Inside WALT

WALT Bytes

HALL & WALT Bytes goes behind-the-scenes to showcase how winemaking is more than a job, it’s a lifestyle. We will feature interviews, new tour and tasting experiences, wine trends, and happenings. There is an endless imagination and maverick-like spirit that lives among everyone who works and visits wine country – WALT Bytes shares a glimpse of that world.

Roasting Pinot Noir Stems


The winemaking process for our Anderson Valley Pinots is a little bit different from our other wines. Each year we gently roast the stems of the Pinot Noir grapes in a chili roaster. We then integrate the roasted stems into the fermentation tanks to impart structure, tannin, and dimension to the wine. We experimented with this process years ago and liked the resulting wine so much that we've continued it year after year.


Happy New Year's 2018!


Vintners Craig & Kathryn Hall sat down to share a message of gratitude for all of the fire-related support received in 2017 as part of their matching campaign, and share details about visiting numerous cities all over the country in 2018.


The Sound of Harvest - “Our Favorite Things”


Vintner Kathryn Hall channels her inner Maria Von Trapp as she shares some of her favorite things with HALL and WALT staffers. Enjoy our version of The Sound of Music’s “My Favorite Things”. We aren’t claiming to be award winning singers here, just award winning winemakers.

Happy New Year!

Craig, Kathryn and all of us from WALT Wines wish you a very happy 2016!

The 12 Days of Christmas

The holidays are about celebrating the great people in your life and for us, that means celebrating the fabulous team at HALL & WALT. Our team collaborated to recreate “The 12 Days of Christmas” song with each department singing a different verse. It’s our way of saying Season's Greetings combining laughter and humor, with a glass of HALL or WALT wine in hand. Cheers to all of you this holiday season and hope yours is filled with similar sentiments.

Episode 3: Perfect Summer Picnic Pairings with Certified Sommelier Ryan Williams

Summer is here and the first thing that comes to mind is hot weather, a summer hat and California beaches. In Napa Valley, to us it means delicious summer picnic baskets filled will all this Valley has to offer. Jen Cain had the chance to sit down with HALL’s Associate Visitor Center Manager and Certified Sommelier Ryan Williams to chat about summer wines and picnic pairings. The duo also share the date for our annual harvest event, Kathryn Hall Release Party, set for September 12 -- So grab a few bottles of wine and head out to enjoy these beautiful summer days – and may those wines be HALL or WALT. Cheers to summer!

Episode 2: HALL Rutherford's Appellation Exploration

In this episode, Jen takes us to the hills of Rutherford for a peek at our lucrative HALL Rutherford winery and underground Chandelier Cave Tasting room. Jen will get insight from lead HALL Rutherford Wine Educator Rob McGuire about the new ‘Appellation Exploration’ offering and learn what the experience all about. Learn how you can get a chance to visit one of Napa’s most spectacular experiences.

Episode 1: Pilot

Hosted by the charismatic Jennifer Cain, our first episode introduces a motley cast of characters from HALL & WALT who embody all facets of winemaking excellence. Featuring a guided tour through the vineyards of Sacrashe. This episode gives you a peek into the Napa Valley lifestyle that few get to live day-to-day.

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Blog

Our blog features behind-the-scenes details to showcase how winemaking is more than a job, it’s a lifestyle. We will feature interviews, new tour and tasting experiences, wine trends, and happenings. There is an endless imagination and maverick-like spirit that lives among everyone who works and visits wine country – WALT shares a glimpse of that world.


1000 Miles of Pinot Noir - Sonoma County

In the second edition of our 1000 Miles of Pinot Series, we have  Sonoma County  - a renowned grape growing region located just 80 miles north of San Francisco. Sonoma County is near and dear to our hearts because this is where WALT Wines started, and our original WALT tasting room is located just right off the Sonoma Plaza. Stop by for wine tasting and visit our tasting room!

Pinot Noir has a long history in Sonoma County. The first Pinot Noir vines were planted in the early 1800’s, but it wasn’t until the mid-20th century that the varietal really took off in the area.  In the 1960’s and 1970’s, a number of pioneering winemakers began experimenting with Pinot Noir, creating a “Pinot Noir renaissance” - and the grape quickly became one of the region’s most important varietals. Today, Pinot Noir represents over 20% of the county’s total vineyard acres (according to sonomacounty.com).  

What makes Sonoma County so special as a grape growing region is its mediterranean climate.  It’s bordered by two mountain ranges, the Mayacamas Mountains to the east and the Sonoma Mountains to the west, which protects it from the wet and cool influence of the Pacific Ocean. The grapes here experience foggy mornings that help to preserve their acidity, but after the fog burns off they see warm, dry afternoons that allows enough sunlight for Pinot Noir to ripen to perfection.

At WALT, we are big fans of Sonoma County because it’s such a large and incredibly diverse region.  It’s actually home to several different distinct growing regions within itself! The microclimates allow us to produce several different Sonoma County Pinot Noirs, each unique because of where the grapes are sourced from. 

Specifically, we source our fruit  from The Sonoma Coast AVA, which is the most coastal region of the County. Our Gap’s Crown, Bob’s Ranch, and La Brisa Pinot Noir are all from the Sonoma Coast region. The Sonoma Coast is known for its cooler climate and rocky soil. The wines often have notes of red fruit, along with earthy, mushroom, and herbal flavors. The acidity in Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is well-balanced, giving the wines a bright, fresh quality that make them particularly food friendly. 

