Adam Tolmach, a viticulture and oenology graduate of UC Davis, started the now infamous winery with fellow employee Jim Clendenen in 1982, Au Bon Climat. After nine years together Jim and Adam decided to follow separate paths. Having planted his own vineyard in Ojai in 1983 (The Ojai Vineyard), Adam decided to concentrate his efforts there.
Experimenting with new plantings, new areas, and a wide selection of varietals. Adam set his intention to strive to make the very best wines possible, through quality and unique sites over quantity and mass-produced blends. Craft principals with a mindful intention. It took some 10 years to produce really exceptional, consistently delicious fruit. Adam took steps to convert the farming from sustainable to organic practices whilst fine tuning the winemaking process to as natural as possible; minimal use of sulphites, avoiding fining and filtration, also reducing new oak usage as much as possible.
Adam’s influence in the region and the respect from his peers is worth mentioning, where some sites are exclusive to their owners, often Adam will be one of the very few with privileged access, examples being Puerta del Mar (Jonata) and White Hawk (Sine Qua Non). After spending two decades learning to farm better grapes, physiological ripeness was not an issue anymore but over ripeness was. When grapes were ripe but not overripe, the resulting wines were more aromatic and possessed finer balance.
After more experiments the following years Adam started picking his fruit slightly earlier, opening a new stylistic era for his wines. Years of experience and humble dedication to his craft, showed him how the cooler climate sites were always better balanced and more expressive terroirs, in search of elegance. 'Great vineyards have something unique to say, it’s our job to capture those characteristics in a clear, unadorned way.' Adam Tolmach