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About Rack & Riddle
When wine industry veterans Rebecca Faust and Bruce Lundquist first set out to establish Rack & Riddle Winery, they envisioned a leading-edge facility using premium vineyards to produce wine in the heart of the North Coast wine country. But not long into planning, their goals stretched to include a still and sparkling custom crush facility for custom crush clientele, as well as for the Rack & Riddle wine brand.
Bringing together six winemakers on staff, including the sought-after skills of winemaker Penny Gadd-Coster, Rack & Riddle specializes in processes that take an incredible amount of labor, time and equipment, but that result in superior wine.
Faust and Lundquist harness a combined expertise of over 40 years to create a niche in the marketplace. It’s no small feat to make sparkling wine in the traditional méthode Champenoise. As such, most wineries don’t attempt it. Rack & Riddle unlocks the ability to create outstanding, award-winning sparkling wines for a host of brands.
From small boutique wineries to large multi-national wine producers and everyone in between, Rack & Riddle provides unparalleled custom crush and winemaking services to all of our partners. We ensure our custom crush clients receive exactly what is needed, from an all-inclusive “grape to glass” experience, or by simply assisting with existing winemaking and production needs.
Making sparkling wine can be achieved in a variety of different ways. However, if you are as dedicated as we are about creating superior sparkling wines from only the best grape sources—as Faust and Lundquist learned from their history at Piper Sonoma and J Vineyards, respectively—the only way to make sparkling wine is by méthode Champenoise.
Across the winemaking industry only a handful of wineries are engaged in custom méthode Champenoise. Rack & Riddle stands nearly alone in that respect, especially in California, by offering the age-old, traditional French method.
The roots of this method are fascinating—engineered in the early 1600’s by Dominican monks in the Champagne region of France, monk Dom Perignon is said to have mused about the champagne bubbles, “I am drinking the stars.”
Creating those effervescent “stars” is a labor of love involving two fermentations and a process of “riddling” to remove the lees from the bottle.
In fact, Rack & Riddle’s very name is inspired by the process. “Racking” alludes to the process of removing sediment from still wine and “riddling” is the counterpart process for sparkling wine. The Rack & Riddle brand logo reflects this in its imagery of a historic French riddling rack.
From the start—as blueprints were drafted and ground broke in 2007—it was of utmost importance that Rack & Riddle was built with winemakers in mind. True to Rack & Riddle’s way of operating and treating each other as family, the initial team members were an integral part in the founding and design of Rack & Riddle’s first 125,000-foot winemaking facility.
Together Bruce, Rebecca, the late Raphaël Brisbois (a client winemaker of R&R), Executive Winemaker Penny Gadd-Coster, Facilities Manager Stan Jennings, and Cellar Master, the late Tom Meeker, helped design the organic-certified still and sparkling custom crush facility, and choose the very best equipment.
Today, nine years later, Rack & Riddle’s team has grown to more than 75 employees, including expert winemaking, production and cellar staff, and on-site lab team.
Our continuing interaction with client winemakers means we are constantly learning, and always keeping an open mind to new ideas. It’s this philosophy that helps Rack & Riddle stay ahead of the curve when it comes to producing outstanding blends for our clients’ wine brands.
In 2013, we were thrilled to announce Rack & Riddle’s expansion into Sonoma County. This natural step for Rack & Riddle and the ability to offer services in the hub of the Sonoma winemaking region represents a milestone in the evolution of our company.
The centrally-located facilities, which officially opened January 1, 2014 (Rack & Riddle Alexander Valley) and June 1, 2014 (Rack & Riddle Healdsburg) increased winemaking space, bottling and stainless steel tank and tirage storage capacity. The move to Sonoma County also allows clients to state “Healdsburg” on their labels—all attractive benefits we’re thrilled to offer with our new facilities.
With its unique blend of traditional methods along with the best new technology, Rack & Riddle is dedicated to sustainable farming practices, allowing nature to bring out the unique attributes of every winegrape that passes through our facilities. Rack & Riddle is California certified organic for those brands wishing to produce organic labels.
We are about more than just slapping a label on a bottle or mass producing wines. We are about ensuring the true nature of the wines shines through so distinctively that you’ll be proud to share, sell, and taste for yourself the wines crafted with our care, passion and expertise.
In short, we help our custom crush clients create wine that’s ready to stand neck and neck with California’s best.
We hope you will raise a glass of bubbly with us to celebrate what so many have worked so hard to create. As a legacy of excellence in sparkling and still wines is forged, our greatest goal is that you will join us on the journey!