Top 3 Wait Lists Worth Waiting For or Up and Coming?


I’m relatively new to the forum and have really enjoyed in my short span the amount of quality of information shared among posters. Amazing to witness threads from fellow enthusiasts to winemakers-themselves and industry professionals. Incredible to see the ease of communication between all types of folks! Hopefully, both my acumen and knowledge-base one day enables me to participate to the length and degree as most of you. But as I find myself researching wine in one form or another at least 2 hours a day, I don’t think I’ll have that problem eventually keeping up with the threads. :relaxed:

About three years ago since moving to the Bay Area, I really got bitten hard by the wine bug, first starting with the domestic brands from CA to OR and WA. There’s something inherent (being a CA transplant) that makes at least from my perspective to want to support the locals first and foremost. Living in the Bay Area definitely has its perks being able to experience as much wine given the surroundings, which in a short time has helped refine my palate. I am an equal opportunist to say the least, I love everything…or almost (Merlot, shh!!) Outside of California, I’ve gravitated towards left-bank Bordeaux, southern Rhone CNP, Barolo, Brunello. Yet to get into Burgundy, but I’m sure my wallet thanks me. But honestly, I love both New World and Old, just depends on what mood I’m in at the given moment. My wife jokes that I’ve developed a bad habit of hoarding. But as most of you know, I follow the rule that collecting wine is an acceptable form of hoarding! :relaxed:

Over the past few years I’ve been able to grow a modest collection to about 850 bottles, with the intention to probably cap out at around 1500. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to get on a few lists (or as my wife says…”a lot”) and is probably a few lists short of being mentally happy. For ex, the past 6-mths I’ve been able to finally secure an allocation from Rhys to River-Marie to one of my under-the-radar favorites, Ceritas. There are a few lists I’m wait-listed for that I think one day will be worth the wait: Saxum, Cayuse, KB, Carlisle, Schrader, Rochioli, to name a few (to this board, I assume the obvious). I discount Marcassin or SQN because, honestly, I don’t anyone who has any guess as to when people get moved on to those lists. :relaxed:

But I guess what my main question to the folks out here, is there two or three or four wineries that have wait lists that you believe is worth waiting for? Maybe because the release cost is a lot lower than the after-market? Or given the scarcity of the volume, it’s hard to find in the market? Or on the flip side, how bout some of your favorite up and coming wineries that might not have a waitlist but you think given the quality, it’s only a matter of time? I tell myself I don’t drink based on scores or status, but more importantly on what I enjoy! Hopefully, I’m able to secure a few ideas from people I’m always looking to try something new.

Wine is ever-changing, I just love researching this stuff and more importantly enjoying a glass and sharing it amongst good friends and fam!


Welcome. And good luck. The bug is hard to kick (not that you should want to).

I started out much like you about 5 years ago. Lists galore (and most of those you mentioned) and rapid growth in my cellar. As the honeymoon period wore off, I buy less total and far more French and German these days.

That said, for my taste (and this is the most important variable) the only three lists I remain actively buying from are:

  1. Rhys
  2. Carlisle
  3. Zepaltas

Given that you’ve mentioned #s 1 and 2, I’ll suggest you check out #3. Ryan remains well under the radar but his wines hit an absolute sweet spot for my wife and I - especially the Suacci PN. Plus his Rosella’s syrah is fantastic year after year and his Chard’s are minerally and delicious.



Just do what everyone else does when they aren’t sure, fake it. [wow.gif] [wow.gif]

From Cali-centric me…
Bedrock Wine Co - back up the truck
Hobel Wine Works - Up and coming
Wind Gap - Never miss a release
Holdredge - Like it more every bottle
Switchback Ridge - Opulence
Epoch Estate - What little I have had has has been real nice.

Welcome to Wine Berserkers Jared! Look forward to hearing about what you are drinking. [cheers.gif]

Jared, I am not sure you will find you have to wait very long for most mailing lists nowadays.

Based on your other Pinot preferences, you should probably get on the Kutch waiting list.

