23 to watch in 2023: Rosalind Reynolds, founder/winemaker of Emme Wines
Name: Rosalind Reynolds
Title: Founder and winemaker of Emme Wines, Sebastopol
On the job since: 2018
Hometown: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Why Reynolds is someone to watch:
With a science background in plant genetics and biology, winemaker Rosalind Reynolds says one of the most difficult parts of winemaking is deciding whether to lead with her head or her heart.
“Sometimes I look at a wine’s lab numbers and they tell me one thing. Then I taste and smell the wine and it tells me something different,” says Reynolds, founder of Emme Wines in Sebastopol. “It can be really hard for me to say ‘screw the numbers’ and go with my intuition. But that is a big part of winemaking—both science and instinct play equally strong parts.”
Reynolds, who launched Emme Wines in 2018, is also assistant winemaker at Pax Wines in Sebastopol, which serves as the production facility for her own brand.
At Emme Wines, Reynolds focuses on what she calls “old-school California varieties,” like carignane, colombard, merlot and zinfandel, as well as uncommon grapes like abouriou, valdiguié and “muscat vert” (moscato giallo). She produces about 10 single-varietal bottlings per year, as well as a field blend and co-fermented petillant-naturel with syrah and Jonathan apple juice (sourced from Tilted Shed Ciderworks).
While sourcing fruit from organic, sustainable vineyards is a priority to Reynolds, forging a personal connection with her growers is just as imperative.
What others are saying about Reynolds:
“Rosalind is a natural born winemaker. She can sit down and talk analytically about chemistry and wine health, then hop in a wine tank and dig it out faster than any other person in the winery. Her wines reflect her innocence and desire to be pure and concise. I think as wine lovers, we have a lot to look forward to from Rosalind as she continues to fine-tune her craft and fruit sources,” said Pax Mahle, founder and winemaker at Pax Wines in Sebastopol.
What Reynolds says about 2023:
“I’m really stoked to see what 2023 brings and look forward to continuing to do what I do, but on a deeper level. I definitely want to spend more time in the vineyard this winter and spring to gain more insight from the farmers I partner with. Every year I work with a particular vineyard, I gain more knowledge about its fruit, which leads to better, more precise wines. Admittedly, every year gets a little scarier, with wildfires, the ongoing drought, rising prices of glass bottles and other necessary goods. But I love working in agriculture, and I love our winemaking community. I really appreciate that The Press Democrat is celebrating local people and our impact on the Sonoma County community. It means a lot to be recognized, and I’m grateful you’re highlighting the work we do.“
Wine & Lifestyle Reporter
Wine is the indelible heartbeat of Sonoma County. As the wine industry continues to evolve, my job is to share the triumphs, challenges and trends that affect our local wine region, while highlighting the people — past and present — who have contributed to its success. In addition, I cover spirits, beer and on occasion, other lifestyle topics.
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