VML is named for our winemaker, Virginia Marie Lambrix. With a reverence for the relationship between soil, sky, plants, and creatures, we seek to capture the magic of grapes grown on boutique farms in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma.
The Russian River flows through enchantingly beautiful microclimates that provide ideal and varied terroir for the finicky pinot noir grape. VML began in 2010 as a side project is now a consuming exploration.
The vineyards we work with are small. And small is beautiful. These distinctive sites, when tended with meticulous viticulture practices, can yield extraordinary fruit. So winemaking begins in the vineyard long before we pick the moment to harvest. Then, barrel by barrel, we handmake small-lot pinot noir and chardonnay with minimally-invasive techniques.
Fermentation is achieved with a combination of native and favorite yeast strains. We age in painstakingly selected French oak. The resulting wines express their roots and nature’s vicissitudes yet reach beyond… for something opulent, intense, pure, gorgeous.
VML is also sought out for sparkling, gewürztraminer, sauvignon blanc, zinfandel , and syrah.
Our wines do not come from recipes but from intuition and hard-won experience. Boots in the vineyards and ears on the barrels. Yes we listen to the wine – it crackles during malolactic fermentation. It’s heavenly.
There is magic in discovering a galaxy in a bottle of wine. It’s a moment held in time, which is the sum of nature’s earthly and celestial influences upon small plots of land.
Virginia’s mentors taught her the importance of the intuitive side of winemaking, “that you can shut down your heart with the intellect if you’re not careful,” she says. “But I also learned the value of being methodical, of using trials to test my theories.” Ultimately, when tinkering in the cellar and tasting from the barrel, she looks for “that ‘kiss,’ that sweet spot that can utterly define a wine.”
Virginia spent her formative years on a farm in upstate New York. She received her B.A in Psychology from Colgate University and later worked in chemical ecology. While on vacation in South Africa she tasted her first serious wine, and as she sipped she thought, “I could do this.” She soon earned a master’s in horticulture and agronomy at the University of California, Davis with an emphasis in viticulture and enology.
She cut her teeth in wine at Hendry Ranch in Napa, Concha y Toro in Chile, then Lynmar and De Loach in Sonoma County. In 2008, Virginia was named winemaker for newly founded Truett Hurst Winery in Dry Creek Valley specializing in zinfandel. A few years later she and her partners fleshed out VML, a side project celebrating the Russian River Valley vineyards she fell in love with as an apprentice. VML has proven unexpectedly successful. Virginia continues to direct winemaking for the innovative brands of Truett Hurst Inc.
She lives in the western hills of the Russian River Valley with her husband, two children, many animals, and a generous garden.
Virginia relies on a small, talented team to practice the art and science of winemaking.
We wrap our wines with intriguing pictures that come from Virginia’s husband Kevin Shaw, founder of renowned design firm Stranger and Stranger. He and Virginia feel the label should express the winemaker’s perspective and bring extra joy to your table. And he likes to spoil her.