Our Story

THE HISTORY

The Moshin Vineyards story is one of unlikely beginnings, tenacious hard work, and a passion for winemaking. Founder Rick Moshin went from being a San Jose State University math instructor to a pioneer of Russian River winemaking. He literally built the brand from the ground up—without the assistance of outside investors – keeping ownership solely within his family. To this day, you can still find Rick tending vineyards, tasting barrels in the cellar, conducting virtual wine events, building furniture for the tasting room, or repairing the plumbing. He was DIY way before it was a thing!

Since way back in 1989, Rick has been producing natural terroir-driven, and delicious wines in the Russian River Valley – sustainably farming the Estate Pinot Noir vineyards that thrive on sunny Goldridge soil slopes and turning those grapes into small-lot premium wines in the gravity-flow Moshin Vineyards winery located on Sonoma County’s famed Westside Road.

The first vintage of Moshin Pinot Noir in 1989 was not without its challenges – an early rain during harvest soaked the picking crew and the Moshin Family as they picked their first Pinot Noir grapes. Rick remained undeterred and continued to enthusiastically farm his vineyard – reworking the caning structure and planting new vines. “It all starts in the vineyard” remains one of his winemaking philosophies with a focus on sustainable vineyard practices followed by light-handed fermentation techniques – utilizing native yeasts, no additives, and the gentle movement of gravity for moving select Pinot Noir lots from tank to barrel to bottling line.

The early 1990’s found Rick teaching mathematics at San Jose State University during the week and farming his 10-acre Pinot Noir vineyard on the weekends. During this time, he connected with local winemaking icons and grape growers such as Davis Bynum, Gary Farrell, and Joe Rochioli – gleaning knowledge, grape cuttings and even selling some of his own grapes to Davis Bynum for a Bynum-Moshin designate bottling. These deep roots in the history of Russian River Valley winemaking have built a solid foundation upon which Moshin Vineyards has grown – culminating in 25 acres of Estate vineyards, a state of the art four-tier gravity flow winery, and a talented team of hospitality and winemaking support.

Just prior to 2005, Rick’s sister Janet Moshin moved from Arkansas to come on board full time to manage Administration and Human Resources while Rick’s wife, Amber Moshin joined the team a couple of years later to run Marketing of the Moshin brand. The winery was opened in Fall of 2005 and now boasts a popular tasting room that pours a snapshot of what is available from the winemaker’s portfolio. Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Red Blends, dessert wines, sparkling wine and seasonal surprises are presented by a dedicated, friendly, and knowledgeable hospitality team. The results of this amazing work dynamic can be found in reviews, repeat customers, referrals, and the loyalty of Moshin Wine Club Members.

Connect with us at Moshin Vineyards by experiencing a bottle or visiting us for a taste of Russian River wine country – family style!

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THE team

RICK MOSHIN

Owner & Winemaker

In the late 1970s, while teaching math at San Jose State University and working a side hustle at a home-brewing supply store, Rick was encouraged to try his hand at winemaking—and fell deeply, madly in love. His hunger for grapes soon inspired him to become a grape broker, earning access to extra fruit while forging relationships with vineyard owners throughout Northern California. This gig allowed him to be in the right place when a certain Pinot Noir vineyard—the first acreage in our estate—went up for sale in 1989.

A self-taught farmer who (along with friends and family) built our gravity-flow winery by hand, Rick enjoys experimenting with different varietals and winemaking methods. His heart will always belong to Pinot Noir, but as a passionate viticulturist and vintner, he remains ever-curious about the whole world of wine. 

GW LUSSIER

Cellar Master

A native of St. Helena in the Napa Valley, GW grew up helping out in small vineyards and cellars, rarely imagining life outside California wine country. Then 9/11 happened, inspiring the then-17-year-old to head east to military college, after which he was commissioned by the U.S. Army; he served as an infantry officer, Airborne paratrooper, and Ranger before becoming a rifle platoon leader during his first tour in Iraq. Prior to being stationed in Germany in 2011, he traveled to the Champagne region of France, where he saw area farmers and winemakers hard at work—and re-discovered his love for wine.

Following a 2014 deployment in Afghanistan, he left the military to pursue a career in (of all things) deep-sea diving. But though he became certified in Florida as a dive medic, scuba instructor, and underwater welder, work in these fields proved elusive, so he returned to California to find his place in the wine industry.

He soon took a harvest internship at Pahlmeyer, went on to Williams Selyem as a winery operations trainee and cellar worker, then joined the Moshin cellar team in spring 2019. GW lives on a Knights Valley ranch with his girlfriend and Viszla dog, Krieger, and looks forward to making Anderson Valley Pinot Noir under his own label, Lussier-Cadet. 