A few other famous AVA’s within Sonoma County are the Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and the Petaluma Gap - each with its own unique characteristics and terroir. Whether you're a seasoned connoisseur or new to the world of wine, Sonoma County Pinot Noir has something for everyone. Here are a few of our recommendations:

WALT’s La Brisa Pinot Noir - Heavy fog and strong winds from the Petaluma Gap help develop vibrant, balanced fruit.  You’ll  find notes of strawberry, cherry, and clove in this rich wine. 
WALT’s Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir - Aged slightly longer in oak, this Sonoma Coast Pinot presents a powerful and concentrated palate that is deeply fruited and focused with spicy oak notes in the finish.
WALT’s Bob’s Ranch Pinot Noir - As our flagship wine, this Pinot hails from our best vineyard blocks at Bob’s Ranch each year. It boasts deep flavors of rhubarb and cola, over undertones of juicy plum and plush raspberry.  Whole cluster fermentation enhances the savory character and tannin structure. 


1000 Miles of Pinot Noir - The Willamette Valley AVA

WALT Wines was born as an ode to Kathryn Walt Hall’s mother and father, Bob and Dolores Walt. Bob was a dedicated grape grower, and his passion and deep reverence for the vines is the foundation for our extensive wine portfolio. 

Our goal is always for our wine to express the characteristics of the unique soils, climates, and farming practices of each distinct vineyard - what we refer to as terroir.  In this blog series, we’ll be diving into each unique AVA we source from, and how it influences WALT’s Pinot Noir. 

First up is the famous  Willamette Valley, located about 50 miles south of Portland, Oregon. This wine region is home to some of the world’s best Pinot Noir, and over 900 wineries!

The Willamette Valley has a cool, mild climate and well-draining soil - ideal for the very fickle Pinot Noir grape. Its temperate growing season allows the fruit to develop flavor and complexity slowly, while still retaining its natural acidity. The region also has a unique soil combination - primarily volcanic, with a mix of clay, loam, and silt. This creates Pinot Noir grapes that are bursting with flavor. Because of this, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is known for its bright fruit and refined elegance. 

We love the complex flavor profiles we’re able to create from our Willamette Valley fruit, sourced from Dick and Deirdre Shea who are pioneers of this grape growing region. In our Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (aptly named Shea Vineyard after the family), you’ll find notes of strawberry, rose petal and ruby grapefruit layered with earthy and spicy notes like baking spices. 

Overall, the Willamette Valley is a world-class growing region, known for its exceptional Pinot Noir wines. If you’re a fan of Pinot Noir, or if you are simply looking for a high-quality red wine, be sure to try a bottle of WALT’s Willamette Valley Pinot Noir - the highly rated Shea Vineyard.


When to Open a Bottle of Pinot Noir: What you need to know about Aging Wine

The most puzzling aspect of wine is determining which bottles to age and when to open them. The best time to age your wine is subjective and comes with preferences, but we’ve outlined a few of our recommendations to enjoy your WALT Pinot Noir to the fullest.

  • When it comes to Pinot Noir, it can be enjoyed best when aged 1-4 years. Since it is a lighter red than Cabernet Sauvignon, itf doesn’t necessarily need too many years to age.
  • For lighter wines like Chardonnay, it doesn’t need to age as long as the red wines. A good rule of thumb is about 1-3 years!
  • You just purchased a nice bottle of Pinot, and plan on drinking it in a few months. We’d recommend storing in a dedicated wine storage fridge. However, if you plan on enjoying your bottle sooner, no special storage is needed – cheers!
  • How long does Pinot Noir last in the fridge? Use an airtight seal for preserving your wine in the fridge – we like a silicone bottle stopper. Since the cork is porous and can allow for oxygen to enter, a good bottle stopper will help preserve the flavors of your wine. Before serving, let your Pinot warm up slightly, and enjoy!

Tips for Storing Pinot Noir

  • Temperature also plays a role in the aging process. A rule of thumb is that for Pinot Noir, it is best to store in a cool, dry place at 55 degrees Fahrenheit. No wine fridge? No problem. Although it is highly recommended, make sure that your bottle of Pinot is placed in dry, quiet, dark area. These factors can impact the aging process of your wine and can change the acids in it.

Roasting Pinot Noir Stems

The winemaking process for our Anderson Valley Pinots is a little bit different from our other wines. Each year we gently roast the stems of the Pinot Noir grapes in a chili roaster. We then integrate the roasted stems into the fermentation tanks to impart structure, tannin, and dimension to the wine. We experimented with this process years ago and liked the resulting wine so much that we've continued it year after year.


Happy New Year!

Vintners Craig & Kathryn Hall sat down to share a message of gratitude for all of the fire-related support received in 2017 as part of their matching campaign, and share details about visiting numerous cities all over the country in 2018.


The Sound of Harvest - "Our Favorite Things"

Vintner Kathryn Hall channels her inner Maria Von Trapp as she shares some of her favorite things with HALL and WALT staffers. Enjoy our version of The Sound of Music’s "My Favorite Things". We aren’t claiming to be award winning singers here, just award winning wine makers.

I am 21+ years old.