Unique Rusack Wines from Santa Catalina Island
William Wrigley, Jr., of Wrigley Co. chewing gum fame, bought Santa Catalina Island Co., owners of all the
developable land on the island in 1919. Alison Wrigley Rusack, William’s great-granddaughter, along with her
husband Geoffrey Rusack, owners of Rusack Vineyards and Winery in Solvang, California, established a
vineyard on the island in 2007 at El Rancho Escondido, a working Arabian horse ranch used for Wrigley’s
horses and founded in 1930. The initial planting included three acres of Pinot Noir, 2 acres of Chardonnay and
one acre of Zinfandel (using cuttings from Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Island chain). No one had
previously made wine from Santa Catalina Island, but it turned out that the cool climate and clay loam soils
were ideal for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
The inaugural harvest was from the 2009 vintage. After picking, the grapes were airlifted to the Santa Ynez
Airport for processing at the Rusack winery by winemaker Steven Gerbac.
Visit the winery tasting room in Ballard Canyon that is open daily. Tasting fee is $15. The setting is ideal for
picnics. The winery website is www.rusack.com.
2015 Rusack Santa Catalina Island Vineyards California Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.40, TA 0.758, 136
cases, $72. Released November 2017. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 9% new. Bottled unfiltered.
Light ruby red color in the glass. Attractive aromas of dark cherry, woodland spice and cola. Charming mid
weight cherry goodness in a feminine, lacy style. Juicy, with suave tannins and just a hint of sandalwood.
Admirable harmony, with a very long and expansive finish.
2015 Rusack Santa Catalina Island Vineyards California Chardonnay
13.8% alc., pH 3.32, TA 0.70, 136
cases, $60. Released November 2017. Barrel fermented
100% malolactic fermentation, lees stirring for 4 months.
Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 56% new.
golden yellow color in the glass. Enticing aromas and
flavors of green apple, lemon-lime, grapefruit and spice. An
acid-driven style with impeccable oak integration and an acid-fueled,
quenching finish. This is a vibrant and flavorful wine that will thoroughly
please Chardonnay aficionados.