Fred Williamson's winemaking experience dates back to 2009, when he began volunteering at Jaffurs Wine Cellars’ winery in Santa Barbara. He learned from Craig Jaffurs, through processing incoming grapes and handling the juice, about the extra steps that can be taken to improve the quality of wine. After many years of helping at the winery, he was ready to try making wine at home. Although small in quantities, the quality of his homemade wines prompted Fred to pursue winemaking on a larger scale.
We opened Rivahil Winery Tasting Room at 2901 Grand Ave. #C in Los Olivos in 2018. Considering all the varietals and range in quantity, we will produce no more than 200 cases of any one specific wine, with a total production of about 1,000 cases in 2016. This keeps within the plan for Rivahil Winery to produce a very boutique, small production, quality wine.
Much of how our wines are made is based on natural winemaking techniques, including the use of gravity-fed wine processing. Although nowadays there are some very good pumps that are quite gentle on grape juice and must, we prefer to move all of our wine by gravity throughout the fermenting, barreling, and bottling processes.
Fred's focus has been primarily on the red southern Rhône varietals, including Syrah, Petite Sirah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre. More recently, he has begun to make southern Rhône whites, including Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, and Viognier. He is venturing into Burgundian varietals with the 2016 harvest by introducing Chardonnay into the lineup of offerings.
We at Rivahil Winery are focused on making wines from the local terroir along California's Central Coast. Whether it’s cooler terrain like the Santa Rita Hills and Los Alamos, or warmer areas like Ballard, Foxen and Happy Canyons, each place has distinct microclimates that affect the fruit produced by the different varietals. We are devoted to making wines that highlight the locations of these vineyards, and all of our current wines are made from grapes grown within only a handful of miles from the winery in Buellton.