Hidden away in the foothills of a dormant volcano in Lake County, just north of Napa Valley, Sol Rouge Vineyard and Winery is crafting under-the-radar, award winning wines. Sol Rouge gets its name from the red soils that blanket the region and contribute to the unique quality of the wines. Residing in the Red Hills AVA (American Viticultural Area) Sol Rouge sits at elevations over 1800 feet, allowing the vines to bask in the sun above the fog line.
France’s Rhone and Bordeaux varietals are the specialty and focus of Sol Rouge. At the helm of this inspiring and innovative new winery is Bryan Kane, Co-Owner and Winemaker. Recently retired from a successful career in the software industry, Bryan now focuses on a “non-intervention” philosophy, allowing the wines to reflect the vineyard from which they originate.
With a commitment to sustainable farming practices, natural winemaking and a focus on making wines from Rhone varietals, Bryan Kane has established himself as an awarding winning winemaker. Recognized as one of the “Next Generation of Cult Winemakers” by Somm Journal and Winemaker of the Year by American Fine Wine Competition, Bryan employs philosophy of “making wine in the field” in his wines and has total control over to implement this approach with Sol Rouge, his family estate vineyard.
Outside of some formal studies at UC Davis and learning through fellow winemakers working harvest for several years, Bryan has gained great knowledge and experience by working along-side of several established winemakers. First, Bryan worked two years along side of Scott Shapley, formally Assistant Winemaker at Siduri & Novy Cellars, winemaker for Roessler Cellars (now Walt Wines) and currently head winemaker at ROAR wines. Bryan continued to work along side of Scott as they both make their wines out of Copain’s crush facility where Bryan also worked along-side notable winemakers from DuMol, Domun, Carlisle, and Copain, of course. Later, Bryan to Nicholson Ranch where other great wines like Rivers-Marie and Schrader Cellars where produced. Bryan gained much of his knowledge working along-side these great winemakers. Although Bryan did not directly work with him, he also valued the mentoring offered by the late Denis Malbec, a third-generation winemaker from Ch. Latour and winemaker at several California Cult Wineries including Kapcsàndy Family Winery, Blankiet Estate, Sodaro Estate Winery, and Captûre Wines as well as his own wineries Notre Vin and Aliénor. His mentoring and guidance was invaluable and he will be missed.
Bryan also took over winemaking for the famed Howell Mountain Vineyards, following a line of great winemakers including Dave Phinney (Orin Swift), Ted Lemon (Littorai) and James Hall (Patz & Hall). Bryan also heads up winemaking for The Winery in San Francisco and an Italian wine project called Sottomarino Winery. Bryan also continues to consult at VIE Winery and other boutique wineries in the area, but his true passion is his estate winery – Sol Rouge Vineyard & Winery.
Acquiring these voluptuous wines is no easy feat due to the minuscule amounts produced. Purchasing is not open to the public and can only be achieved through their allocation list. Rooted in giving, Sol Rouge’s partnership supports great causes and allows Cellar Angels’ members access to these ultra-small production wines for a limited time during the year.
The estate grown fruit is the winemaker’s primary focus. Bryan believes in utilizing minimal intervention winemaking techniques to insure that the unique qualities of the terroir of the vineyard are reflected in the color, structure, nose and taste of the wine without unnecessary manipulation. So, by closely managing the vineyards and harvesting based on phenolics, he minimizes the need to make non-native additions in the winemaking process.
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