Gary Sitton grew up in the farming community of Tulare County, CA, where his family farms pistachios, oranges and clementines. Far from Sonoma County, his first experiences in working the land did not lead him directly to winemaking. Instead, after studying biology and chemistry in college, he moved to Europe when he was signed by a regional soccer team in Munich, Germany. Sidelined by an injury after a year on the field, he came back to California, settling in Sonoma County, where he took a job at a family vineyard in the Alexander Valley. Finding himself skilled and deeply impassioned by his introduction to winemaking, Gary returned to school to complete a Master's degree in winemaking at the University of California, Davis, During which time he gained experience helping the Ravenswood Winery cellar under the tutelage of legendary winemaker Joel Peterson.
The rest is history. 15 years before returning to Ravenswood as Director of Winemaking, Gary was promoted to Assistant Winemaker and soon advanced to become Associate Winemaker in 2003. After 8 years - "the most exciting years of my career." according to Gary - he was offered the chance to become Director of Winemaking and General Manager of Blackston Sonoma at Kenwood Vineyards. Most recently, Gary served in the same position for Clos du Bois.
Gary believes that the best winemaking begins with the vineyards, where he frequently spends hands-on time, and growers, with whom he is committed to forgoing strong relationships. By selecting grapes that truly express the unique character of specific appellations, employing minimum winemaking, such native yeasts, small open top fermenters and aging in small oak casks, Gary crafts wines which capture the unique expressions of Sonoma County's terroirs.
Gary credits his deep understanding of Sonoma winemaking with his early experience under Joel Peterson and beside Ravenswood's winemaking team, whose uncompromising standard for excellence inspire Gary's work to this day. "I love and believe in Joel's vision for what wine should be: that it is about place, about history, and forRavenswood, that it is deeply about Sonoma itself," he says. "It is an honor to be back home, continuing Joel's 40-year legacy of expressive, high quality Sonoma wines. I look forward to contributing to Ravenswood and its standing amount the icons of California winemaking."