Our Story

“Emeritus is one of the Russian River’s most accomplished Pinot Noir producers”
-Tom Hyland, Forbes


The Emeritus Vineyards story began with a remarkable ridgetop piece of land, Hallberg Ranch, in the cool Green Valley region of the Russian River Valley. The distinctive Goldridge soil that our vineyards are planted in allows us to dry farm our grapes, resulting in the remarkably deep and enduring root structures that shape the character and complexity of our Pinot Noirs while allowing the grapes to achieve ideal ripeness at lower sugar levels. The cool, foggy climate of our two renowned vineyards, Hallberg Ranch and Pinot Hill, gives our wines their pure, soaring flavors and elegant and energetic personalities. Last, but most important, the experience, wisdom, and passion of our acclaimed team give our wines their spirit, creating Pinot Noirs that are as unique as they are extraordinary.

Founders & Second Generation

Emeritus was founded in 1999 by Brice Cutrer Jones – the same year he sold Sonoma–Cutrer Vineyards, the iconic winery that he had spent a quarter century building into one of California’s most revered Chardonnay producers. “As one chapter in my life ended, another began,” says Brice. “I knew that I wanted to take everything I’d learned about growing grapes and apply it to making the finest Pinot Noirs in California. For over two decades, this has been our mission.” To achieve this goal, Brice was joined by several talented individuals who he had spent decades working alongside at Sonoma–Cutrer; people who shared his exacting vision and his desire to create a new benchmark for American Pinot Noir.

Today, Emeritus is run by Brice’s daughter, dynamic second-generation President Mari Jones. “Every wine we make comes from vines we planted and grapes we grew ourselves, and our expertise comes from working exclusively with Pinot Noir” says Mari. “I’ve known many of our team since I was a child playing in the vineyards at Sonoma-Cutrer. Each person here is among the best at what they do, and most bring a lifetime of experience to their roles. We love what we do, and we love working together, which is part of the essence of our wines.”


Guided by the steady hands of Winemaker Keith Hammond, every step in the evolution of an Emeritus Vineyards Pinot Noir is thoughtfully considered to create place-driven wines of unparalleled elegance and integrity. Made in the most gentle and sustainable way possible, we craft wines that are delightfully distinct and balanced, while honoring the vintage and the vineyards they come from.

We take the utmost care to preserve the purity of our fruit before fermentation even begins. We harvest at night, hand sort, and gently destem directly into tank. Once destemmed, the grapes soak at cool temperatures to extract color, aromas, and fresh fruit flavors. With native yeasts, we carefully guide the fermentation process with gentle punch-downs to extract character and supple tannins from the skins. At dryness, we keep the prized free-run wine separate from the press wine, and use gravity to fill our hand-selected French oak barrels.

Our barrels come from three renowned French tonneliers (barrel makers) that we have partnered with for many years. Like Emeritus, our tonneliers are multi-generational family-owned businesses with exacting standards of quality and craftsmanship. We also partner with French merrandiers (stave producers), to source wood from the regions and forests that best suit our wines, while constantly evaluating seasoning and toast levels to artfully frame the charm and character of our vineyards.

After secondary (malolactic) fermentation, our team evaluates every barrel of wine multiple times to assess wine-wood interactions, the evolution of flavors, and to begin determining the components for each of our Pinot Noirs. To preserve their elegance, nuance and complexity our wines are bottled without fining or filtration.


Emeritus is certified sustainable by both the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance and Sonoma County Winegrowers Climate Adaption Program. With 99% of Sonoma County’s entire vineyard acreage certified sustainable, we are proud to be part of the most sustainable winegrowing region in the world. More than 85% of the vineyards in Sonoma, including ours, are family owned and operated. By keeping our environment healthy we can preserve the viability of these family farms and agricultural region’s heritage for future generations.

Key Sustainable Practices at Emeritus Vineyards Include:

Dry Farming and Water Conservation: Because our estate vineyards are dry farmed (Hallberg since 2011 and Pinot Hill since 2013), we have saved over 400 million gallons of water!

Carbon Sequestration and Climate Adaptation Certification: Working with the California Land Stewardship Association we helped to pioneer climate adaptation certification. We focus our farming practices to sequester more carbon. As a result, both Pinot Hill and Hallberg Ranch are certified carbon negative.

Soil Health, Composting and Biodiversity: To promote soil health and biodiversity, we established two insectaries for beneficial insects, 12 owl boxes, planted 100 manzanita plants, 17 varieties of wildflowers, and different species of oak to sequester additional carbon. We apply 40 tons of natural compost (skins, seeds, stems, etc.) annually and have 20 sheep, which “mow” our vineyards.

Human Resources and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: In 2022, the North Bay Business Journal honored Emeritus Vineyards as one of the “North Bay’s Best Places to Work.

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