Lois Rae Wines
Amazing Under-the-Radar Rhone-Style Wines
Our newest addition to the Debra Michael's Winery Farmers' Market is Lois Rae Wines, brought to you by winemaker, father, and commercial airline pilot Mark Finver. His family business is bringing something that you can't easily find in other Napa Boutiques.
Local writer Janet Alexander had a chance to catch up with mark in the cave where he was working on his Viognier, Grenache, and Syrah. Janet shared some of that meeting with us here, Between the Vines:
“One of the first times I went to a winery was 15 years ago in Oregon with my brother,” recalls winemaker, Mark Finver, from Lois Rae Wines. “I’m driving and my brother is sitting in the passenger seat holding a list of wineries in one hand and a map in the other and he gets Tony Rynders winemaker of Domaine Serene, on the phone who tells us to come on by. He’s giving us glasses from out of the barrel, there’s no tasting room, so I ask him ‘where can I buy your wine?’ Without saying a word, he opens a janitor’s closet and points down to the floor to this six-pack of wine ––‘would you like those?’ I paid in cash, and thought to myself I like this; this is kind of cool.” Since then, the Oregon wine scene has changed and Domaine Serene is one of the top Pinot wineries in Oregon.
When Mark isn’t up in the sky piloting international flights, he’s got his feet firmly planted on the ground ––more specifically, in the Carneros and El Dorado Hills. “As a small winemaker, I want to do the stuff that’s not out there; that’s more fun,” he begins to explain. I'm much more interested in varietals that are less common or wines made in a style less common. “There’s this idea among a lot of small wineries that you must make Cab, but what could I possibly add to that conversation? We’ve already got plenty of it out here” ––over an estimated 12,000 acres of it, in fact, compared to just 1,800 acres of Syrah.
Mark loved the small winery experience in Oregon and became a partner in a project to plant a Pinot Noir vineyard in the Willamette Valley. While the vineyard was fun and challenging, “I was drawn to the winemakers I was meeting up in Oregon and fascinated with how they all approached their craft.”
Mark’s journey into winemaking continued with taking oenology classes at UC Davis and helping friends who were winemakers in Napa. As he puts it: "They were generous with their time and knowledge and allowed me to help them with various steps in their winemaking. Everything from going out to the vineyard for the pick to dragging hoses to helping out with the blending. It is essential to where my winemaking is today.”
Since then he’s developed his label, Lois Rae, a combination of his two daughters’ middle names, to represent old-world style winemaking, which includes foot-stomping whole grape clusters ––“it’s colder than you think it would be,” Mark chuckles. His Syrah, Viognier and Grenache are light, fruit-focused and always food-friendly. His 2013 Syrah, sourced from a single vineyard in the Carneros, spends no more than 20 months in the barrel; his Grenache rests in a puncheon (double-sized barrel) to minimize its exposure to the wood for just a little more than a year; and his Viognier is kept in all stainless steel. In total, Mark’s small lot production is 200 cases a year. “I believe the real excitement in wine today is in the discovery of lesser known varietals or wines made in a different style.” he concludes
Kristen and Buddy Barberis
Barberis Family Vineyards | Calistoga, California
The first Petite Sirah available from Debra Michael's Winery Farmers' Market is grown in the Barberis Family Vineyard, pictured below. We got together and toasted a glass of Petite Sirah in the vineyard back at Bud Break in March of 2015.
If you are a grape grower, small artisan wine maker, or you know somebody that we could feature in our Online Farmers' Market, please let us know by posting to our Facebook page or emailing us at email@example.com.
Artisan Boutique Wine Cellars
Napa or Sonoma
We are very excited to introduce another under-the-radar wine to you. It will be a Chardonnay from a very talented team, but we cannot yet disclose the winemaker's name, the vineyard source, or vintage as we are still in talks to iron out which of their luxury wines to offer here. Join our mailing list to find out when each new wine is released!