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At Walter Hansel Winery, the emphasis is on low yields (which range from 1.5 to 2.7 tons/acre), precise viticulture and non-interventionist winemaking. Stephen Hansel (Walter's son) exercises strict control in the vineyards, producing beautiful - vineyard designated Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

All of Hansel's fruit is hand-harvested. Stephen makes an average of 9 passes through each vineyard including one pass just to pull the second crop. Each pass is time consuming and expensive but Stephen feels the vine rewards him with more concentrated flavours. Upon arrival at the winery the fruit is scrupulously sorted. Only natural yeasts are used during fermentation. The Chardonnays are whole cluster pressed into French oak for fermentation. The primary fermentation is kept cool to slowly complete in 2-3 weeks. Malolactic fermentation can last until early spring the next year. The Pinot Noirs are destemmed and fermented in open top fermenters. The resulting wines are beautifully balanced combining complexity and finesse.

Reviews for this winery

  • Vinous

    It is so refreshing to taste with proprietor Stephen Hansel. At a time when so many of the world's best wines are increasingly unaffordable for the normal consumer, Hansel has kept his prices decidedly reasonable. As I have written before, Hansel's wines epitomize what the Russian River does so well; namely rich, butter Chardonnays and forward, juicy Pinots.

    February 2016