THE NEW CHAPTER
I have been very fortunate over a twenty-three year winemaking career to have had the opportunity to work with amazing grapes and inspired people! I could not have picked a better place, here in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County, to develop an appreciation for good wine, good food, and all aspects of living a great life!
Each vintage has been a blessing, but I find myself pulled in a different direction now, and will be leaving my post as Winemaker for Ron Rubin Winery and River Road Family Vineyards to pursue new dreams. Part of my experience of a full life included sailing with my wife, Allison, on San Francisco Bay and in other beautiful destinations. This has led to a passion for the water that requires my fullest attention. In the coming days, we will be relocating to Duluth, Minnesota, on the shores of Lake Superior, the greatest of the Great Lakes. I eagerly anticipate many days under sail, working to acquire the remaining experience required of a professional captain.
I am excited that as I leave, my “winemaking brother”, Ed Morris, will be taking over ultimate responsibility for the wines we produce. He is uniquely qualified for this role, so you can expect great things ahead!
I’ve known Ed since the mid-2000’s from his role as a barrel cooper. He was crafting great barrels here in Sonoma County that worked beautifully with Russian River Valley Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Since 2010, I have been incredibly lucky to work side by side with him at Ron Rubin Winery, after I lured him away from his coopering hammer to assist me in growing our grapes and making our wines.
Our collaborative efforts have been continuing for ten vintages now, and I have a confidence in Ed that I’ve rarely experienced in my life. He is truly well prepared, and naturally capable of continuing the creation and improvement of our amazing wines!
I’ll miss the team at Ron Rubin Winery a great deal, and intend to visit in the future, to see how much further they are able to take the wines. I’ll also miss my monthly opportunities to share stories with you, and hope my path crosses many of yours’ in the years ahead.
Until then, may fair winds push you towards your dreams too!
Ed (on left) and Joe
It’s an honor and privilege to have worked with Joe for so long. I am going to miss Joe – but know that he is following his passion and so I am excited for him. Likewise, I am thrilled that the Ron Rubin winemaking torch is being passed on to me.
For those of you who don’t know me, I am Ed Morris – the Winemaker and Resident Cooper at Ron Rubin Winery home of River Road Family Vineyards. I feel honored having the opportunity to share my winemaking stories. I always dreamed about becoming a winemaker and now here I am. My journey to becoming a winemaker has made me a better person, a better father and a better husband. Winemaking has given me so many opportunities that it makes me want to give back. Part of that is sharing my stories with you. I bring a unique skill to winemaking, as I am also the Resident Cooper at the Winery. I believe the relationship between wine and barrels is like a great marriage, they make each other better.
My journey started here in the Russian River Valley. Growing up in Sonoma County amongst the grape vines instilled a great sense of wonder in me. All these years later when I walk the vineyards I’m filled with that same sense of wonder and it’s a beautiful feeling. I love winemaking because I get to work with nature. Being able to take something as seemingly simple as grapes and to use natural processes to turn them into something refined and enduring gives me great satisfaction. It’s my sense of wonder and satisfaction that fuels my passion for the craft.
I am fortunate to have come from a long line of craftsmen: my great-grandfather was a violin builder by trade, my grandfather was a clockmaker, and my father was a carpenter. It was only natural then that I started working with barrels. I began working at ReCoop during the summer of 1999, and never looked back. During this time, I trained with a Master Cooper, who was trained by the first French Coopers that came to California. I became infatuated with barrel building. Within four years, I was building my own barrels. I set up a shop in my garage and began manufacturing small barrels for home winemakers. I was able to incorporate that line of small barrels with ReCoop. Shortly after we were shipping small barrels to home winemakers across the country.
In 2005, I was promoted to production manager. I was able to work closely with well-respected winemakers which laid the foundation for my path of learning about the amazing relationship between wine and barrels, a path I’m still on today! During that time, I was also taking classes at Santa Rosa Junior College and University of California at Davis in order to further my wine education. This is when I first started to make wine.
In 2010, I joined the team at Ron Rubin Winery, and it has been an incredible journey for the past decade. Now I am starting a new chapter as the head winemaker. I am excited about what the opportunities this position brings to me, and I am thrilled to share my passion and my wines with you.
On behalf of the entire team at Ron Rubin Winery, we wish you all continued good health!