Williams Selyem Winery


Williams Selyem Winery began as a simple dream between two friends, Ed Selyem and Burt Williams, who pursued weekend winemaking as a hobby in 1979 in a garage in Forestville, California, and made their first commercial vintage in 1981. In less than two decades, Burt & Ed created a cult status winery of international acclaim. Together they set a new standard for Pinot Noir winemaking in the United States, aligning Sonoma County's Russian River Valley in the firmament of the best winegrowing regions of the world. Today John and Kathe Dyson, who purchased the winery from Burt and Ed in 1998, carry on the passion for Pinot Noir winemaking without compromise.

Burt and Ed were neighbors in the Russian River Valley, living across the river from one another. They both held down full time jobs, but were restless to delve further into the object of their mutual passion—wine.  Burt was a 26-year veteran pressman for the San Francisco Newspaper Agency, publisher of the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner, and Ed worked as the accountant and wine buyer at Speer's market in Forestville, in addition to making his own label called Hacienda del Rio. Burt had begun home winemaking on the weekends, and Ed had traveled the world without leaving Sonoma County by tasting and buying wines for the store.

Today, the winemaking torch has been passed into the skillful hands of a carefully selected team headed by Executive Winemaker, Bob Cabral. They share a passion that requires a strong but intuitive approach, given the capricious nature of the varietal. These artisans respect and employ the original handcrafted approach to winemaking that has made Williams Selyem wines so sought after today.

The winery carefully executes the Williams Selyem philosophy of "respecting the juice." From fermentation to bottling, including the no pumping and filter-free methods, the winemakers use these processes to ensure that the quality of the wine is not compromised. Fortunately, they seem to have none of the typical pressures that many wineries do today and are therefore able to focus strictly on quality. This almost ceremonial approach to creating these wines can be tasted in every bottle.

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