino County. Long the source of some of the county's most expressive wines, we first visited Demuth Vineyard with hopes of finding some Pinot Noir. Instead, we found Chardonnay, exquisite, old-vine Wente Clone Chardonnay planted in tough, rocky soil. Meanwhile, we had long coveted the Cerise Vineyard, but were told every ton of fruit was spoken for. In 2013, with both sites under the watchful eye of Anthony Filiberti, the door to Cerise finally opened, being farmed biodynamically under the direction of winemaker Anthony Filiberti.


Appellation: Anderson Valley
Vineyard designate: Demuth, Cerise
Soil type: clay and fractured rock
Elevation: 1150-1750 feet


Image of Peter Knez & Anthony Filiberti

Peter Knez & Anthony Filiberti

Business guru meets California vigneron.

In 2008, Peter Knez purchased two celebrated Anderson Valley parcels, Demuth and Cerise Vineyards, on the eastern slopes above the town of Boonville in Mendocino County. Long the source of some of the county's most expressive wines, we first visited Demuth Vineyard with hopes of finding some Pinot Noir. Instead, we found Chardonnay, exquisite, old-vine Wente Clone Chardonnay planted in tough, rocky soil. Meanwhile, we had long coveted the Cerise Vineyard, but were told every ton of fruit was spoken for. In 2013, with both sites under the watchful eye of Anthony Filiberti, the door to Cerise finally opened, being farmed biodynamically under the direction of winemaker Anthony Filiberti.

Appellation: Anderson Valley
Vineyard designate: Demuth, Cerise
Soil type: clay and fractured rock
Elevation: 1150-1750 feet
Clone: Chardonnay Wente Clone; Pinot Noir Clones 115, 667, 777, & Pommard
Average age of vines: 30+ years

Unique aspect: biodynamic farming, altitude, original rootstocks, heritage clones
Sourced for: Demuth Vineyard Chardonnay and Cerise Vineyard Pinot Noir
What to expect from the wines: Low-alcohol Chardonnay that is super-complex and driven by a haunting minerality; a concentrated, mountain-grown Pinot Noir that


Bob and Claudia Klindt’s boutique 10-acre vineyard is tucked into the northwest corner of the Anderson Valley, a neighborhood the locals affectionately refer to as the “deep end” at the margin. It faces southwest and is ringed by enormous redwood trees on a southwest facing slope ringed by enormous redwood trees. Just 11 miles from the sea and cloaked in fog all summer, acidity is rarely a problem here. Yields are. On a good year, we might expect two tons per acre. The Klindts believe the wines from this part of the valley—in all their “foresty” glory—justify the means. We tend to agree.


Appellation: Anderson Valley
Vineyard designate: Klindt Vineyard
Soil type: decomposing sandstone and fractured rock
Elevation: 400 feet


Image of Bob & Claudia Klindt

Bob & Claudia Klindt

A stoic husband/wife team take on the “deep end”

Bob and Claudia Klindt’s boutique 10-acre vineyard is tucked into the northwest corner of the Anderson Valley, a neighborhood the locals affectionately refer to as the “deep end” at the margin. It faces southwest and is ringed by enormous redwood trees on a southwest facing slope ringed by enormous redwood trees. Just 11 miles from the sea and cloaked in fog all summer, acidity is rarely a problem here. Yields are. On a good year, we might expect two tons per acre. The Klindts believe the wines from this part of the valley—in all their “foresty” glory—justify the means. We tend to agree.

Appellation: Anderson Valley
Vineyard designate: Klindt Vineyard
Soil type: decomposing sandstone and fractured rock
Elevation: 400 feet
Clone: Pinot Noir Clones 115, 667, 777, and Pommard
Average age of vines: 15+ years

Unique aspect: marginal location, relationship to the redwoods, steep hillside planting, diverse clonal material
Sourced for: Klindt Vineyard Pinot Noir
What to expect from the wines: Pinot Noir that evokes a damp, coastal redwood forest


Jim has been working this same piece of land for 75-years. When we first met him he came rumbling down the hill on his ATV, two dogs barking from the back seat. As he approached us, I was taken aback at his ripe age, but when he shook my hand and began to tell us about his vineyard it was clear that this man with a vice-grip was still young at heart and as committed as ever to the responsible stewardship of his land. I asked him if I could take his picture and he declined, saying something like, "A picture of me will not help you sell any wine!" Actually he's wrong about that, because this man is the genuine article.


