Brothers Making Award Winning Wine
At Marietta Cellars, affordable wines meet winning Reviews.
The Bilbro family makes wine differently.
At Healdsburg’s Marietta Cellars, the family business since 1978, thirtysomething brothers Jake and Scot Bilbro craft red wine blends that span varietals and vintages. The result: big, bold flavors that taste the same every harvest, much like you’d find in vodka or champagne. And price points below $30—which all wine drinkers can enjoy.
“It’s like we hack the system,” says Jake. “We take each individual ingredient, get each item to its peak of quality, and when everything is ready, we blend them together to create something special.”
For the first few years, connoisseurs were skeptical of this approach, hesitant to give the unique perspective a nod. Then, after Jake and Scot bought out their dad in 2013, critics came around in a big way.
Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate was first. In 2013, he tabbed the Christo Lot Number One, a Rhône blend, “killer wine” with great value, and said, “If readers have not yet learned the formula here, it is: Marietta Cellars equals high quality, modest prices, and considerable pleasure.” He gave the wine 92 points.
In December, another of the Bilbro wines—the 2012 Russian River Valley Zinfandel from sister label Limerick Lane Cellars—was awarded Number 12 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2015. It was the highest-rated Sonoma County wine on the list and the only Zinfandel to make the cut. This one scored 94 points.
Jake Bilbro considers this acclaim validation for a style his father began nearly four decades ago.
“Our goal is to make good wine at good value. Period,” he says.
Experiencing these wines as a visitor can be tricky. Marietta has no tasting room, but its wines can be found at local restaurants such as La Gare in Santa Rosa. Limerick Lane, on the other hand, has a tasting room on the family vineyard in the Russian River Valley. On any given day, you might walk in to find Jake or Scot working the bar. Because the Bilbros do hospitality differently, too. limericklanewines.com, mariettacellars.com.