A Craft Hard Cider Company In The Heart Of Humboldt County, California.
Meet Wrangletown's Cider Maker
Wrangletown Owner, Pat Knittel, was born to be outdoors growing up in a small town outside of Eureka in Humboldt County, California - a beautiful coastal area situated between the Redwood District and the Six Rivers National Forest. Her father, a geologist, imparted a strong appreciation for the science of nature. She learned to have a critical eye for the influence of soils via the family vegetable garden.
Knittel went on to study vocal performance at San Francisco University, and then worked in banking for 10 years. All the while, she yearned for a vocation that would take her back to nature. In 2000 Knittel focused on winemaking – with particular attention to the Napa and Sonoma regions as her learning ground. Back to school at UC Davis and Napa Valley College, she took on dual positions at Silverado Vineyards in the tasting room and lab. From there, Knittel steadily refined her skills with at Ravenswood, taking advantage of off-seasons to work the harvest at Villa Maria Winery in New Zealand and gained extensive experience in the cellar before becoming a cellar hand and ultimately an Enologist at Etude. It was at these two wineries – in very different climates - where Knittel focused on perfecting the art of producing Pinot Noir.
For the past five years, Knittel has worked with globally renowned Master Sommelier Emmanuel Kemiji and produced David Family wines. “I've been very fortunate to work with some of the best growers in California,” Knittel reflects. “Spending time working in the vineyard throughout the season with growers at the top of their game is an enriching, educational experience,” she continued. Those growers include some at the top of their game – such as Pisoni Vineyard, Gary’s Vineyard, and Mission Ranch. “It is extremely important and informs your decision making once the fruit comes into the winery,” Knittel notes. “As a winemaker, I work with what is given by being flexible in my approach towards growing conditions, and at the winery. By avoiding a formulaic approach, I enjoy the process more and ultimately, produce a better wine.”
The secret to Perfect Pinot?
“Avoid the formulaic approach when it comes to making Pinot Noir. It’s crucial to be flexible and allow the grapes to present their true flavors. This is what ultimately produces the perfect Pinots of the world, those with depth of their terroir and expression of climate.”