Rather than beginning with an end state in mind, Head Winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen and Steve MacRostie let each vineyard’s grapes dictate what they want to become. With deep Sonoma roots stretching back three decades, MacRostie has trusted partnerships with the region’s finest growers, including more than 30 Chardonnay vineyards and over 15 Pinot Noir sites. Combined with MacRostie’s own vineyards, this provides unique access to a remarkable level of diversity, and allows them to explore the entirety of the Sonoma Coast in the winemaking process. Heidi and Steve do 130+ small fermentations each vintage, yielding a broad palette of flavors to work with when it comes time for blending. This produces wines of uncommon character and complexity, representative of the best of the Sonoma Coast.
The journey from land to bottle is organic, intuitive and more often felt than calculated. OUR APPROACH
Storied Past, Bold Future
“Carrying on the traditions of an iconic winery, while helping to chart its course forward, is an undertaking I try to approach with respect, thoughtfulness and vision.”
In 2013, at the age of 29, rising star Heidi Bridenhagen was named just the third winemaker in the storied history of MacRostie Winery and Vineyards. Heidi quickly set out to build on MacRostie’s reputation as one of California’s most revered producers of cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. “Carrying on the traditions of an iconic winery, while helping to chart the course for its future, is an undertaking that requires respect, thoughtfulness and vision,” says Heidi. “When I was named winemaker, I embraced the opportunity both to learn and lead. Like Steve MacRostie, who I am proud to call a friend and mentor, I strive to bring inquisitiveness, and an absolute attention to the details that are essential for great winemaking to my role.”
Heidi immediately worked to establish one of the Sonoma Coast’s most acclaimed vineyard programs, including sites farmed by legendary winegrowers like the Duttons, Sangiacomos and Martinellis. She also completely reimagined MacRostie’s Pinot Noir program, helping to design a new small-lot Pinot Noir winery that has elevated MacRostie’s Pinots to the world-class levels of its iconic Chardonnays. To achieve this, Heidi switched to small 1-ton fermentation bins, and does as many as 130 fermentations every vintage to preserve the character of each lot. Heidi also launched the winery’s acclaimed sparkling wine program, and established Clockwise, where Heidi and her team can apply the techniques and traditions of MacRostie to new wine regions and varietals, including Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel.
“At MacRostie, I’ve found a winemaking home that embraces my desire to innovate. I am constantly running numerous small-lot trials in areas that include extraction levels, whole clusters, tannin management, cold soak durations, yeast strains, barrel versus tank fermentation, and more.” Heidi is equally active in the vineyards, working with MacRostie’s grower partners to tailor farming techniques, including pruning, fruit drops and harvest decisions for each block.
Since Heidi was named winemaker, MacRostie has been recognized for making many of the finest wines in its history, and has earned more than 365+ scores of 90 points or higher from major publications, while also being honored by San Francisco Magazine as “Best Overall Winery” in the 2017 Best of Wine Country Awards. In addition, Heidi spearheads MacRostie’s sustainability efforts, establishing it as one of less than 150 wineries in California (out of more than 5,000) to hold the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing accreditation.
Heidi’s approach to winemaking is shaped by her unique background, which includes earning a degree in biochemistry, traveling throughout the wine regions of France, Italy, Spain and Germany, working in the cellar at Oyster Bay in New Zealand, and honing her craft alongside renowned winemakers Mick Schroeter and Cara Morrison at Sonoma-Cutrer. Prior to being named winemaker, Heidi spent two years as MacRostie’s assistant winemaker, where she worked side-by-side with Founder Steve MacRostie. This diversity of experience has played a pivotal role in creating MacRostie’s expanded lineup of vineyard-designate Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. While these wines are deeply rooted in the vineyards they come from, they also reflect MacRostie’s signature style, offering beautiful balance, vibrant flavors and impeccable structure.
In 1974 – when there were only about 40 small wineries in Sonoma County – Steve MacRostie made his first Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the region that would ultimately be named the Sonoma Coast. Today, there are hundreds of wineries here, and the Sonoma Coast has become one of the world’s great Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
With his relaxed charm, philosophical mind, adventurous spirit, and encyclopedic knowledge of Sonoma County viticulture and winemaking, Steve is recognized as one of the region’s great pioneers, strongest advocates, and most respected winemakers.
Raised in Sacramento, California, Steve was educated at Washington’s Whitman College, then served in the U.S. Army as a cryptographer deployed to the Veneto region of Italy. While in Europe, Steve’s travels took him to France, Germany, and Spain, where European wines sparked a lifelong passion. Steve returned to the states and enrolled in the prestigious UC Davis enology program.
At a time when eager young winemakers were establishing their credentials in Napa Valley, Steve settled in Sonoma County, spending 12 years at Hacienda winery honing his craft and earning the reputation as a gifted winemaker. Alongside his wife Thale, Steve founded MacRostie Winery & Vineyards in 1987, where he pioneered a fresh, elegant style rooted in the cool vineyards of Sonoma County. The relationships he built with local growers during this time have lasted for decades.
Steve established Wildcat Mountain Vineyard in the Petaluma Gap in 1997, and fruit from this estate vineyard joins that grown by legendary Sonoma County winegrowing families like the Duttons, Sangiacomos, Ritchies, Martinellis, and Bacigalupis, to name a few.
Steve continues an active role at the winery, working alongside Winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen in the cellar and working in the vineyards with the many growers who partner with the winery.
Honor the Vineyards
We believe in creating wines that reflect the bounty of the Sonoma Coast, while protecting the region and its precious resources. Sustainability is a fundamental element in how we approach growing and making wines, and our respect for the land carries through in every part of the process.
Our goal is to create connection by exceeding standards at every step. This begins with Steve MacRostie’s legacy and dedication to capturing the unique diversity of the vineyards, and continues on with winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen’s forward-looking vision. This commitment manifests itself in the welcoming spirit and genuine hospitality that is at the heart of all we do.
Mark the Moment
At MacRostie, “marking the moment” means slowing down and focusing on the important details. We do this by producing wines deeply connected to the land, with every bottle capturing an expression of time and place. It carries through as we work to foster intentional, personable, and engaging moments in every interaction with our wines.
Our Commitment to Sustainabilityour duty
Since 1987, Sonoma County has been our home. By conserving water, energy, and other precious natural resources, we are dedicated to preserving its beauty and vitality for generations to come.