Ketcham Estate’s mission is to make seductive wines with rich fruits, that have structure and balance and are very food friendly.
Originally specializing in top-notch Estate Grown Pinot Noir, Ketcham Estate is also now making award-winning Chardonnay, Viognier and Estate grown Pinot Noir Rosé wines.
Mark Ketcham (1955-2020) had long dreamt of owning a Vineyard in the Northern California wine country. That dream came true in 2000 when he purchased a Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyard in the heart of the Russian River Valley. The vineyard was quickly converted to 100% Estate Pinot Noir, while retaining the ‘Old Block Pinots’ that were its heritage. The goal was to develop a perfect matrix of Pinot Noir clones, married to the ‘terroir’ of sun, soil, wind and location, all bound by the small creek that borders the perimeter of the property.
In 2004, Mark founded Ketcham Estate to make wines from the heritage Pinot vines. Every taste of a Ketcham Estate Pinot tells the story of lovingly tended vines; each vintage yields a perfect balance of bright fruit combined with the acid and structure qualities that make outstanding Pinot Noirs. Ketcham Estate Pinot Noirs are drinkable on their own or paired with California’s bounty of wonderful foods.
The Team at Ketcham Estate believes that making good wines is the perfect marriage of the land and the hand.
Small annual releases and premium location allow Ketcham Estate to focus on creating exceptional wines and experiences for their friends and family.
Ketcham Estate is not about what the famed San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen used to call the “Prismatic Luminescence School of Wine Tasting”, or any type of wine snobbery. Just good wine with food, family and friends. Wine should not be some grand complication and neither is Ketcham Estate’s philosophy.
Proprietress, Allie Ketcham grew up in the mid-western town of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Allie studied art and literature at Denison & Oxford Universities. After hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in 1998, she found herself running away to a boat in Sausalito, California.
Allie worked for a decade as a nanny in Marin County where one of the mothers she worked for set her up on a blind date with Mark. After decadent meals, trips abroad and vintage car shows, they found themselves married at the Fairmont on Nob Hill.
In 2007 Mark and Allie moved to the vineyard property at Ketcham Estate. Together they created the brand and lifestyle of Ketcham Estate while building relationships with Pinot Noir lovers across the country. While Allie is eternally grateful to Mark for her children and the life they built, she is empowered to carry on the legacy of Ketcham Estate. She continues to live on the vineyard property with her two children Savannah, Nick and Tucker (the Boykin Spaniel) and three mischievous goats.
The estate vineyard has the terroir that Pinot Noir loves; warm, sunny days, and the cooler nights brought in by the breeze from the Pacific Ocean. Terroir is French for “a sense of place,” but has come to mean the combination of land, weather and other things that give the grapes, and thus, the wine, a distinct flavor and palate. There’s a lovely creek that meanders through the property about eight months a year, giving the vines a wonderful water table towards which they can stretch their roots. The dirt in the vineyard is a rich, red loam that the vines love.
The vineyard has a broad selection of Pinot Noir clones, which gives a palate from which they team blends their wines. Ketcham Estate grows the following clonal types of Pinot Noir: 115, 626, 777, 828, and Pommard 4. When you put this kind of diverse palate in the hands of a winemaker like Tami Collins, you get a wonderful alchemy that creates art in a bottle.
The vineyard manager, Roberto Ordaz, his wife Margarita and their children live in a 100-year-old house on the property and have for 30 years. The Ordaz Family adds a lot of love and care to the property.
Private tastings are hosted by appointment only at Ketcham Estate in Healdsburg.