Dirty and Rowdy Family Winery dissolves as partner opts for new wine local brand

Hardy Wallace and his wife, Kate Graham, will now devote their time to their new label, Extradimensional Wine Co. Yeah!.|

The team behind Dirty and Rowdy Family Wines has dissolved after 11 years of being at the forefront of the natural winemaking style that has gained in popularity with younger consumers.

Hardy Wallace announced on Wednesday that he ended his partnership with co-founder Matt Richardson and said that it was “an amicable split” with the Napa label dissolving.

The winery, which had operated out of a space at the Sugarloaf Crush facility in Sonoma County, had grown to producing about 4,500 caseloads annually and had its best year in 2020 thanks to its strong direct-to-consumer business, Wallace said.

Dirty and Rowdy helped promote “natural wine” wine movement that concentrates on organically grown grapes that are processed as minimally as possible through fermentation.

Wallace and his wife, Kate Graham, will now focus on their new label, Extradimensional Wine Co. Yeah!, which will be even more adventurous than his previous venture. The caseload will likely be half than what Dirty and Rowdy produced and its 2019 and 2020 vintages will be available later this month for sale on its website at https://winecoyeah.com

“For us, the big part is to go deeper into experimentation and having a lot more fun with it,” Wallace said.

He said he would like to produce more wines similar to one Dirty and Rowdy created for a farmworker relief fund. That blended wine had 40% of various white varieties grown from old vines that on “paper sounds horrible until you tried it.”

Ames Morison steps down as winemaker at his Healdsburg winery

Co-founder Ames Morison has stepped down as winemaker from Medlock Ames to concentrate on improving upon the Healdsburg winery’s sustainability goals and more publicly advocating for policies to mitigate climate change.

Abby Watt will succeed Morison as winemaker after he served 19 years at the helm of the Alexander Valley winery known for its Bordeaux blends. Watt joined the winery in 2020 as associate winemaker after previous roles at Peay Vineyards and Kosta Browne.

Morison in his new role will focus on implementing a five-year plan to set new environmental benchmarks through regenerative farming at its Bell Mountain Vineyard, water conservation, fire prevention, community development and eliminating carbon emissions.

“As I transition into a new role, I'm excited to concentrate my time and energy to push Medlock Ames to be a force for good in the world and focus on our climate impact, biodiversity, and inclusive culture,” Morison said in a statement.

In addition, Kim Pasquali has been promoted to director of sales and marketing at the winery.

St. Helena winery buys nearby vineyard

Sullivan Rutherford Estate of St. Helena has bought the nearby Criscione Vineyard, an 18-acre property with half of the land planted to vines.

The vineyard was first established in 2000 and provided grapes to such premium wineries as Hall Wines and Ovid Napa Valley. The purchase price was not disclosed.

It is located at the base of Howell Mountain where the east-facing vineyard is aided by breezes coming off the mountain and the Bell Canyon Reservoir to grow cabernet sauvignon.

A family partnership led by Juan Pablo Torres Padilla owns the winery. It has its own first estate vineyards in Rutherford and a 12-acre parcel of land in the Soda Canyon, which it bought in 2019 to be developed into a vineyard.

Editor’s note: The story has been updated to correct the location of the first estate vineyards for Sullivan Rutherford Estate.

Compiled by Bill Swindell. Submit items to bill.swindell@pressdemocrat.com.

Bill Swindell

Business, Beer and Wine, The Press Democrat  

In the North Coast, we are surrounded by hundreds of wineries along with some of the best breweries, cidermakers and distillers. These industries produce an abundance of drinks as well as good stories – and those are what I’m interested in writing. I also keep my eye on our growing cannabis industry and other agricultural crops, which have provided the backbone for our food-and-wine culture for generations.

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