Thank you for visiting Wines by James MacPhail.
Throughout my winemaking career, I have always taken very seriously the honor of putting a world-class wine on your table. Wine is a very personal and intimate product – from the grower who grows the wine-grapes, to the farmer and farm hands, to the viticulturist and winemaker, the cellar masters and winery workers, and ultimately to you.
I grew up with wine on the table; my father taught my sister and I that wine was part of the meal, which led to the geeky kid in college who would rather have wine than beer or liquor. So when I found my love of the wine-grape as a career, it hit me – why not take this artisanal craft and combine it with my love of food, conversation and laughter?
Today, I am an Independent Winemaker specializing in crafting Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with full winemaking control from berry-to-bottle. I work with over 70 special vineyard sites throughout Sonoma and Napa County, for 10 wine brands based in Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino Counties.
Each brand I represent shares in my own passion of working with dedicated high-quality wine-grape growers, who practice sustainable farming – all with the same goal: creating balanced, varietally-driven, honest, world-class wines.
My wife Kerry and I have our own small brand – Tongue Dancer Wines – as well as my aptly named ‘The Departure’ brand.
I hope you enjoy the wines I craft as much as I enjoy making them for you.
Crafted by Nature, Nurtured by Hand.
28+ years in the wine industry
Over 200+ wines scored 90+ points in major wine publications
Cover of Wine Spectator – December 2006
Wine Spectator Top 100 – 2017
Wine Enthusiast Top 100 – 2018 & 2022
Numerous Wine Enthusiast ‘Cellar Selection’ and ‘Editors Choice’
continuing over a 20-year span
Avid swimmer who loves traveling, cooking, and spending time
with the family (wife Kerry and two daughters)
Works only with wine-growers who share his love of the land and who practice sustainable farming
James has made wines from Oregon, Anderson Valley, Santa Barbara (Sta. Rita Hills), as well as wines from his own “backyard” of Green Valley of the Russian River Valley, Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Oakville, Atlas Peak, West Sonoma Coast, Sonoma Coast and Carneros
31 years of professional experience
Informal education began with growing up as the daughter of a Mexican-immigrant father who developed and managed York Creek Vineyards, Spring Mountain in St .Helena
Bachelor’s Degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
Viticulturist for Sterling Vineyards, North Coast
Viticulturist for Pacific Vineyard Management Group, Central Coast
Managed vineyards for Kendall Jackson & Hall Napa Valley, Napa and Sonoma Counties
Managed, replanted, and developed hundreds of acres on the Central Coast, Napa, and Sonoma Counties
Directed the due-diligence on property acquisitions
Consulted on vineyards in Chile and Argentina
Extensive grower-relations experience, focused on bridging communication between growers and winemakers to achieve the common goal of making the best wine from each site
From small agriculture town, Watsonville, in Santa Cruz County
Graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with degree in Agriculture Business and minor in Viticulture and Enology
20 years in the wine industry (hospitality, laboratory, cellar, vineyard and winemaking)
Has made wine in New Zealand, Australia, Colorado, San Luis Obispo and Sonoma County of California
Have been a part of producing over 20 different varietals with a passion for coastal cool climate varietalsLives in Sebastopol with Wife Annika and daughters Luia and Afie and are often at the coast or exploring west Sonoma county
Grew up Surfing, Skateboarding and Snowboarding and still enjoy practicing all three