Walter Hansel was a lifelong wine enthusiast who had the vision to plant his estate's original 250 vines in 1978. Today, Stephen, Walter's son, has taken up where his father left off, pursuing his vision of producing world-class Burgundy-styled Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, all from the Russian River Valley.
Stephen Hansel's friend, famed winemaker Tom Rochioli, helped him in the early stages of his wine education by inviting him to work a couple of harvests at Rochioli vineyards. Steve performed his first solo attempt in 1996 out of his garage. At Walter Hansel Winery, the emphasis is on low yields (a miniscule range from 1.5 to 2.7 tons/acre) for greater complexity. Since all their grapes are grown on their own property, they can exercise strict control in the vineyards, which are planted with 5 Pinot and 5 Chardonnay clones.