Storrs is the creation of two people who firmly believed in the potential that the Santa Cruz Mountains held for truly great wine. Using their knowledge gleaned in years of winemaking at other operations and in their studies at UC Davis, Stephen Storrs and Pamela Bianchini-Storrs began their winery with the vintage of 1988. With the release of their very first wine – an excellent White Riesling they were capturing Gold Medals (at the prestigious San Francisco National Wine Competition, in this case).
When Steve attended UCD, he specialized in viticulture. Both Steve and Pamela agree that Steve's intimate knowledge of grapes is the key to much of their success. Pamela's emphasis (outside of dance) was enology and food microbiology… And like most Davis winemaking grads, she has carefully forgotten the “stuff” that seems to get in the way of good winemaking, and adopted a much more laissez-faire Burgundian approach that allows the wines to achieve their greatest potential. Their gift lies in their ability to blend wines that are a sum greater than its parts.
When they began, their case production totaled 1,200 cases. Over the years, they have steadily improved their facility and their equipment and now they have grown to a comfortable 12,000 cases, just right for two winemakers.
With the birth of their first child whose business card read, “Cellar & Rug Rat,” they have become a truly family-oriented company. Their three children represent the tenth generation of Storrs to be born in America. Samuel Storrs of Nottingham-cum-laude first arrived in Barnstable, Massachusetts in 1664. Yes, Storrs are related to Storrs, Connecticut where the Storrs eventually settled and where brothers Charles and Augustus Storrs gave the land for Storrs Agricultural School that later became UConn (Go Huskies!).
(vineyard in Santa Cruz Mountains)
Eventually, a branch moved north to found the hamlet of Hanover, New Hampshire. An Aaron Storrs was one of several founding citizens who gave land and was instrumental in the establishment of Dartmouth University at Hanover. Steve descends from those who settled in Hanover.
Pamela's background is mostly definitely Tuscan. Her Nonno (Italian grandfather) hailed from Montecatini di Terme and Nonna (grandmother) from Lucca, Italy. Her mother was born in California where Pamela's grandfather made the family's wine each fall including during the years of Prohibition. Pamela still has the special government permits that her grandfather obtained from the Department of the Treasury which allowed the production of 200 gallons of table wine strictly for family consumption during those dark days. Pamela credits her Nonno for giving her the determination to be the first woman in the family to graduate from college and for encouraging her interest in enology.
In 2001, Steve and Pamela realized their long-held dream when they purchased 50 acres in the Pleasant Valley district of Corralitos on the southwestern slopes of Mount Madonna. Since that day, they have slowly been converting the farm to sustainable/organic practices. Today, they organically farm three acres of heirloom Newtown Pippin apples which are sold to a local CSA (community-supported agriculture) farm share program and Martinelli's apple juice of Watsonville. In the spring and early summer of 2007, they planted their first 10 acres into selected Pinot Noir and Chardonnay clones and in time will expand their plantings to over 15 acres. In this endeavor, they are working to preserve wildlife corridors and habitat for the numerous animals that call Pleasant Valley their home.