Friends & Family
The Back Story
The 'Collins Vineyard' was planted by the Babini family, just after the repeal of prohibition. Like many local Italian immigrants, they made their money from chickens and prunes. Planting grapes was more to keep the dirt busy. Not much else would grow in these poor soils anyway, but Zinfandel doesn't ask for much, and is well suited to California's dry summers, so in the ground it went. The year was 1934.
Come 1980, they were ready to cash in on the real estate boom and retire, so they sold the 10-acre ranch to Michael Collins (for $141K), who three years prior had purchased the 24-acre property across the street (also planted to Zinfandel). In 1989, the two parcels became one, forming the foundation of Limerick Lane Cellars, the now cult darling of the Zinfandel world.
By 2011, Mike was ready to retire, and with no heirs to inherit the business, he decided to sell. The Collins Vineyard (the 10-acre ranch), however, was not for sale. So he sold the winery and 24 acres to Jake Bilbro, and continued farming his ten acres, selling his fruit to Robert Biale and others.
By 2019, Mike's health was failing. After too much wine, too many cigarettes, and no regrets, he passed away in September 2019.
I first met Mike in 2000, when I was the assistant winemaker at Limerick Lane Cellars. After I left in 2002, we remained good friends, and I became the trustee of his estate when he passed. My wife and I, along with our one year old named George, now live in the house he called home for forty years, farming the land as he once did, making wine, and now, sharing it with you.
The Syrah was picked September 11, the Zinfandel on September 16. Everything was hand-picked, hand sorted, and crushed via a hand-cranked destemmer (much gentler on the fruit). Fermentation via indigenous yeast in open-top 1/2 ton fermenters, punched down 3-4 times daily, and pressed out after eleven days into third year Nadalie French oak barrels. Racked off the less twice and topped up monthly. Otherwise, we left it alone.
Two years is twice as long as most Zinfandels spend in barrel, as most producers wish to retain the lushness and spice of the grape. Here is the wine made by our friends across the street, same fruit, different approach. We opted to be patient, allowing more time to mellow. Ok, we had a baby, and no time to bottle it up. But it turned out beautifully. Is it a rich, California wine? Yes, but not over the top. It has plenty of counterbalancing acidity, the alcohol is well integrated, and although it drinks well right out of the gates, a few hours of air makes it sing. Cheers, and thank you.
- 78% Zinfandel
- 22% Syrah
- Alcohol: 14.9%
- Titratable acidity 6.3 g/L
- pH 3.82
- Volatile acidity (acetic) 0.75 g/L
The price is all inclusive for 12 bottles plus shipping. Once payment is received, we will be in touch regarding shipping. Expected delivery mid-December, tracking will be provided. Thank you!