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  mqwine 03/15/2010 at 15:24 PST

PBryon –

On behalf of Montesquieu, I am reaching out to you about your recent posting. It sounds like your broker was not forthright with you about how we work domestically. For that, please accept our most sincere apologies. For your broker to have said or implied that the Eaton Pinot Noir came from a brick-and-mortar winery by the name of Eaton is inaccurate, inconsistent with how we seek to present our wines, and unacceptable. Please be assured that we’re redoubling our efforts to address this issue internally so that it never happens again.

In our website materials ( and our conversations with prospective clients, we try very hard to be transparent and forthright about how we source our domestic wines. It’s true that the vast majority of our domestic wines are made by our full-time winemaker, Hélène Mingot, out of high-quality juice sourced from specially selected growers and vineyards around California and Oregon. We then give each wine a unique label (because each wine is quite unique) and include on the labels the proper appellation and the phrase “Vinted and Bottled by Montesquieu Winery.” This is winemaking in the French negociant tradition. We have no intention (nor any incentive) to misrepresent our business.

Just to clarify, though: we only buy juice of very high quality. Like any market, the juice market has a broad range of products available to us, from cast-off/simple/cheap juice to top-flight/complex/expensive juice. We are literally barraged with opportunities to buy far more juice than we could ever finish and sell, so we have the luxury of being very selective. It’s true that some wineries only sell juice in years in which they end up with extra (perhaps like the winemaker you spoke with in Oregon). But many wineries – among them some of the most prestigious names out there – grow in each vintage more grapes than they want or are able to bottle and sell themselves, and so they sell juice as a normal (and crucial) part of their business. This is the kind of juice we seek to craft into wine for our clients – quality juice from top-notch vineyards and growers. And while we do sometimes blend together juice from several vineyard properties to create one wine, those properties are always from the appellation listed on the label, and more importantly, they are carefully selected by our winemaker for their ability to combine to make the best possible wine.

If you or anyone has any questions or concerns about how and why we work the way we do, please contact us – we’re more than happy to answer any questions. I’m in charge of client relations and generally available during regular business hours in our San Francisco office; I can be reached at 415.536.1670 ext. 1103 or at [email protected]. Or visit the FAQ section of our website ( – we’ve tried to make it as clear and informative as possible.


Tony Connell
Client Relations
Montesquieu Winery

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