Given the prohibitive cost of land in California, foregoing viticulture in favor of simply purchasing grapes from a grower and making wine from them is understandably common amongst modern winemakers. Martha Stoumen, however, goes beyond that by also farming around half of the vineyards she sources from as her background lends to a much more involved approach.
Putting her agriculture and Italian undergraduate studies to use, she went to work at a small farm and learning center in Tuscany that focused her efforts in the vineyard more often than the winery. Tasked with also cultivating the surrounding olive orchard and vegetables while tending to farm animals and bees translated to a vigneronne's mindset that saw growing grapes and making wine as part of a larger system.
Returning to pursue a Master's degree at UC Davis, Martha intermixed a series of apprenticeships across Germany, California, New Zealand, France and Italy, with the latter at the famed COS Winery being especially notable based on the quality of the 2016 Nero d'Avola.
Sourced from young, head-trained vines from Benson Ranch in Mendocino County (rare in California), farming is done with minimal intervention as is the elevage that sees 18 months in neutral oak.