Press & Reviews

Spring 2024 Release Letter

By Cleo Pahlmeyer, March 2024
2022 Wayfarer Pinot Noir 'The Estate'
2022 Wayfarer Chardonnay 'The Estate'


Dear Friend,

The 2022 vintage marks Wayfarer’s 10th anniversary, but our journey was set in motion more than two decades ago.

In 1998, my father, Jayson Pahlmeyer, fell in love with the land that would become Wayfarer Vineyard.  Our winemaker at the time, Helen Turley, brought Jayson to this remote site, and as he breathed in the cool ocean air and bathed in the warm sun, he knew instinctively that Wayfarer would be one of the great vineyards of the world.  He planted the vineyard high on a ridgeline, perched above the fog and encircled by stately redwood forests, with David Abreu in 2002.

After working with my father for several years, I had my own realization. Our Wayfarer fruit was truly extraordinary and reflective of our remarkable site; however we had been blending it with other vineyard sites for many years.  I recognized that the iconic wines of the world – in particular the best Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays – come from specific, distinctive vineyard sites, and that Wayfarer could be one of those wines.  With that idea, and the support of some remarkable individuals, we made the first Wayfarer estate wines in 2012.   

I am proud to have realized my father’s vision for Wayfarer Vineyard, and to carry on this legacy for my family.  For me, it is a special connection that I have with my father, and one I hope to share with my own children someday.

‘The Estate’ wines are signatures of Wayfarer Vineyard and reflect our truly special place on the Sonoma Coast. While our Block Selections (Golden Mean, Mother Rock, Paige’s Ridge, The Traveler) are intimate expressions of tiny parcels of land, each with only one or two clones represented in the wine, ‘The Estate’ wines are representative of the entire vineyard site as a whole, encapsulating the nuanced complexity created by a blend of clone, soil and microclimate across the property.

Our Pinot Noir ‘The Estate’ contains all eleven clonal selections planted at Wayfarer Vineyard, each contributing distinct character to the final blend. Likewise, our Chardonnay ‘The Estate’ contains our three Chardonnay clones planted, bringing many layers to this wine. These clonal selection, planted in individual blocks across different elevations and aspects within the vineyard, offer a multitude of dimensions for us to work with when creating the finished wines. Winemaker Todd Kohn and I strive each year to ensure that these two wines authentically represent our special site on the Sonoma coast, embodying the character of the vintage while maintaining the Wayfarer signature. 

Wayfarer's 2022 vintage was the product of a cool growing season and warm harvest. Budbreak came two weeks earlier than average, resulting in an early September harvest. Wayfarer received significant rainfall in the winter months, replenishing the soil, followed by a very dry April and May, which moderated vigor in the vineyard. June rains required diligent canopy management to balance airflow and sunlight, which proved to be essential to both ripen the fruit in a cooler year, and to not overexpose it to heat later in the season. With below-average temperatures in June and July, 2022 was a cool growing season on the Sonoma Coast until the weather warmed significantly during harvest.  However, even on the hottest days during harvest, Wayfarer experienced a diurnal shift of 30 degrees Fahrenheit, preserving acidity and freshness in the fruit. Due to a series of prior drought years, 2022 was a very low-yielding vintage, with Chardonnay production down 50% and Pinot Noir production down 35%, creating a profound concentration in the wines. The 2022 wines display both the luxurious texture and fruit-driven character of a warm harvest as well as the elegance and vibrancy indicative of a cool growing season.

In writing of this vintage, Antonio Galloni remarked “Proprietor Cleo Pahlmeyer and Winemaker Todd Kohn made all the right choices.”  We are thrilled by this acclaim and excited for you to experience these wines. 

I hope that you will experience the vision, passion and authenticity that has brought us to this milestone when tasting the 2022 Wayfarer ‘The Estate’ wines.  Thank you for being an important part of Wayfarer’s journey!

Best regards,

Cleo Pahlmeyer