Appellation: Pine Mountain (newly formed AVA as of 2013)
Vineyard designate: N/A
Soil type: Clay and fractured rock
Elevation: 2400 - 2600 feet


Image of Jim McCutchan

Jim McCutchan

A vineyard man for the decades in the rugged Mendocino mountains

Jim has been working this same piece of land for 75-years. When we first met him he came rumbling down the hill on his ATV, two dogs barking from the back seat. As he approached us, I was taken aback at his ripe age, but when he shook my hand and began to tell us about his vineyard it was clear that this man with a vice-grip was still young at heart and as committed as ever to the responsible stewardship of his land. I asked him if I could take his picture and he declined, saying something like, "A picture of me will not help you sell any wine!" Actually he's wrong about that, because this man is the genuine article.

Appellation: Pine Mountain (newly formed AVA as of 2013)
Vineyard designate: N/A
Soil type: Clay and fractured rock
Elevation: 2400 - 2600 feet
Clone: Mother clone Carignan
Average age of vines: 70+ years

Unique aspect: Old vines, dry farming, high elevation site
Sourced for: Sativa, Indica
What to expect from the wines: Fresh red and dark fruit character, an earthy dustiness, true varietal character


Athan's wife, Denise grew up on the storied Lolonis ranch. She spent her summers swimming in the reservoir and her winters in front of the family hearth. So when the property came up for sale last year, she and Athan seized the opportunity. The two have been vigilantly restoring this pre-Prohibition property to its former glory. There are plantings of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Carignan, and Valdegue that date back to 1945, putting some of these vines into the category of "oldest in California."


Appellation: Redwood Valley
Vineyard designate: Lolonis
Soil type: Clay and fractured rock
Elevation: 400 feet


Image of Athan Poulos

Athan Poulos

Turns out, you Can Come Home Again

Athan's wife, Denise grew up on the storied Lolonis ranch. She spent her summers swimming in the reservoir and her winters in front of the family hearth. So when the property came up for sale last year, she and Athan seized the opportunity. The two have been vigilantly restoring this pre-Prohibition property to its former glory. There are plantings of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Carignan, and Valdegue that date back to 1945, putting some of these vines into the category of "oldest in California."

Appellation: Redwood Valley
Vineyard designate: Lolonis
Soil type: Clay and fractured rock
Elevation: 400 feet
Clone: Mother clone Carignan & Valdegue
Average age of vines: 70+ years

Unique aspect: Very old vines, dry farming, historical ranch, rare Valdegue vines
Sourced for: Sativa, Indica, Valdegue
What to expect from the wines: A dense, brambly, red fruit character (Carignan); a wholly unique briny, blue fruited, light bodied red (Valdegue).


Steve represents the latest generation at his family's "old-timey" California farm, replete with row crops, fruit orchards, livestock, and a well-manicured vineyard. This kind of farmyard diversification is rare in Sonoma County, where Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are king and queen. Steve believes the biodiversity on his farm enhances the complexity of his grapes. So do we. Situated west of the town of Sebastopol in the lee of the Laguna de la Santa Rosa, Steve's farm has provided LIOCO with remarkably expressive Pinot Noir since 2011, and beginning in 2013, equally expressive Chardonnay.


Appellation: Sonoma Coast
Vineyard designate: N/A
Soil type: Goldridge
Elevation: 200 feet


Image of Steven Moore
vineyard map

Steven Moore

Bohemian, musician, naturalist

Steve represents the latest generation at his family's "old-timey" California farm, replete with row crops, fruit orchards, livestock, and a well-manicured vineyard. This kind of farmyard diversification is rare in Sonoma County, where Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are king and queen. Steve believes the biodiversity on his farm enhances the complexity of his grapes. So do we. Situated west of the town of Sebastopol in the lee of the Laguna de la Santa Rosa, Steve's farm has provided LIOCO with remarkably expressive Pinot Noir since 2011, and beginning in 2013, equally expressive Chardonnay.

Appellation: Sonoma Coast
Vineyard designate: N/A
Soil type: Goldridge
Elevation: 200 feet
Clone: Chardonnay Clone 4, Pinot Noir Clones 777 & 115
Average age of vines: 15+ years

Unique aspect: poly-culture, closed-loop farming, choice clonal material
Sourced for: Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley Chardonnay
What to expect from the wines: Pinot Noir with a cooling, fresh-berry snappiness. Ripe Chardonnay character without any excess weight. The restrained, lemon-driven profile characteristic of Clone 4 Chardonnay growing in a cool climate.