Littorai | Sonoma County

Littorai Winery & Vineyards in Sonoma County, California

In 1992, Ted and Heidi Lemon travelled the length of the west coast of the United States looking for the best sites suited to growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They finally found their spot in the ‘true’ north coast of California - the littoral (coastal) zones of Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. This region was not known for premium viticulture at the time, but Ted Lemon was convinced that the varied soils and moderate climate with cooling fog would provide the ideal environment to make elegant and site-specific expressions of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Littorai's philosophy of winemaking is inspired by Ted's years in France (where he was the first American winemaker in Burgundy at Domaine Guy Roulot) and is based upon the concept of terroir. All of the sites in the Littorai vineyard portfolio have been carefully selected by Ted. Many of these are steep hillsides where yields and ripening conditions are marginal.

Today the majority of the sites are farmed biodynamically and all sites are farmed using only organic materials. Littorai does not use certification systems. Having studied the works of Rudolf Steiner, who believed in individual responsibility, Ted finds it hard to reconcile the fact that becoming certified would involve conceding some of his responsibility to external auditors, who cannot know and understand the sites as he does. Their wines are made with minimal intervention in order to allow the site to truly express itself in the glass. In Ted’s own words, “there is little place for winemaking in our style of production.”