• Decanting time

  • When to drink


Wine Information

Our first release, this blend is comprised of three different vineyards: 25% Ritchie Vineyard Martini Clone (35 years old - yes, from the famous Russian River Valley grower Kent Ritchie!); 37.5% Cameron Vineyard Martini Clone (30+ years old); and a relatively new planting of Swan Clone at River South Vineyard (3 years old).

The nose is imbued with black stone fruits, clove, warm cereal, subtle vanilla, and toasty oak, as well as some floral compounds of musk rose, and violets. It's warm and sensual. The wine is bright cherry red in color with outstanding clarity.

The palate is simply vivacious, sexy, and wet. Should I say juicy? Filled with spice and black to red fruits with some dried black olives. Well structured, generous and deep with complexity and savory acidity. Mouth filling flavor that lingers. A wine that drinks well now, but will cellar and reward as time passes. It was exciting making this blend with such formidable fruit. The tannins are moderate and will definitely soften with time. Try it with assorted salumi or rosemary lamb roasted over oak wood barrel staves.

Only 397 cases produced.

Woodenhead Vintners
The Russians from Russian River Valley
Nikolai Stez and Zina Bower

Woodenhead Vintners was created by two first-generation Americans of Russian heritage. Nikolai Stez is a ruggedly handsome guy with a ponytail, which should tell you volumes about his fierce independence and how he came to get the affectionate nickname "Woodenhead" from a previous girlfriend. He's passionate about his trade.

Zina Bower is part owner of Woodenhead, in charge of marketing, sales, tasting room operations and the wine club. She's warm and vivacious, and no less passionate about the wine making business. Having moved to the wine country in 1992 from Southern California, she took viticulture and wine production classes from Satna Rosa Junior College and worked at Williams Selyem, Hop Kiln, Vigil Vineyards and Diamond Creek Vineyards.

Interestingly, both Zina's and Nikolai's fathers picked grapes in the Central Valley circa 1950 as one of their first jobs when the two brothers came to the New World from Russia. Born in San Francisco, Nikolai spent many summers at the family "dacha" (vacation home) at Russian River. Nikolai's and Zina's parents often made Kvas, a popular fermented drink in Russia, made from dried bread and sometimes apples or other fruit. Nikolai started making wine in college, and his fervor never stopped. "Living in the area, I was always around it and I wanted to know how to do it."
A career in carpentry and contracting was shortened by a back injury, which led Nikolai making wine full time. He took classes in horticulture, viticulture and winemaking from Santa Rosa Junior College as well as UC Davis. In 1982 he began helping with the crush at Williams Selyem Winery and eventually worked as the assistant winemaker there.

In 1985 Nikolai won a wine tasting championship at Greenwood Ridge Winery, which affirmed he has the palate of a true wine aficionado. He learned his winemaking skills from Burt Williams, a legend in the world of California Pinot Noir. In 1998 Williams Selyem was sold and in 1999 Woodenhead Vintners was born. Nikolai took to heart what he learned from the master and has since gently added his own touches to that style. His wines have focused on Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, but he has also made some truly memorable and different kinds of wines. For example, his French Colombard is a treasure and is poured at many oyster houses along the coast. His wines have received critical acclaim from many, including the much coveted Pigs and Pinot championship at Dry Creek Kitchen that is sponsored by the Wine Spectator. These wines have wone numerous gold medals from the San Francisco Chronicle and the Sonoma County Harvest Fair.

Nikolai is happy to be one of those winemakers flying below the radar: He doesn't seek the spotlight; he even shies away from it. He excels in finding great sources of grapes and, in many cases, vineyards that were totally unknown in wine circles. As the "grape whisperer" that he is, he then knows how to listen to the grapes and coax out the perfect expression, resulting in wines of great personality.The Russians from the Russian River Valley are making great wines that have been acclaimed by wine peers, those lucky to be members of the Woodenhead wine club or to have visited their beautiful tasting room overlooking the scenic Russian River Valley. These wines will always be scare because the goal is not to make quantity, but to make wines that make you sit up and notice that something really special just happened when you took your first sip.

We do have a tasting room with a beautiful view of the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County. The address of the tasting room is 5700 River Road, Santa Rosa, California and we are open to the public Thursday thru Monday, 10:30 to 4:30. Our mailing address for billing purposes is PO Box 1448, Forestville, CA 95436.


Latest Pro-tasting notes

<10 tasting notes

Tasting note

Be the first one to make a 20s tasting note!



Forestville, Sonoma

Other wines from this producer

French Colombard


Pinot Noir Humboldt County

Pinot Noir Mendocino Ridge

Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

Pinot Noir "Troika"

Pinot Noir Wiley Vineyard

Zinfandel Braccialini Vineyard

Zinfandel Guido Venturi Vineyard

Zinfandel Leras Ranches Bertoli Vineyard

Zinfandel Martinelli Road Vineyard Old Vine

Incorrect Information
If you found some information that is wrong, let us know
Are you sure you want do delete this wine? All information will be lost.
Are you sure you want to recommend this wine?
Are you sure you want hide this written note ?
Are you sure you want show this written note ?
Upgrade your membership now, it's quick and easy. We use PayPal, the world's largest payment system, it accepts all credit cards. Once you've chosen your membership level, you'll go directly to PayPal. You can cancel your membership at any time.
Thank you for your support!

Pro Member


Winemerchant Member


Winery Member





We recommend you to share few minutes for watching the following video instructions of how to use the Tastingbook. This can provide you a comprehensive understanding of all the features you can find from this unique service platform.

This video will help you get started

Taste wines with the Tastingbook

Create Your wine cellar on 'My Wines'

Explore Your tasted wines library

Administrate Your wine world in Your Profile

Type a message ...
Register to Tastingbook
Sign up now, it's quick and easy.
We use PayPal, the world's largest payment system, it accepts all credit cards.
Once you've chosen your membership level, you'll go directly to PayPal, where you can sign up for a free 7-day trial period. You can cancel your membership at any time. We wish you a rewarding journey to the world of Fine Wines.

Free 7 days Member trial




Pro Member


Winemerchant Member


Winery Member