Craig Haarmeyer’s winemaking goal is nothing less than the exploration and expression of what he calls “Sacramento terroir.” Haarmeyer Wine Cellars is a family team of Craig, his wife Kelly, and their children, Alex and Marian. Craig started the winery in 2008 by sourcing fruit from a vineyard farmed by Ron Silva just down the road in the little town of Galt, California. Craig’s focus is on both historically grown varietals (like Chenin Blanc from the marine-influenced Sacramento River Delta and old-vine Zinfandel from the rolling hills at the eastern edge of Lodi) and newer plantings of interest in the right soils and climates.
All of the vineyards are farmed organically, and picking decisions are based not on Brix but on flavor and pH, with the aim of keeping pH down in the 3.0–3.4 range. Whites are foot trodden, basket pressed, and racked to large-format neutral oak for native fermentation and sur lie élévage. Reds are all whole-bunch fermented—the Nebbiolo and the Calaveras Zinfandel are done with partial carbonic. Unless a problem arises with volatile acidity or acetaldehyde, no sulfur is used until a minimal dose at bottling, and all wines are bottled without fining or filtration.