the Reason for being

WE ARE PIONEERING THE NEW AGE OF CALIFORNIA RIESLING, crafting wines that are vibrant, alive, and aimed at arousing your palate and stimulating your mind. We want you to be there with us;  to breathe in the damp morning fog, to feel the fierce oceanic wind, and to be encompassed by the rugged terrain that defines the central coast. We want these feelings to permeate through your glass and into your head. We believe this will accomplish our mission, to put a satisfying grin on the face of all who experience our efforts.

The PhIlosophy

It's our belief that authentic wine is a direct reflection of the specific patch of earth it comes from. This ethos drives us to work with the most unique and rugged vineyards found on the central coast. These special sites have a story to tell unlike any other. We have two simple goals that direct every operation above all else: to present the narrative of the growing season in a delicious and transparent format, and to craft a wine with a strong foundation intended to age for decades. The fundamentals that we follow are old-school; we allow spontaneous fermentations, work with whole clusters, and spend the majority of our time working in the vineyards. Every year is unique, so the vineyard and cellar practices evolve annually to adapt to the changes each season brings forth. These simple methods require thoughtful, timely decision making, detailed work, and the patience to allow the wine to evolve at its own pace. The results are singular, authentic wines that represent a region, a site, and are a piece of living history. 

Why Riesling

We could give you the obvious answer on why we make Riesling. We love it. It's not only our belief that this *terpene-rich grape is the most dynamic, the most transparent, and the most exciting; many of the world's top sommeliers and wine critics consider it the greatest white wine grape of all. However there is quite a bit more to the story than pure affection... READ MORE.

A bit of background

Owner/Winemaker Ryan Stirm was not born into a winemaking family, or even a family who drank wine regularly.  Nor did he have an epiphany moment that led him to devote his energy and time to one of the oldest professions on the planet. What initially drew him to wine wasn't wine at all, but spending time with his grandma in her garden; learning, feeling, seeing, eating and experiencing plants. This tangible education he had as a youngster developed into a lifelong pursuit to study and enjoy nature's cornucopia. Ryan's shift to focus on viticulture came later on, with the realization that authentic wine is a piece of living history; a signature of a specific time and place in a bottle.

Ryan harvesting Riesling on the steep terrassen of the Wachau above the great Danube River.  Loibner Steinertal Vinyard, Wachau, Austria.

'Sturm' translates to storm in Deutsch (it's also our name!). It is the cloudy, freshly fermenting wine served during harvest in Austria. Dürnstein, Austria.

Authentic wine is crafted all by hand, and that work begins in the vineyard. Kick-On Ranch, 2015.

Ryan received a degree in viticulture and enology as well as minors in soil science and sustainable agriculture at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. His initial experience was at Saucelito Canyon Winery in Arroyo Grande, CA where he learned to work with ancient, dry-farmed vines (zinfandel planted in 1880).  Not far from Saucelito Canyon, Ryan met Justin Willett of Tyler Winery, while rock climbing in remote Santa Barbara County.  This chance meeting led to a four year endeavor as the assistant winemaker at both Tyler and the Lieu Dit Winery (and several clients).  In addition to working on the central coast, he was able to gain international experience in Margaret River, Western Australia and in the Wachau region of Austria (Weingut Tegernseerhof) where he learned to craft stylish Riesling and Grüner Veltliner.