Rob talks to us about his own very special style when it comes to winemaking
Rob Sinskey is an atypical vintner. He is a native Californian and a wine guy who did not attend wine school. Instead, Rob received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Parsons School of Design in New York City, where the only thing happening in agriculture was conducted in apartment closets. Over the past twenty-five years he has grown his 100% organic and Biodynamic certified winegrowing operation to over 200 acres of premium vineyards in the Carneros and Stags Leap districts of Napa and Sonoma Valleys.
Robert Sinskey. Daydream Believer, Vintner.
It all began when a six-month assignment assisting his father turned into a twenty-five year obsession. "After a stint in advertising, I was looking for something real where I could, excuse the pun, put down roots. Then, my father called for help. His avocation in wine growing had developed into a fledgling business and he needed assistance. I think a week had passed before I discovered that his avocation had become my obsession".
Rob's philosophy that "Wine is not an athletic event," still holds true to this day. The goal is to make "pure wines of character that pair well with cuisine." Rob believes that wine should not be a "quick study," but rather, sneak up on you, seduce you, and evolve in the glass and in the bottle.
With a solid belief that artisanal winemaking begins with the care of the land, Rob, along with winemaker Jeff Virnig, quietly converted their vineyards to organics beginning in 1991. As they honed their craft, they slowly and methodically developed biodynamic “whole farm” practices. Rob and Jeff adopted methods that not only produced wines of individuality, but also left a minimal footprint on the land. They believed in developing vineyard ecosystems with the utilization of farm animals, the development of beneficial predatory bird and animal habitat and fish friendly farming practices. Equally important, though less obvious, has been their development of a living soil system by establishing farm methods that encourage vigorous populations of microorganisms through the use of cover crops, composts, biodynamic preparations and the utilization of low impact farm implements.
Looking beyond the vineyard, Rob Sinskey and the crew of RSV have taken a leadership role in reducing their carbon footprint by generating 75% of the energy used at the winery through solar photovoltaic installations and the brewing of bio-diesel, made from used restaurant oil, to power their trucks and tractors.
Rob Sinskey believes that the goals of making luxuriously elegant wines and farming with earth friendly methods are not mutually exclusive. Rather, he has found that caring for the land and conscientious business practices have helped to define the well-crafted wines of RSV.
Jeff Vernig. Winemaker.
Jeff became one of the youngest winemakers in Napa Valley when he was promoted in 1991. He consistently improves wine quality by helping the vine achieve a natural balance through soil building and sustainable farming methods.
Jeff graduated in 1984 from Cal Poly with a BS in agriculture business management. From there he attended the school of hard knocks, gaining valuable hands-on viticultural experience working amongst vines at the Mayacamas vineyard and winery. In 1988, he joined RSV as an assistant winemaker and became one of the youngest winemakers in Napa Valley when he was promoted to winemaker in 1991.
Over the past decade, Jeff has been instrumental in developing the Los Carneros of Napa Valley vineyards owned by RSV. His emphasis has been on improving wine quality by helping the vine achieve a natural balance through soil building and sustainable farming methods. He has sought to keep the various lots and ranches separate so that they may be evaluated for their individual qualities. The separate lots allow for total flexibility in the wine making process. Jeff can apply different fermentation techniques to each lot to accentuate that lot's inherent character. His attention to detail has greatly contributed to the quality and consistency of RSV wines.