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Winemaker Charlie Gilmore Realizes His Dream With Cormorant Cellars

Winemaker Charlie Gilmore’s philosophy is that the best wines are made with simplicity. In 2018, he founded Cormorant Cellars to create a small collection of Old World style wines made from certified organic grapes grown in Sonoma, Monterey, and the Santa Cruz Mountains. The wines are unfined, unfiltered, and sourced 100% from vineyards without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.

Gilmore takes a hands-off approach in the winery, using only ambient yeast from the vineyard and minimal manipulation. The resulting wines, including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, a Grenache Blanc/Marsanne blend, and a red blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot, showcase clarity and purpose with bright acidity reminiscent of California wines from decades past.

The name “Cormorant Cellars” reflects Gilmore’s childhood memories of watching cormorants during family trips to Monterey. Born in Sacramento, Gilmore attended UC Davis and developed an interest in grape growing. He gained valuable experience working with various wineries in California, Australia, and France before joining Fetzer, where he oversaw white winemaking and became the lead winemaker for the Fetzer brand.

In 2018, Gilmore finally had the opportunity to make his own wines, focusing on Sauvignon Blanc. He uses mainly seven-year-old French barrels and stainless drums for his white wines and minimizes the use of machinery. For Gilmore, owning Cormorant Cellars is a dream come true, as it allows him to take full ownership of his wines.

Tastings of Cormorant Cellars wines with Charlie Gilmore can be arranged by appointment at Grand Cru Custom Crush. The wines are available at select retail locations in California, Texas, Arkansas, and Quebec, as well as through the Cormorant Cellars website.

Image Source: Charlie Gilmore @ Instagram

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