Lodi, CA, June 26, 2016 — It takes a lot of audacity to name a wine created to be served at weddings “Ball and Chain,” but Solitary Cellars Wine Co. is no ordinary winery.
Owned by two California state correctional officers, Solitary Cellars is well known for not taking itself too seriously and having fun with the sometimes stuffy and too-proper wine industry.
The tagline for their winery, after all, is: “Solitary Cellars — Wines Without Restraints.” Their wine club is called the Chain Gang, with two levels, Minimum and Maximum Custody, and the tasting room is called the North Block Tasting Room.
Now winery partners Greg “Bergie” Bergersen and Rick “Q” Quesada are having a little more fun by offering brides and grooms with a sense of humor a new wine to serve at their weddings: Ball and Chain, a term that can be applied to both prisoners and wives. Facetiously and with a smile for the latter, of course.
“My wife, Syndi and I were approached by Curtis Williamson and he respectfully asked for our blessing to marry our daughter Paige,” says Bergersen, who retired from corrections in 2014 to start the winery with Quesada, who is still active. “We enthusiastically agreed and that began the conversation about wine served at their wedding dinner.”
Of course, his daughter asked for one of Dad's wines. But not just any wine.
“My daughter asked if we could develop a wine that no one had ever tasted and that would be unique to them,” says Bergersen. “We put the request in motion and developed a Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah blend. The wine was rich, full flavored and very balanced. We decided to call the blend Ball and Chain. The name seemed appropriate as the term has a prison component, as our blends do, but also has to do with a widely used phrase describing a marital relationship, as in ‘the old ball and chain.’
”The wine was not only a big hit at his daughter's wedding, it won a gold medal from the San Joaquin County Wine Growers Association, and Bergersen and Quesada hope other wedding couples take a shine to it.
“We plan on bottling the blend in large-format bottles, because our wedding customers can have the bottles signed by the entire wedding party,” says Bergersen. “We hope the new vintage of Ball and Chain, which is scheduled for a 2016 late fall or early 2017 release will be found at many weddings throughout the country.”
About Solitary Cellars:
Owned and operated by Greg Bergersen and Rick Quesada, two California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officers with more than 45 years of service in California’s most dangerous prisons, Solitary Cellars produces wines in Lodi, California (Wine Enthusiast’s Wine Region of the Year 2015), working with renowned growers from Monterey County, Amador County, Lodi and Lake County. The winery's portfolio of premium wines features deep red wines that show off the essence of California's most-respected vineyards and wine growers.
The Solitary Cellars portfolio currently include the 2014 Code Three (a red wine blend) (Lodi); 2012 and 2013 Liberty Oak Tempranillo (Lodi); 2014 Solitary Cellars Albariño (Lodi); 2013 Evasion Syrah Rosé (Fresno); 2012 and 2013 Solitary Cellars Old Vine Zinfandel (Lodi); 2013 Santa Lucia Highlands Syrah; 2013 Shenandoah Valley Barbera (Amador); 2013 Monterey County Pinot Noir.
The wines are targeted to consumers directly in the tasting room, online and in select restaurants and wine bars.
Solitary Cellars’ winery is located in Lodi and its North Block Tasting Room is located in Madera, California.
Marci Bracco Cain
Salinas, CA 93901