A love affair with Rhone varieties – Kim and Todd Engelhardt of Lion Ranch Vineyards Ep. 73

Sip Sip Hooray for Rhone wine varieties!

Our guests today are a husband and wife winemaking team, working and living in California’s Santa Clara Valley. This is a historic winemaking region, dating back to 1798, but Kim and Todd Engelhardt are adding their own chapter to the story, buying property and planting vineyards on land that, in the late 1880s, was known as Lion Ranch.

The Engelhardts went all in on Rhone wine varietals – and their honeymoon in the Rhone Valley sealed the deal. They visited Condrieu – where only Viognier is made – and fell in love with it. But they didn’t just buy and drink Viognier – they built a wine business – Lion Ranch Vineyards & Winery – around it. Now, with wines names like Lioness, Lion’s Share and Alpha, this winery roars.

Todd, an emergency room physician by night, handles organic farming, and the duo is moving into regenerative farming, along with incorporating Baby Doll sheep and bees into their ecosystem. Kim overseas the winery operations, sales and marketing and is the president of the winery association Wineries of Santa Clara Valley. Together they share winemaking duties. 

We’re delighted that Kim and Todd are taking time to chat with us on the pod. We know you’ll be smitten with them, their story, their approach to wine and, of course their wines. 

Wines tasted in this episode:

2021 Viognier, Santa Clara Valley (with a percentage of skin fermented Viognier)

2020 Cuvée Blanc, Santa Clara Valley (Picpoul Blanc, Roussanne, skin-fermented Grenache Blanc)

2020 Estate Alpha, Santa Clara Valley (Grenache Noir, Syrah, Terret Noir, Cinsault,  Muscardin, Mourvèdre, Vaccarèse, Counoise)

Visit Lion Ranch Vineyards & Winery – 645 W. San Martin Ave, San Martin, CA. Open Friday-Sunday, reservations recommended