Stu Bewley planted his Mendocino vineyard in the mid-1990s. Given his down-to-earth nature, you’d never know that Stu co-founded California Cooler, the company that made the ubiquitous adult beverage of the ’80s. Having grown up in Lodi among a family of wine lovers, he ultimately set his sights on more serious juice. 

When you arrive at Alder Springs—a few hours north of the Bay Area, just 12 miles from the coast—you find yourself in the wilderness. The vineyard is perched 2,000 feet high in the mountains of Mendocino, hedged by a thick forest of redwoods. It’s easy to get lost in this large, rugged place without Stu guiding the way. To visit Hibou’s block, we jump into Stu’s old stick-shift Land Cruiser and we chat as he navigates the rough terrain.

We know when the fruit has reached perfection when we catch the bears eating it. Stu loses quite a bit of fruit every year to those bears. They’re a nuisance, but it’s their vineyard too, and Stu is passionate about the health of his land. He’s an incredibly committed grower, farming solely for quality. He spent a lot of time in Burgundy researching how to farm Pinot Noir and constantly experiments with blocks to better understand the clones, varieties, and microclimate. 

Standing in this mountain vineyard, there’s just a beautiful emptiness. You hear nothing but the crisp, clean wind in the trees. 

Pinot Noir, Syrah
777 Pinot Noir, 459 Pinot Noir, Alban 1 Syrah
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