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Wine Country Personality

Kathleen Inman:

Winemaking Dreams Grow into Reality

Over a period of several years, Kathleen and Simon Inman weighed the possibility of leaving their comfortable life in England for California where they might realize the family’s dream: to produce fine wine from grapes they would plant and carefully tend. Passion for wine was a driving force; moving to California was their destiny.

In 1998 the Inmans left their careers (she a finance executive and he a solicitor), their beloved country home and many friends to settle in California and make wine. The Inmans’ search for prime vineyard took them over the country lanes of Anderson Valley, Carneros and the Russian River Valley looking for a property where they could pursue their Pinot Noir/Pinot Gris dream.

One spring day in 1999, Kathleen drove along Olivet Road in the center of the Russian River Valley. A small family farm caught her eye. Within a week Kathleen learned that the property, amidst some of the region’s most respected vineyards, was for sale.

In June, exactly one year after the date of their arrival in California, the Inmans became the property’s owners and named it Olivet Grange Vineyard, a title that reflects the farm’s location on Olivet Road and the family’s English country home: The Grange at Elvington.  The family planted 13,000 grapevines, carefully selecting clones of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris and rootstocks best suited to this Russian River Valley acreage.

In 2002, Kathleen produced her first wine under the Inman Family Wines label. She had been an avid organic gardener and plant collector in England and she augmented this horticultural knowledge with viticulture classes as well as a wide range of enology courses through UC Davis’ extension program.

In addition, Kathleen respectfully restored the three-bedroom farmhouse for the enjoyment of friends and family from England and other visitors. Keeping its restful, rustic character, she added English art and antiques and other amenities for guests who stay at the Olivet Grange Farmhouse vacation rental.   Wine lovers are now invited to stay, dine and taste with Inman Family Wines on their vineyard property through the new Exclusive Experience.

Kathleen is now producing about 2200 cases of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris which is sold primarily through her mailing list, website and to fine restaurants.  She was featured in the March 2007 issue of Fortune magazine for her environmentally conscious winemaking practices.