Press Kit & Bios
WINERY FACT SHEET
Cline Cellars, Inc.
24737 Arnold Drive
Sonoma, CA 95476
Phone: (707) 940-4082
Fred and Nancy Cline established the winery in 1982 in Oakley, California and relocated to Carneros-Sonoma in 1991.
Cline Cellars produces awarding-winning Rhone-style wines and Zinfandels, as well as California classics like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Merlot. The primary grape source for the wines comes from the vineyards owned by Fred and Nancy Cline.
The winery, tasting room and offices are located in the Carneros region of Sonoma, California. The property is a registered historic site. The San Francisco Solano mission was originally established at Cline until it was relocated to the town of Sonoma in 1823.
Ownership and Management
Fred and Nancy Cline, Owners
Charlie Tsegeletos, Director of Winemaking
Fred and Nancy Cline own vineyards in diverse viticulture areas including Carneros-Sonoma, Sonoma Coast and Oakley-Contra Costa County.
Zinfandel, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignane, Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer. Some wines only available through the tasting room.
Cline Cellars brands include Cline, Oakley, and Cashmere.
Open to Public
The tasting room is open daily from 10am–6pm. Tasting is free, reserve tasting nominal fee. Free public tours daily at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. California Missions Museum is open daily 9:30am to 4pm during the school year and 11am-4pm during the summer.
Fred and Nancy Cline
PROPRIETORS - Cline Cellars
Fred Cline learned his love for farming and winemaking from his maternal grandfather, Valeriano Jacuzzi (of pump and spa fame). On Jacuzzi’s Oakley, California farm, Fred helped him produce Zinfandel, Mourvedre, and Carignane for personal consumption. After graduating from U.C. Davis with a degree in Agricultural Science and Management, Fred and his wife Nancy founded Cline Cellars near Oakley, California.They preserved and restored many of the ancient vine sites originally planted by Italian and Portuguese immigrants. In 1991, the Clines relocated the winery to a 350-acre estate in Sonoma’s Carneros region. There the Clines pioneered planting Rhone-style varieties such as Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne. The experiment was an enormous success; in 2004, the Wine Spectator’s annual Editor’s Picks issue named Cline Cellars one of the “50 Great Producers Every Wine Lover Should Know
As the Cline family grew (they now have seven children), so did the Cline Cellars. The couple purchased land in the Sonoma Coast appellation, planting Pinor Noir, Chardonnay and other classic California varietals. In 2007, they opened Jacuzzi Family Vineyards and The Olive Press across the street from Cline Cellars, in a stunning reproduction of the Jacuzzi family home in Italy. JFV specializes in Italian varietals like Montepulciano, Sangiovese, and Arneis. The Olive Press is an internationally acclaimed producer of extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegar.
Passionate about history, the Clines also own and operate Dillon Beach Resort in northern California, the Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah, Nevada, and Villa Laura in the Tuscany region of Italy, in addition to a working ranch and vineyards in the Red Bluff area of northern California.
Charles (Charlie) Tsegeletos
winemaker/Director of Winemaking
Charlie Tsegeletos was born to make wine. The son of an Italian mom and a Greek dad, wine was always on the table in his home. Charlie’s great grandfather, Guippe Guidotti, was a winemaker in the Guerneville area of Sonoma County in the 1930s.
After graduating from U.C. Davis, Charlie began his winemaking adventure in 1980 as an apprentice at Pendleton Winery. One year later he became Assistant Winemaker at Sonoma’s Hacienda Wine Cellars, and in 1984 assumed the role of Winemaker at D’Agostini Winery. He perfected his uncanny blending skills as Senior Director of Winemaking at Glen Ellen Winery, before joining Cline Cellars in 2002, where he oversees winemaking and production for Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family Vineyards.
Charlie lets the grapes guide his style of winemaking. Working closely with the vineyard managers , he makes sure varietals are planted in the best locations, then brings many years of experience and an unerring instinct to the art of crushing, blending and aging the wines. His red wines are big and dark with lots of fruit concentration and delicate oak nuances; white wines are bright and fresh without oak or malolactic fermentation.
Charlie is a professional wine judge, an avid snow skier and motorcyclist. He resides on an old chicken ranch in the hills of Sonoma with his wife and daughter and an assortment of animals.
