Stage Left Cellars Journal


We took a Stage Left of our own and have closed our business.

We are SOLD OUT!



There once was a lady from Nantucket... woops, wrong story. Like many small wineries, Stage Left grew out of a passion for wine...collecting, drinking, studying, experimenting. But more importantly, Stage Left grew from the thread of experiences and adventures that came with that passion. Some might say that the more we drank, the better the idea of starting a winery sounded. Is that wrong?

At the end of the day, wine opened doors to new cultures, new friends, and lasting memories. In so many ways, it has been a catalyst for change in our lives. Yet isn't it just a freaking beverage? How can a "simple" drink have such an impact?

In the most basic sense, Stage Left is our path to discovery. It's our exit from the every day. One we hope to share with you.

What's your stage left?



The Owner

Melinda Doty - Midwest farmer's daughter goes California. Melinda came out of a successful career in sales, marketing and distribution, and is the brains and driving force behind our little operation. Her creative spirit and take no prisoners attitude combine with her exceptional palate and unyielding dedication to deliver a new kind of wine experience.


The Winemaker

Rich Williams- Part mad scientist, part shepherd, Rich balances a (ridiculous) dedication to experimentation and a commitment to minimizing interference in his winemaking style.


The Supporting Cast

Stage Left couldn't happen without the help and support of our growers, vineyard managers, friends and family.


Great fruit equals great wine. And while we're fans of new winemaking technology, for all intents and purposes, we're old school. That whole saying about 80% of a great wine is made in the vineyard? We tend to think it's more like 90%. Some think we say that to keep our winemaker's ego in check. No comment.

Everything at Stage Left is done by hand, in small lots. We hand-pick and hand-sort every last cluster of fruit, and only the best raw material makes it through to production. We don't use any beastly pumps or augers, either. It's extra work, but we eliminate excess handling. For the most part, we simply smooth things along so Mother Nature can do her thing. And then we try all kinds of crazy experiments on micro lots to see if we can outdo her.


There's a ton of chatter about the evils of fining and filtration these days. And then there's the wild yeast versus commercial yeast thing, the use of enzymes, tannin additions... oh my! If you ask us, winemaking is full of choices. And those choices sometimes benefit from the use of the occasional voodoo tool.

So here's where we stand. As a general rule, we avoid fining and filtration wherever possible. Our winemaker tends to lightly fine his whites (he likes 'em clear), cringes at the thought of fining his reds (swears he hasn't had to do it), and in general REALLY dislikes filtration. But we try to avoid that whole "never" thing.

Stage Left's winemaking style is centered on experimentation. As a result, we try lots of new things. Sure, we've tried macerating enzymes. We definitely mix it up with commercial yeast. We've even run trials on tannins to gauge their anti-oxidative effects to lower the use of SO2. But not one of us inhaled. In the end, we still lean the old fashioned way. We're fortunate to have amazing vineyards and fruit that can allow us to limit our intervention. But we'll continue to push the limits of our knowledge. Why? Sometimes it's more important to know what not to do.


We like oak. But you can definitely have too much of a good thing. We use only the finest French, American, Russian and Hungarian barrels available. And we use them as a chef uses a spice rack - to add complexity, depth, and interest - not to make you feel like you're chewing on the leg of Aunt Freeda's coffee table.

For the record, some of our wines never see oak. We're actually big fans of the new breed of stainless steel barrels. Especially with our Viognier and Roussanne.


Ahh, terroir. We love the concept. In fact, some of our favorite juice is terroir-driven. But we want to make the best wines we can make, period. If that means blending, we blend. If that means a wine that singularly expresses its varietal, vineyard, and climate, then terroir it is.