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From Hollywood to the Sonoma Coast

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AVON – Red Car Wine Company was founded by Carroll Kemp and Mark Estrin in 2000 with 50 cases of Syrah from a single ton of grapes. He made the company’s first vintage at his home in Los Angeles, out his garage. Besides an enthusiasm for wine, Kemp and Estrin shared a Hollywood background – Kemp as producer, Estrin as screenwriter. Their intent with Red car was simple: source great grapes, make great wine and market it in an inventive, original way. The winery name is a tribute to the electric trolley cars that ran throughout Los Angeles from the late 19th century through the early 1960s. These “red cars” provided transportation in a romanticized time and place.

Kemp will visit vin 48 in Avon Wednesday for a four-course winemaker dinner.

“We have always been a huge fan and supporter of Carroll’s cool climate Syrah and Pinot Noirs, said Greg Eynon, wine director/owner of vin48. “This dinner will give our guests the unique oppurtunity to taste, side by side, two Red Car Pinots and two Syrahs with each course.”



Their initial 2000 vintage was sourced entirely from Central Coast fruit. The partner’s early experience with making Pinot Noir led them to prefer vineyard sites located on the cool climatic edge and focus on vineyard-designate wines. By 2006, Kemp had a definite palate preference for Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and by 2008, all of the fruit in Red Car wines was from Sonoma County. In 2004, Red Car Wine Company raised enough capital to buy 120 acres along the “true” Sonoma Coast, close to neighbors Marcassin, Hirsch and Blue Slide Ridge vineyards. The 2009 vintage marked Kemp’s first harvest from his new Estate vineyard.

Red Car uses meticulous viticulture and transparent wine making to craft wines with authentic character and originality. Combining old and new world techniques, Kemp minimizes manipulation so the fruit can faithfully express the cool climate personality of the Sonoma Coast.


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