Sierra Madre Vineyard Hires Winemaker Lane Tanner

Her finished wines reflect her philosophy of blending scientific principles with artistic understanding of the subtleties of well grown fruit to create quality flavors, aromas, and textures. This can only be done by sourcing the highest quality grapes and treating them with respect. Her path through three decades of winemaking has involved a bit of luck, lots of hard work and, always, a sense of humor with a glass of wine.

The luck? Hired by a Kelseyville winery in Lake County, Northern California, to label wine bottles, Lane was soon invited into the enology lab once they learned she had a degree in chemistry from San Jose State University. This winery had also hired Andre Tchelistcheff as a consultant and, on her first day in the lab, she received a battlefield promotion to enologist as she tasted wine samples and hit it off with the wine icon: “Have Lane test this; have Lane check that,” he ordered. This chance opportunity to work with Tchelistcheff soon led to his recommendation of her for enologist with Firestone Winery. That was the start of new opportunities in the budding Santa Barbara County wine scene.

Good fortune only takes one so far before the hard work starts. In 1984, she founded her own winery operation and began making wine for The Hitching Post restaurant under their label. Five years later, she launched her own Lane Tanner label and began making Pinot Noir with the deft touch of an artist who knows her chemistry and who loves wine. An independent spirit and one of the earliest female winemakers in Santa Barbara County, Lane produced 1,500 cases of Santa Barbara County ultra-premium wines annually for upwards of 25 years during the run of her “one woman show” which has since closed. The 2009 vintage was the last bottled under the Lane Tanner label.

Having worked with many quality Central Coast vineyards over the years, Lane has a special place in her heart for Sierra Madre. Her first harvest of this fruit dates back to 1984. “Sierra Madre Vineyard has always been my favorite vineyard,” she says “and I’m thrilled to be back working with this extraordinary piece of land. This is my dream job.” Lane became Sierra Madre Vineyard’s winemaker in 2012.

2007-2011 Sierra Madre Vineyard winemaker: Steve Rasmussen


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