Copeland Creek Vineyards

Owner(s) Peter Pfendler
Web site
Link to this site

Don Baumhefner is a long-time veteran of Sonoma County winemaking who spent a number of years with Joe Swan at his eponymous winery in the heart of the Russian River Valley (refer to past issues of the PinotFile for further details about Don’s friendship and experiences working along side Joe Swan). Don made his first barrel of wine 30 years ago in his family’s barn. He was an innovator, starting several wine bars in the San Francisco Bay area back in the 1980s when the concept was brand new. In 1980, he established the wine program at the new Santa Rosa restaurant, John Ash & Co. Here he worked as a sommelier and pioneered the practice of offering fine wines by the glass. In 1992, he directed the Sonoma Mountain planting of the first Pfendler Ranch Vineyard to Bordeaux varietals. Shortly thereafter, he supervised the planting of a 6-acre Pinot Noir vineyard along the lower slopes of Sonoma Mountain near Copeland Creek. The vineyard was planted to Swan (no surprise!) and Dijon 114, 115, 777 and 838 clones and benefits from a long growing season in the Sonoma Coast appellation.

The vineyards were owned by Peter Pfendler, but Don was the vineyard manager, winemaker and sales manager for Pfendler Vineyards. The name was eventually change to Copeland Creek and Don released a series of outstanding Pinot Noirs, several of which made the PinotFile North American All- American list. Tragically, Peter Pfendler passed away in 2007 and his widow decided to take the winery in a new direction with a new name (Pfendler Vineyards) and new winemaker, Greg Bjornstad. Don subsequently became the winemaker at Ridgeway Vineyards in Petaluma for a short time. The last vintage for Copeland Creek was 2005.

Reviewed Wines

2005 Copeland Creek Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

$30. The wine was aged in 33% new oak and has now spent about 8 months in bottle. The 2001, 2003 and 2005 (alternate years) of this wine produced more color and fruit concentration. · Light in color, this wine shows nice penetrating aromas of the Holy Trinity of Pinot Noir - red fruits, oak and spice. Light in weight and silky in texture, with plenty of finesse, this Pinot exhibits lovely red cherry flavors enhanced by a hint of spice. No fancy heavy bottle or cutesy cork - just good Pinot at a fair price. Reviewed January 7, 2008 ARTICLE »

2005 Copeland Creek Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $30. From a vineyard adjacent Gap’s Crown Vineyard in the Petaluma Gap. Last vintage for this wine crafted by Don Baumhefner. · Moderate color, veering toward the red spectrum. Delicate and pleasing aromas of strawberries, red cherries, sandalwood and oak spice with a cut flower scent developing with time in the glass. Tasty red fruits including cranberries. An elegant, food-friendly wine that is silky smooth and easy to drink. Still available from the producer. Very good. Reviewed June 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

2004 Copeland Creek Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $30. · A medium bodied Pinot Noir of great breeding. Cherries, plums, nutmeg, cinnamon and sweet oak aromas draw you in. Red fruits dance on the palate and that telltale spicy cherry finish that Copeland Creek is known for lingers forever. A beautifully balanced wine of great complexity and elegance. Pick any superlative you wish. Reviewed January 15, 2007 ARTICLE »

2003 Copeland Creek Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

348 cases, $30. This is another producer that I have recommended in the PinotFile. Winemaker Don Baumhefner has a touch with Pinot Noir and he is developing quite a following. I seem to pick out Copeland Creek Pinot Noir in several blind tastings as a favorite. The wine may be purchased from the website. The 2004 vintage is quite good also and will be released in the spring of this year. · The style here is elegant with plenty of bright cherries, toasty oak, spice and hint of citrus to satisfy. Great scent, juicy, and lovely Pinot delicacy. Reviewed January 22, 2007 ARTICLE »

2003 Copeland Creek Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $30. · This Pinot is more akin to one from the Russian River Valley than the Sonoma Coast. A lovely perfume of cherries, musk, vanilla and oak (I would like to put some behind my ear and cuddle up my wife). The wine contains a super sized dose of Bing cherries and a touch of exotic woods and spice on the finish. Perfectly balanced. A righteous wine with plenty of spunk. Reviewed June 19, 2006

2002 Copeland Creek Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 450 cases, $30, sold out. · This charmer has a pretty and assertive nose of strawberries, cranberries and nutmeg. The deep cherry and red berry flavors are notable, but it is the Chambolle-like spice that really turned me on. Great when you pull the cork and equally fine an hour or two later. Reviewed June 19, 2006

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