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If you are a consumer of wine —and I am in any way helpful with your wine buying — than these pages are the most important on Opening a Bottle. To make my list of Essential Winemakers, these producers need to consistently churn out fantastic wine.

Our Criteria

Essential Winemaker Criteria: 3 or more different wines or 3 or more different vintages

The main point is this: consistency. If they’re on this list, they make consistently excellent wines and you cannot go wrong with them.

I’ve included only essential winemakers from the areas that I specialize in, with Italy, France and California being the most notable. Open each link to read more.

Montelupo Albese, Italy, Essential Winemakers


Includes: Abbazia di Novacella, Arianna Occhipinti, ARPEPE, Azienda Agricola COS, Bisol, Castello di Volpaia, Fattoria Selvapiana, Marchesi di Gresy, Marco Felluga/Russiz Superiore, Nino Negri, Oddero, Pio Cesare, Produttori del Barbaresco, Vietti, Zenato. Read more

vineyards near Beaujeu, Beaujolais, Rhone-Alpes, France, Essential Winemakers


Includes: Château du Moulin-à-Vent, Champagne Gosset, Bernard Defaix, Eric Texier, Olivier Bernstein, Pierre Sparr. Read more

Vineyards in the province of La Rioja in Spain, Essential Winemakers


Includes: Alvaro Palacios, Clos Pons, Joan d’Anguera, Telmo Rodriguez. Read more

MacRostie Winery, Russian River Valley, California Essential Winemakers


Includes: Cain, Copain, Ehlers Estate, FEL Wines, Fort Ross, Qupé, Red Car. Read more

Stoller Vineyards, Willamette Valley, Oregon Essential Winemakers


Includes: Raptor Ridge Winery, Trisaetum, Elk Cove Vineyards, WillaKenzie Estate. Read more


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