Three decades ago it was easy. Today, not at all.
I’m talking of drawing up my list of California’s 10 most-reliable wineries. Thankfully, it’s an exercise I indulge just once every 10 years. The first was in 1984.
Before getting to the fourth, let’s review the ground rules.
By most reliable, I mean wineries that can be counted on to provide quality and value across the board. They don’t do well just one or two wines, they do several, vintage after vintage.
Thirty years ago the list was relatively easy to assemble because far fewer California wineries existed. Furthermore, a winery back then customarily had but one brand, two at the most; today, consolidation and expansion has resulted in several massive wineries that are more wine companies – broad corporate umbrellas under which they release wines through dozens of brands.
So then, alphabetically: