Elaine Wines

Elaine Sale, owner of Elaine Wines always associated her best memories with wine tasting trips to Napa Valley and Sonoma. Reluctant to move to California while her children were still young, Elaine and her husband Mark waited until they were empty nesters to finally realize Elaine’s dream to live on a vineyard and make wine.

While still living in North Carolina, Elaine and Mark spent a year searching for land in Sonoma. They were drawn to the natural beauty and wonderful climate of the Russian River Valley, its welcoming community, supportive grape growers and winemakers and its renowned Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays.

cellar workers in a barrel room

They found a breathtakingly beautiful 3-acre vineyard on a steep, rugged site in the Russian River Valley, planted in 1998 (the same year their son Matt was born) to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Elaine and Mark built their house on the land and planned to continue farming the grapes and selling them – like the previous owners. But the winemaking bug bit her and she made two barrels of wine in 2017 – one barrel of Chardonnay and one Pinot Noir.

Elaine and Mark named it Calypte Vineyard after the hummingbirds – Calypte anna – that live in its surrounding oaks and madrones. They are committed to sustainably growing the best possible fruit and making Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that are true expressions of the vineyard.

aerial view of calypte vineyard

Calypte vineyard sits 14 miles east of the Pacific Ocean. The maritime climate allows the grapes to ripen slowly and develop optimal flavor for harvest. Cool fog rolls inland along the Russian River during the night and burns off by mid-day, resulting in warm sunny afternoons during growing season.

Sustainable farming practices welcome local wildlife. Hawks, owls and bobcats keep the gopher population under control. Pollinators enjoy the cover crops. Bluebirds and hummingbirds provide insect control.

woman winemaker standing by a bin of grapes

Elaine’s background in biology and chemistry comes in handy when it comes to winemaking, especially fermentation. Elaine now has a winemaking certificate course she got at UC Davis, which she completed online while still being a patent attorney. 

Elaine ages her Pinot Noir at least a year before release, and her portfolio has grown to four barrels of Pinot Noir. She is still practicing law, which helps her fund her vineyard and boutique winemaking operation.

The bottles of Elaine Wines are screen printed. The design was created by Elaine’s son Matt, who aside from being an aero-scientist, is an incredible artist. 

wine bottles in an oak forrest

While new to the winemaking world, Elaine’s wines have already garnered many awards and the following of many wine enthusiasts. Her efforts and determination have helped her win many awards and recognition from critics, including from the Sunset International Wine Competition – which gets more than 3,000 wines submitted. 

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Elaine Wines

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