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170 Wine & Spirit Purveyors • 70 of San Diego's Top Chefs
Celebrity Chefs • Cooking & Wine Tasting Classes
Big Bottle Auction • Continuous Food and Wine Tastings
Over 800 Wines • $50,000 Chef of The Fest Competition

Kristian Story

Winemaker for Kristian Story Wines

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Kristian Story, a Napa Valley, California winemaker, employs Ancien winemaking techniques to create his hand-crafted, unfiltered and unfined wines, fermented with French yeasts. Focused on the limited production of red Bordeaux varietals and small lots of Chardonnay, Merlot and Petite Sirah, Kristian believes the minimalist approach preserves and expresses the true varietal character of Kristian Story Wines.

"To make supple wines that are accessible in their youth, but suited to cellaring – the fruit, tannins, acidity and alcohol must be balanced and in harmony."
Kristian Story has been making artisan wines since 2000 with grapes grown, vinted and bottled on the Story family’s estate vineyard, St. Helena Winery.

Wine mentors have been Mark Herrold (Merus), Sarah Gott (Joseph Phelps, Quintessa & Blackbird), Francois Bugue (Cain), and his own father Peter Story (St. Helena Winery).
As well as the Kristian Story Signature series, Kristian has been tagged “Winemaker to the Stars” for his private label program for rockstars and athletes.

His passion and focus has resulted in plush, rich, layered and unabashedly seductive Bordeaux blends, rooted in old world techniques yet distinctively Californian.
Not bad for the Second-Story winemaker, half-French son of a Jersey boy!

Wine & Winemaking Philosophy
“A winemaker is an ambassador, a guide, an artist, whose purpose is to insure the fruit, which has been meticulously cared for, reveals its true essence, from the vine to the barrel to the bottle, with as little interference as possible.” Kristian Story

Kristian Story Wines focus is on small production, single-vineyard wines that characterize the qualities and the terroir of the classic French Bordeaux region. We hand harvest our grapes, section by section based on optimal ripeness, rather than in a block or in its entirety. They are then hand sorted and allowed to go through primary and secondary fermentation using French yeast. Skin contact is maximized, allowing the wines to develop, color, complexity and great lushness. Wines are then aged in four to five types of hand-selected French oak barrels. They are then bottled unfined and unfiltered, resulting in a bottle where the nuances of nature have been coaxed so that the wine that pours into your glass, offers its most pleasing and purest expression to your palate.

The Estate
Kristian Story Wine Cabernet fruit is estate grown at St. Helena Winery vineyards. This micro-winery sits in the middle of an 18 acre vineyard with gravelly and loamy sections on Pratt Avenue just east of the town of St. Helena and next to the Silverado trail.  Blocks 1 and 4, totaling 9 acres, St. Helena Appellation, yields some of the most intense fruit from its 101-14 rootstock and Cabernet Sauvignon clone ‘See, 191 and 337’ budwood. The pruning method is ‘cane’ style, administered and managed by Bulmaro Montes, a 40-year veteran whose acknowledgement within the industry finds him within the top three viticulturists in the Napa Valley. To fulfill Bulmaro’s and my instructions, we have three full time employees with a combined experience level of 56-years. Periodically through the growing season, fruit is ‘dropped’ to maintain low yields (2-3 tons per acre), control the quality of the fruit and allow for consistent ripeness throughout our selected section in the vineyard block. The low yields allow the remaining fruit to gain more concentrated flavors and Kristian Story Wines distinctive deep purple colors. We hand pick all of our fruit, only when they reach the target ripeness of 25.5 Brix. Then, and only then, will our crew harvest the fruit and bring it to the crush pad.

Our fruit is hand harvested, usually the 2nd to last weeks in October, into ½ ton bins. Typically, we find St Helena Springs lead into a temperate Summers with some warmer days in July, August and late September. In October, the days typically remain sunny with cool evenings and warm afternoon weather patterns. The long hang time helps our grapes to develop to a perfect balance, full maturity with maximum color. At the time of harvest, we hand pick the grapes, between 6:00AM and 10:00AM, at a temperature of not more than 48 degrees. This permits the destemmed grapes to ‘cold soak’ in the fermenting bins for ~ 6 days, before allowing the natural yeasts to begin the fermentation process. This delay in fermentation enables the ‘must’ to achieve maximum extraction of color, flavors and aromas into the juice, thus allowing the enzymes of these elements to be extracted before alcohol is formed. Kristian Story Wines’ approach to the wine making process makes for a more intense fruit forward and complex wine. After fermentation, the wine is placed into all new French Oak barrels, from five barrels manufacturers, with three different forest designations, with three different ‘toasting’ methods, and aged for about 20 months in our cellars. Then in June, the wines are bottled, here at the winery, and stored for bottle aging.

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