Kathleen Inman grew up in Napa Valley. It was while she was in college that she took a wine tasting class in college and she learned what Napa met to this industry. She fell in love with wine and during summer break from college she started work in a tasting room of a new winery in Napa Valley. Her first customer of that day was a young man with a British accent who was visiting the area. Kathleen mentioned that she was hoping to visit London the following year as an exchange student. While he was only there for a short time, Simon was very enamored by Kathleen, but he had forgotten to get her name when he was there. When he returned home he wrote the winery a letter begging to put him in contact with her.
The two became pen pals and when she did get to London for her studies they started dating and now have been married over 30 years. While the romance got its start in a tasting room, Kathleen’s winemaking dream was put on hold as “life” took over and she took on a practical career in accounting and finance, growing in her occupation and raising their two daughters.
Kathleen and Simon’s love of wine was important to them while in England as they developed their cellar and their tastes. They regularly traveled so some of the great wine growing regions of Europe. Fate again returned as the family was visiting Napa in the late 90s and were drawn to the beauty and variety of wines in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino. The decided it was time to live the dream and made the big move to Sonoma County. With no formal training or experience in winemaking but full of passion for this life, they started searching for the right place to start. They found it at a 10.75 acre vineyard and farmhouse along Olivet Road near Santa Rosa in the late 90s. Their first vintage was 2002.
As they began construction on their winemaking dream, both Kathleen and Simon were set on an eco-friendly adventure. The winery/tasting room building was constructed with a focus on efficiency and sustainability using recycled materials such as structural steel made from recycled cars. All waste water is recaptured by below ground tanks and used to irrigate the vineyard. Roof-mounted solar panels produce electricity for the building and they have the first privately owned public charging station for electric vehicles in the county. The building could be LEEDS certified but they would rather spend the money on the winery than obtaining the certificate.
All packaging material is 100% bio-degradable and they only utilize recycled paper, glass and plastic. The wine bottles are the lightest possible that will still accept a Stelvin closure (rather than using corks). Labels are made of recycled materials and water or soy-based inks.
In their Olivet Grange Vineyard this eco-friendly philosophy continues with sustainable and organic viticulture practices. Fermentation is started with native yeasts and as a rule, no other water or acid is added. They pick the fruit earlier than others to maintain the natural acidity of the fruit. Only organic fertilizers and fungicides are used.
A visit to Inman Family Wines is by appointment only. A private tasting and vineyard tour with the winemaker/owner is also available by appointment.
The 2014 Endless Crush Rosé is made in the same French style as the Rosé is made in Provence where Kathleen and Simon sampled their first dry Rosé. The first vintage of Endless Crush was on their 20th anniversary. This wine has a light delicate pink color and the aromas and flavors of strawberry, guava, watermelon and a touch of citrus wrapped up in a nice acidity and minerality. The price is $25.
The Inman Family 2012 Thorn Ridge Ranch Pinot Noir has a very intense nose of red and black berries and spice. On the nose you will enjoy the flavors of blackberry, strawberry, red and black cherry, herbs and tea leading to a nice smooth well-balanced finish. The price is $68.
The 2011 OGV Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is from the Olivet Grange Vineyard out the back door of the winery. It delivers the aromas and flavors of red cherry, red raspberry, herbs and spice. The price is $68.
For more information: Inman Family Wines