In 1977, the Del Favas sold their thirty-acre property to brothers Michael and Tom Collins. Like the Del Favas, the Collins brothers saw the potential inherent at Limerick Lane, and set about improving and replanting the vineyards, including a twenty-five acre field blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, and Grenache--the iconic Collins Vineyard. The brothers brought tremendous passion and enthusiasm to the property, selling some of the grapes as vineyard designates to preeminent local wineries including De Loach, Chateau Souverain, Ravenswood, Davis Bynum and Gary Farrell. In 1985, Limerick Lane Cellars was created to market wines produced exclusively from grapes grown on the estate for the first time under the Limerick Lanes label.
By 2009, Mike Collins was ready to sell, but was unwilling to see the beautiful old vines and all his hard work absorbed into a corporation or fall into the hands of investors just out to make a quick buck. Instead, he approached his neighbor Jake Bilbro and asked if Jake would like to buy Limerick Lane Cellars and the Collins Vineyard. Jake had grown up in the wine business, a member of a family renowned for principled vineyard stewardship and sustainable winemaking. Jake and his young family had moved in across the street from Limerick Lane Cellars in 2007, drawn to the place from which his father, among others, had sourced exceptional fruit. For two years Jake pitched nearly every bank in California before a local bank in Healdsburg finally agreed to give him the loan. Jake’s brother Scot signed on as winemaker.
“The original homestead where Mario Del Fava was born is where my wife, three kids, and I live today,” Jake says. “Literally the day after escrow closed, with our third child on the way, we picked our first grapes of the 2011 harvest. As only the third owners in its hundred and five year history, we feel privileged to steward the Limerick Lane legacy. Pairing modern farming and winemaking techniques with the incredible fruit that only the historic Collins Vineyard can produce, we create wines that live up to the heritage that preceded us--wines noted not only for their exceptional balance and elegance, but wines with a sense of history and place as well.” View all Limerick Lane Wines
About Russian RiverView a map of Russian River wineries
The Russian River Valley is named as such due to its proximity to the Russian River, the river itself named for the Russian fur traders who came down from Alaska in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The Russian River is agricultural land. While there is a focus on wine, beyond the vineyards are many small, family-owned farms cultivating everything from cattle to Christmas trees.
Notable FactsThe proximity of this cool river and the rolling fogs from the Pacific Ocean make the area amenable to cool-climate grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In fact, the region is quite known for its full-bodied, yet elegant Pinot Noir, as well as their ripe, yet lean Chardonnays. Within Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. Chalk Hill is the warmer of the two and furthest from the ocean, while Green Valley is cooler and closer to the water.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.