Tell me about Arista please

I signed up and made the list but i cant remember why !!

Are these great pinots ?

Any info appreciated


I know Arista from the record label. Sorry… blush

I remember thinking they were delicious, but that might’ve been the view talking. They’ve got a really nice spot on Westside Rd.

I did a tasting at the winery this past fall after Laub gave them some nice reviews. I was impressed with both their pinot and chardonnay - not inexpensive, but the quality is there. In my opinion the pinots are comparable in many respects to Williams-Selyem. The Ritchie chard was very tasty and seemed to be stylistically a wee bit on the leaner side. I will be buying a few bottles for sure and may end up switching out Arista for Rhys in my cellar since I can’t seem to buy what I really want (only a second year buyer though).

I believe that they bought the Martinelli Road/Banfield Vineyard that is a few feet away from the Jackass Hill and Jackass Vineyards. So, the Zins ought to be good, too.

Do they still make Ferrington PN?

Beautiful facility and wonderful folks in the tasting room. Wines are solid, although I think with the new winemaker a couple of years ago they’ve dialed up the oak a little too much.

Arista did buy the Martinelli Road/Banfield vineyard (used by Carlisle and Rivers-Marie). Also, in 2013 they hired the assistant winemaker from Marcassin to be head winemaker. I feel that there was a big step up in quality and consistancy. Yes, there may be a bit more now oak, but I also get more depth, transparency, and minerality from the wines.

Yes, they still make Ferrington, and it probably was my favorite of all their 2013 Pinots.

Love the Perli Pinot Noir and they have been getting some good Cred in The Media.
However, feel they have reached the breaking point on price for me.
A really nice family and beautiful property next to Williams Selyem


I’m with Joe on this one. Visited the winery, enjoyed the Perli, Mononi, and Bacagalupi Pinots. But unless you are buying a case on the mailing list the shipping it outrageous, so I’ve only ordered a couple of times. I would put the wine even a little heavier than Williams-Selyem, but not overblown.

Nice family and beautiful property. It’s obvious they’re putting some money to work to up the quality, and the prices are moving in lockstep. The lunch pairing visit they do is top notch and I recommend it to anyone who is going to be near Westside Rd.

I’ve found the wines best suited for my tastes after about 5 years of bottle age, but this weekend I wanted to check in on the 13s to see if I could ascertain any stylistic difference with the new winemaker. Unfortunately, both of the 13s I opened (Toboni SVD) were off/flawed/terrible. There’s a note on CT where the taster had the same experience, and I think I read something similar here. It’s certainly giving me some pause at the higher price points.

I visited Arista with their former winemaker Leslie Sisneros a couple of times and thought she was doing a very good job with their wines. The style from that time was toward the bigger, oakier side but not overdone at all. Haven’t been there more recently though - last time was about five years ago.

Visit with Leslie Sisneros at Arista, January 2011

All, I don’t often post but given that there were some specific questions about us I wanted to chime in. First of all, I appreciate all the kind comments about our wines and some of the comparisons made. I also want to say that we do have a new winemaker - and winemaking team - and that I’d love the opportunity to share these wines and fill you in on what my brother and have done with the winery, our vineyards, and our brand since purchasing it from our parents in 2013. Matt Courtney, our winemaker, did come to us from Marcassin as was mentioned in a comment. We did purchase the Martinelli Road Vineyard several years ago but have since sold the property and leased back the land. We still farm it and have taken over all of the fruit (the vineyard was renamed to Banfield). We’ve also actually scaled back the use of new oak substantially. Under Matt we’ve gone down to anywhere from 0 to about 30% new but have really dialed in to 2-3 specific coopers.
I’d love the opportunity to share these wines with any of you if you have plans to be in Heladsburg. It’s easy for me to talk about these changes but a lot more fun to let you see first hand.
Jason I’m genuinely shocked and disappointed to hear about any off bottles. It’s the first I’ve heard of this. Please email me directly and give me more info. I’d love to replace the bottles. My email is
If any of you have plans to be in the area I’d love to try to set up a time to taste with you and share firsthand all the we have going on. Its exciting and we’d love to have your feedback. Please email me directly
As i mentioned I don’t often post but I’m a frequent reader and wanted to chime in as I felt I could help answer some questions! Thanks again for all of the kind words and support. I hope you’ll take me up on an invitation to let me host you at the winery.
Mark McWilliams
Arista Winery

We bought 34 barrels from them this past harvest with usages of one to three years. The barrels were in very nice shape, Brett free and obviously well taken care of. Running a winery does require process and a winery that can do things like take care of barrels speaks well to the nature of the operation. I know nothing about their wines but I would take a look at them just based on something as simple as having their shit together in the cellar.

I’d like to add that Mark contacted me via PM regarding my experience with the 2013 bottles (post above), and overnighted 3 bottles of 2013 to me at his expense. That’s consistent with the (strong) customer service I’ve had from them in the past. Because of that I felt comfortable buying some bottles from their current release and will most likely continue to be a buyer in the future.

On my first trip to Sonoma in 2009, I surreptitiously came across Arista because nearby Williams-Selyem was closed for a corporate event. I ordered for many years but migrated to other Pinot lists. About this time last year, I drank two disappointing bottles of 2011 and sent Mark an email expressing my displeasure. He sent me two bottles of 2013 at his expense. Because of this and some favorable press, I am back ordering.