The Winemaker: Thomas Rivers Brown
Thomas is one of the most celebrated winemakers in California, as evidenced by the extraordinary ratings, awards and accolades he has received from industry luminaries. The story that we would like to share is how Thomas came to be involved with a fledgling vineyard in an obscure locale, far from the usual prestigious wine regions of California. In Thomas’s own words:
“Pine Mountain Vineyards was one of the great revelations for harvest 2009. Every year, I take fruit from a few new vineyards to try and find something new and exciting for my various programs. After taking a ride to the edge of Alexander Valley, Pine Mountain looked like a vineyard with great potential. It was only after harvesting the fruit and midway through fermentation that we realized just how special this site is. Incredibly dark and super perfumey, the 2009 already exhibits great balance and structure to balance its red and black fruit core. The 2009 looks to be one of the stars of the vintage and I have no doubt we will do even better in the coming years.”
This praise was the greatest encouragement imaginable to the new owner of Pine Mountain Vineyards. Hien was convinced of the exceptional quality of the site, but the confirmation of those beliefs by a winemaker of Thomas’s caliber and stature was truly inspiring. What started as a new direction in a personal journey and a homage to a culture that has pervaded his life is now taking on another dimension. A fascinating potential is waiting to be explored and developed under the guidance of the best possible mentor. This has galvanized Hien’s energy and generated a new dedication to producing the best possible fruit, deserving of Thomas’s artistry, and conveying the true expression of the Pine Mountain terroir.
Thomas has produced Pine Mountain Vineyards wine since the 2010 vintage. His continuing encouragement has inspired our efforts to enhance the operation of the vineyards in order to improve the quality of our fruit. Much progress has been made but this work is on-going. The standards are high, but we are committed to continue to strive towards perfection. Much more than the expert and teacher in winemaking he incomparably is, Thomas has also been an invaluable guide in navigating the complex business world of grapevine farming and wine commerce.
In these ways, Thomas Rivers Brown has been and remains the essential driving force behind the Ampère story.