I had an 08 Lillian over the weekend and was really impressed. I’m not sure if there is a waitlist or not, but I’d get on that one if you like Cali/New World Syrah. And Carlisle +37 or whatever - a winner on many levels.

It’s funny, when I first started I pretty much bought everything just to try and find my style. Now, I’m starting to scale back lists and definitely being more selective. Obviously, I think the economy has had a significant factor on me getting on a few more lists earlier than forecasted. But I think I’m currently at the stage (besides being more selective) where I’m trying to find those few brands that I make sure I constantly secure as much as I can given the QPR, the reputation of the winemaker, the fruit, etc. Year-in-year-out, discounting vintage factors, the ones that always produce a good product that I enjoy and the brand that you back up the truck for. Like I said, I always love trying and researching new stuff, so all the feedback is much appreciative!

Rivers-Marie should certainly be on your short list

A nice choice in the middle ground of CA Pinot is Dehlinger. Also worth a look is Scherrer. Their other wines are excellent as well, particularly Dehlinger’s Cab and Scherrer’s Zin.

In the lower alcohol direction you can try Anthill, Copain, Clos Saron and Arcadian. I believe you can buy from all of them with no wait, though not all wines.

You should add Maison Ilan to your list…a board member owns/operates out of the Old World Bourgogne his own Maison. This one has a waitlist now I believe.
Also, in the pinot world, Windy Oaks is worth joining and visiting. Smaller mom 'n pop shop (now with one of their sons as asst winemaker). Good fruit. Classic wine making style. Some may find them ripe and heavily oaked when young. Some people put them in the lighter category, but they’re more in the light-medium range for me b/c of the ripeness and oak. No waitlist for this one…yet.
Anthill for pinot also. Their Abbey Harris and Demuth are solid solid single vineyard pinots.



[cheers.gif] Welcome and I agree!

RYME Cellars

amazing QPR and delicious wines

I’d definitely consider adding
Anthill Farms

Of these Kutch might be the only one where you have to wait to try at least some of the wines.

If you are interested you should at least sign up for Marcassin. Lots of people were added recently even though they hadn’t waited that long.

+1 Went to WHWC and Wades Wines last weekend and found most of the wines mentioned here…excluding a few of course…

My wine recommendation is Sanguis. Very interesting wines and getting harder to find…

I’m on about 80% of the lists in this thread if not more (but see 2012 resolutions)! Stay at this long enough and you will get on and drop off more lists than you can remember (some multiple times - I’ve dropped Cayuse twice). You’ll be influenced by scores, critics, the opinions of prominent tasters, and folks you just plain trust. And you’ll buy and drink all sorts of wines. But your palate will change and become refined over time to whatever YOUR palate is going to be. Brand loyalty is great, but don’t buy at the expense of what you like to drink. Sounds easy, I know, but it isn’t when winemakers graciously taste you on barrel samples, etc., and when you’ve been buying from a coveted list for a long time (especially if the wines trade well above purchase price) even as your palate moves away from the wine. At the end of the day, here’s hoping you end up with ~ 1500 bottles that you sincerely look forward to drinking as you and your cellar evolve!

Playing a slightly different game- Here are three wineries that I have (very) recently tasted exciting (and in some cases high value) wines by:
Rasa (Walla Walla)
Tablas Creek (Paso Robles)
Maison Bleue (Washington)

I would second some of the suggestions found here as I am in the same boat as you.

I now receive allocations from Rivers-Marie, Williams-Selyem, Bedrock, Rhys, and Venge lists among others and buy a fair amount of Siduri/Novy and Zepaltas. The one list I am wait listing on is Carlisle as I am a big fan of old vine zins.

I don’t have the budget to buy huge amounts so I have had to become fairly selective. There is so much good juice out there that it is hard to show restraint.

I would get on the Zepaltas list. The Suacci Pinot and the Hanzell Chardonnay are two of my top ten wines.


Jared, I predict 1500 bottles will soon be in your rear-view mirror. That’s quite a few lists! Add further solicitations and accumulating Euro-wines which actually need age, and you are smoked! neener

For pinot noir, pick 3 from the following:

Mount Eden

Except for Ceritas, I’m not sure you have to “wait”.