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22 Mar 2022 | Jeremy Dugan


While the name Kyle Knapp might not sound familiar to you right away, he has been making a wine you have loved by the bunches over the last few years. The owner and winemaker at Press Gang Cellars has been making low-intervention wines since 2010 under the label him and his wife Savanna created. Kyle got his start by working a harvest for a local Santa Barbera County winery. He also spent one harvest in Western Australia where he really started appreciating the craft of wine making. After his harvest abroad Kyle came back home to harvest again and worked his way up to head winemaker at Stolpman Vineyards.

If you’ve been a fan of the natural wines that have been coming out of Stolpman you can thank Kyle for his handy work. With his personal wine label Press Gang Cellars he focuses on making small batch wines from like minded grape growers in Santa Barbera County. And when I say small batch, I mean it. Out of the seven wines we have carried from Press Gang since last year the most produced of any of them was fifty-six cases, that’s only six hundred and seventy-two bottles. So while I do encourage you to taste and enjoy the wines made at Press Gang Cellars, just remember if you like them to come back and buy more sooner rather than later. One of the things I enjoy the most about the wines from Press Gang Cellars is how clean and straightforward they are. A skill that is truly highlighted in natural wine making when you have good grapes and an awesome winemaker.

2021 Press Gang Cellars Rose, Santa Barbera County.

All Grenache used in this wine come from the Ballard Canyon Vineyard. Very crisp and clean in flavors. Summer feel of watermelon rind creates a mouth-water effect. Minerality keeps the flavors light with subtle citrus notes on the finish. The light flavors linger softly on the palate.

$28.99 per bottle

2021 Press Gang Cellars Trash Fire, Santa Barbera County.

This blend of Chardonnay (2/3) and Grenache Noir (1/3) is co-fermented which results in a wine that fits into the “Glou Glou” category, it could be chilled or drank at room temperature. Blueberries and dark cherries coat the palate and bring a juiciness to the experience. Soft black tea notes bring subtle tannic structure and hints of minerality keep it light. The fruit from the beginning comes out again on the finish, leaving you wanting more.

$28.99 per bottle

2018 Press Gang Cellars Grenache, Sta. Rita Hills.

Only 35 cases were made of this Grenache from Press Gang Cellars. Kyle’s goal with this series of wines from the Sta. Rita Hills is to highlight the single grape he puts in each. And what he has produced here is a very clean and straight forward wine. Black cherries and soft coco create a rich profile. Hints of plums adds to the fruitiness of the wine while characteristics similar to plum skins add just enough tannic structure to create depth. Softer cherry notes lead to an easy finish.

$30.99 per bottle

Press Gang Cellars Syrah, Sta. Rita Hills.

Only 35 cases were made of this Syrah from Press Gang Cellars. Kyle’s goal with this series of wines from the Sta. Rita Hills is to highlight the single grape he puts in each. And with this specific one you get a wine that isn’t fruity but has a lot of depth. White pepper and black tea up front leads to savory black olive characteristics. More white pepper on the finish lingers on the palate.

$30.99 per bottle

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