Gap Year Adventure

Follow along on our travels as we adventure out into the world - first along the West Coast followed by a trip across our great country. In September we fly to Portugal to start a 3 month exploration of Europe.

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If you are in need of more information about producers of Pinot Noir click here

Rusty Gaffney, a retired ophthalmologist has had a love affair with Pinot Noir for nearly forty years. When he retired in 2001, he decided to devote my energies to writing the PinotFile, an online newsletter that was the first wine publication exclusively devoted to Pinot Noir. Since that time, Rusty has reviewed thousands of Pinot Noirs from all over the world and shared his thoughts first with friends and now with the world at large! For information about virtually any producer, wine region or just to enjoy his ramblings on his favorite wine variety, check out PinotFile at



I drink it when I'm happy and when I'm sad. Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I'm not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it - unless I'm thirsty.

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Palate Pleasing Pinot


WesMar is a small winery in the Russian River Valley located in an old apple processing plant.  The owners, Denise Mary Selyem is the daughter of Ed Selyem and both her and her husband Kirk Wesley Hubbard worked at Williams Selyem for several years before the winery was sold in 1997.   They hand craft their wines using old traditional methods with a soft touch and an elegant style.  They have no employees – doing all the work themselves to craft small lot Pinot Noir.

This two person team seem to want to make great Pinot Noir and are not out to chase scores only recently have they gone out and to show their wines at any of the many Pinot Noir events around the country.  No, they are a modest couple who seem to want to stay out of the spotlight and let their wines speak for them.  Kirk and Denise lover to interact with their loyal and growing fan base of consumers and are very personable and receive visitors to their modest 1,500 square foot winery on an appointment bases only. 

The primary way to get their wines is to sign up on their website and join their mailing list - virtually all of their wine is sold from the mailing list or from their web site.  There are two distinctive hallmarks of WesMar (pronounced Wes-Mare as in MARy) Pinot Noir.  There is a consistency from one vintage to the next and from bottle to bottle  and the bottling's from each vintage are all unique.  They strive to make wines that are unique but with very similar levels of richness and depth.  The wine making is slow and focused on caring for the fruit the entire process.  No pumps, all labor done by hand.  Pressing is done with an old incarnated bladder press once used for apples, fermentations are in five ton, double-wall, rectangular open top stainless steel shipping milk shipping containers and all punch downs are done by hand.  Picking is done based on taste of the fruit but usually with a much lower sugar level (Brix) than a lot of producers in the area.   Aging is in Francois Freres oak barrels and there is no fining or filtering done as the wines are lovingly tendered in small lots and constantly monitored for stability. 

Recently, Kirk and Denise purchased a small farmhouse on ten acres just outside the town of Sebastopol that previously grew apples.  Over time, it is their plan to plant Pinot Noir and produce an estate bottling. There are some library wines available and well worth picking up as well as getting on their mailing list for current and future releases.

Wes Mar Winery mailing address is P.O. Box 810, Forestville, CA 95436. Tasting is available by appointment by calling 707-829-8824. The website is The wines are sold through a mailing list with very little retail availability.




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