California’s Original
BOURBON BARREL-AGED ZINFANDEL

Our Story

Wildlife Conservation Society Logo
The mighty buffalo is an iconic symbol of American heritage, a heritage woven with one thousand stories, unique traditions, and a pioneering spirit. Our country’s history of hard work and tenacity lives on today in each of us and continues to be at the essence of America’s character. This is the inspiration for 1,000 Stories, a unique wine aged in bourbon barrels—a reflection of our winemakers’ pioneering spirits. It’s not a quick process, but crafting by hand to meet exacting standards seldom is.

American Buffalo: The Next Chapter

Less than 200 years ago, between 30 and 60 million buffalo (also known as “bison”) roamed North American plains. In the late 19th century, mass slaughters brought the species to the brink of extinction with only 1,000 buffalo accounted for by 1906.

Buffalo

Thanks to strong conservation efforts started in the early 1900s by the American Bison Society (led by pioneering conservationist Theodore Roosevelt), the buffalo population has grown to about 450,000, yet fewer than 20,000 range freely. Realizing the buffalo population was still at risk, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) re-launched the American Bison Society in 2005.

Wildlife Conservation Society has built a network of experts and strong relationships with ranchers and Native American tribes in an effort to restore natural habitats for the buffalo population. 1,000 Stories proudly supports these efforts and works with WCS to develop programs to reintroduce buffalo into healthy environments where they may thrive and contribute to the ecosystems once again.

The Wine

Batch #001 of 1,000 Stories Bourbon barrel-aged Zinfandel was bottled October 29, 2014, signifying the melding of two American stories. The first is the story of the post-Gold Rush introduction of Zinfandel grapes to the state of California. The second story tells of the imprint of new Bourbon barrels (made from American oak). 1,000 Stories Zinfandel is aged in grand old bourbon barrels sourced from some of America’s classic bourbon producers.

1000 Stories Zinfandel

Harvest brix 25.1
Alcohol 15.2%
Acid 0.59
pH 3.69
Residual sugar 0.6%
Zinfandel 85.0%
Petite Sirah 13.0%
Syrah 2.0%
Batch 001 cases 5000

Batch #001: 2013

The wine has a deep, rich purple color. An intense raspberry fruit is on the nose, with black pepper spice and a touch of cloves and dried herbs. The palate is full with ripe tannins, big black and red fruits, followed by an array of spices. The wine finishes with a touch of warmth that lingers on and on.

VINEYARDS

The Mendocino Zinfandel vineyards are located on the 26 miles of benchland that stretches from The Redwood Valley south to The Sanel Valley, and range in age from 9-45 years old. The grapes come from vineyards such as the Grider, Buckholtz, Mattern, Poor, and Hooper, with family histories dating back to the 1880s. The grapes are trained in a traditional head trained configuration (typical of the very first plantings), with only a single stake holding the vine to a modern vertical trellis system, supporting the vine with a wire.

One of the keys to making great Zinfandel is picking the grapes very ripe, which brings big raspberry and black pepper spice flavors to the forefront. 1,000 Stories grapes are sourced from vineyards separated from the Pacific Coast by the coastal range, providing the ideal climate for that essential ripeness. Each individual lot is made separately and then aged in American and French oak wine barrels before finishing the aging in bourbon barrels.

BARRELS

We are dedicated to incorporating the gentle impact of new Bourbon oak barrels into the Zinfandel wine, with its charred vanilla and dried herbs flavors. The new bourbon barrels from Independent Stave Company give the same impact as a wine barrel, but with a unique flavor profile. Finally, the blend is aged in grand old bourbon barrels from distilleries such as Heaven Hill and Four Roses. Some of these barrels are 13 years old and were once used to make the highest quality bourbon.

Bourbon is uniquely American. It is derived from indigenous corn and aged in native, locally made American Oak barrels that have been toasted and charred to give bourbon its distinctive color and taste. This American whiskey became known as bourbon due to its association with the area of Kentucky known as Old Bourbon in the early 1800s.

VARIETAL

Zinfandel found its way to the American east coast in the early 19th century, reaching California by 1852. By 1858, wine made from Zinfandel grapes was being celebrated for its exceptional quality. The grape was first exhibited at the California State Fair in 1858. From that point its popularity spread, especially across the north coast and into Mendocino County, eventually emerging as a primary grape variety for the area.

Winemaker

Every harvest, winemaker Bob Blue experiments with new techniques and styles. In his early days as a winemaker, oak wine barrels were difficult to acquire. He recalled using bourbon barrels for aging everything from Chardonnay to Zinfandel. At the time, the goal was to neutralize the charred characteristics before aging the wine. After the harvest of 2013, Bob wondered what would happen if the flavor profiles imparted by new and used bourbon barrels were to be accentuated during the aging process. The idea for 1000 Stories Zinfandel was born, and every small batch crafted since is a nod to one of Bob’s first stories.