The Black Sears Winery was originally little more than a red barn and a few fermentation tanks tucked precariously under a stand of gnarly oaks. Frankly, not much has changed. Hoping to preserve the rustic feel and natural setting of this charmingly unadorned facility, we chose to expand downward rather than outward.
From the road, things look the same, but in 2000, a modest cave was added. Three arms were dug into the side of the mountain underneath the vineyard.
For twelve years, winemaker Ted Lemon called the Black Sears winery home, producing both the Black Sears and Howell Mountain Vineyards wines as well as his own Littorai Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. But in 2007, we said goodbye as Ted fulfilled a lifelong dream and built his own winery in Sebastopol.
Soon thereafter, we learned that our friends and neighbors down Summit Lake Drive at Outpost needed some additional capacity. Winemaker Thomas Brown was taking on more projects, and Outpost’s facility was running out of room for them all. Most importantly, Thomas needed space to make his own Rivers-Marie wines.