Fred Cline was growing and making Rhone-style and Zinfandel wines in Contra Costa and Sonoma Counties years before it was considered a rational business model. The reason is simple: he likes those wines. And now, so do many American wine drinkers. But Fred is not one to sit still; he has turned his attention to classic California varietals like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Merlot as well. Like the other wines in the Cline Cellars family, they combine a reverence for tradition with a bold wink toward innovation.
Home to Cline’s Ancient Vines -some of California’s oldest, ranging from 80 to 120 years old-these vineyards get daytime heat and cool nights, thanks to the convergence of the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers nearby. One hundred and forty acres of varietals such as Mourvèdre, Carignane and Zinfandel are harvested. Cline's Mourvèdre and Carignane are planted in small blocks of gnarly, head-pruned vines in sand-soil. These growing conditions heighten the fruit’s intensity.
Our southern Sonoma County location, home of Cline Cellars since 1991, is in the Carneros district, one of California’s most coveted tracts of vineyard real estate. Carneros extends across the cool southern extremes of both Sonoma and Napa counties and abuts the northernmost section of the San Francisco Bay region, sleeping nightly under a blanket of chilly fog. Afternoon winds roar into Carneros’ gentle hills, moderating the blistering summer heat. The climatic conditions force the vines to struggle for survival, reducing their yield, which translates to more concentrated flavors.
In the mid-1990s, Fred Cline purchased property in Petaluma, a short distance from the Carneros winery.
The climate is cooler, similar to the Alsace region of France. These vineyards are typically enshrouded in early morning coastal fog, bathed in intense midday heat and cooled by late afternoon Pacific breezes. With more than twice the annual rainfall of inland appellations, the grapes demand longer hang-time to ripen. And although the yields are smaller, like Alsatian wine, the quality is better.
In 2000, Fred Cline—in conjunction with Bob Cannard—began using a natural method of farming they call Green String. Going beyond the organic and sustainable labels, the Green String method doesn't use toxic chemicals for pest and weed control. Instead, the soil is enhanced and sustained using compost teas, crushed minerals, and ground-up oyster shells.
Friendly insects are introduced to control harmful ones. Weeds not used as ground cover or for compost are removed by hungry sheep, or picked by hand. Crop cultivation is routinely reduced so the soil retains the optimum amount of nutrients and vitality.
We manage our water use carefully, to make sure the vines get what they need, but grow deep roots to guarantee intense and flavorful fruit.
The result of the Green String method is soil that is strong, healthy, and vibrant. That in turn produces the most flavorful, robust fruit. You can definitely taste the difference in each bottle of Cline Cellars wine.
Each year we grow a cover crop of grains such as barley and oats, and nitrogen fixing plants like bell-beans. They are grazed down each year after bud burst to provide carbon-containing organic matter and nitrogen to soften the soil bed. Cover crops also preserve topsoil during winter rains, and provides a place for beneficial insects to live.
We use sheep to help remove harmful weeds in our vineyards. What they don’t eat we pull by hand and use under-row cultivators to uproot weeds beneath the vines.
We rely on healthy soils and helpful insects to keep destructive pests at bay. We do not spray inorganic pesticides. The only sprays used in our vineyards are derived from organic sulfur dust to prevent powdery mildew, and rock-dust to thwart pests.
Our team of Vineyard Managers has mastered the art of spotting when water stress is occurring in the vineyards. Soil moisture content is checked daily by digging in the soil and dictating when and how much water is applied to our vineyards to ensure that our vines do not have to compete for water with our cover crop.
Cline Cellars solar electric system was installed in 2005. It provides 100% of the winery’s annual electricity needs for its Carneros production facility.
Just under two thousand solar panels are on the winery’s roof, generating about 411 kilowatts, providing 100% of the winery’s annual energy consumption.
Cline Cellars’ goal is to be energy independent – creating predictable energy and costs. Towards that goal, Cline Cellars installed energy saving lights throughout the facility and added a new urethane, foam-insulating roof that reduced cooling costs in the summer by up to 30 percent.
The winery eliminated huge energy bills, flat-lined our operating budget for energy costs, and kept 690,000 lbs. of noxious greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere per year.
Wine production and storage facilities use very little energy in the mid to late winter when electric rates are low. In the mid to late summer, when electricity costs rise and winery operations are in full swing, solar electric systems can offset or eliminate those costs completely, as well as provide enough credits to eliminate the remainder of the annual bills too.
A kiosk educates the public about solar power and they can actually see the amount of energy the winery is generating from the sun.