RYNE WHEELER

Cellar Assistant

Ryne’s start in the wine industry began with a simple introduction: his stepfather grew up with Rick Moshin. Ryne worked his first harvest at Moshin in 2012, and was so hooked on the process that he returned for five more, all while keeping his regular gig at a health club in Sebastopol. He became our full-time cellar assistant in 2017, and loves that winemaking work keeps him active all day long—and results in wine.

AMBER MOSHIN

Marketing Director 

Amber used to tend bar at beloved local spots like The Altamont in Occidental, the lobby bar at the Hotel Healdsburg, and Underwood Bistro in Graton, but it was a tasting room gig at Rochioli Vineyards that ignited her passion for wine.

And speaking of passion: In 2003, a wine shop owner discreetly introduced her to Rick Moshin, whom she married soon afterward. When our Westside Road winery was opened in 2005, she began exclusively selling Moshin Vineyards wines—and has been doing so ever since.

An artist in multiple media, Amber has also designed several of our specialty wine labels. She’s pictured here with one of her photos on canvas, as well as some of her Moshin label designs. 

JANET MOSHIN

Administration & Human Resources

Janet and her brother Rick never had wine around their house while growing up, but when he moved up to Sonoma County in 1989 to pursue a winemaking career, she soon learned to love it. Throughout the 1990s, she sold Rick’s wines throughout Sonoma County; she’s since become responsible for everything from the winery’s accounting to inventory. A huge fan of our Calliope Vineyard Pinot Noir, she’s never missed a Moshin harvest and loves helping her family business succeed and grow.

JULIA LANDER

Director of Hospitality

In 1995, then-teenage Julia helped her home-winemaker uncle bottle his harvest; by 2001, she was officially working in Sonoma County’s wine industry. Following a tasting room stint at Foppiano Winery and retail experience at a Healdsburg wine shop, she became Assistant Winemaker at the Dry Creek Valley’s Teldeschi Winery. She joined Moshin in 2005 (she says she “came with the building,” as our Westside Road winery was built that same year), and after working one harvest year in the Cellar Lab, moved into Hospitality—where she still thrives today.
An avowed opera nerd, Julia runs our Reading Beween the Vines salons and curates our quarterly art shows.

COLLEEN CAVE

Wine Club Coordinator

Colleen’s career in wine has been described as “somebody else’s retirement dream.” In 1984, a Sunset Magazine article on the then-burgeoning Pacific Northwest wine industry led Colleen and her husband, Mark, to wineries in Washington’s Yakima Valley, where tasting room, admin, marketing, and sales positions would follow at wineries like Covey Run Vintners and Kiona Vineyards. A part-time retail gig at a Bellevue wine shop enabled her to further expand her wine knowledge. Colleen and Mark returned to California and moved to San Luis Obispo County in 2001, where she worked as Tasting Room Manager at Grey Wolf Cellars for a decade. A short stint in Arizona wine country would follow before Colleen and Mark arrived in Sonoma County in 2014—and she’s happily been at Moshin (and not retired) since 2016.

HECTOR LOPEZ

Tasting Room Manager

While studying Culinary Arts at Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC), with the intention of continuing at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Hector realized that cooking wasn’t his true passion. Pursuing a path based on his love for wine instead, he soon worked his way to Tasting Room Lead at Ferrari-Carano Winery, and became a Moshin Vineyards Wine Club member before joining our tasting room staff.

TINA BAYLES

Social Media Specialist

A native of Texas, Tina worked as a copywriter at large and small advertising agencies across the state before relocating to the Bay Area in California. Once there, she found herself captivated by the storied traditions of winemaking and fine wine found in the Russian River Valley. After working in the Moshin Tasting Room for a year, she now focuses her skills on spreading the word about Moshin Vineyards’ exceptional offerings through it’s social media channels. 

JASPER

Winery Dog and “Finder of Lost Corks”

Born in 2015, Jasper is known more for his fuzzy eyebrows and skill at games of tug than what kind of dog he actually is. Sweet, playful, and devoted to his mom, Janet, he brightens the winery on weekdays with face licks and his wagging tail.

The Estate Vineyards

Russian River Valley
Moshin Estate Vineyard
Our original 10-acre vineyard
Set on the valley floor adjacent to the Russian River
Planted in the early 1980s to Dijon clones of Pinot Noir
Re-planted in 2007-2008-2009 to Martini, Swan, Mt. Eden, and Wädenswil 2A clones of Pinot Noir
River alluvial fan with deep, loamy soils that are rich in nutrients from occasional winter flooding
Calliope Vineyard
2.5-acre vineyard planted in 2005
Goldridge soils on a gentle slope with full southern exposure
Planted with Pommard 5, Wädenswil 2A, and Calera clones of Pinot Noir
Rosalina Vineyard
5-acre vineyard planted in 2007
4.5 acres of Pinot Noir: Calera, Wädeswil 2A, and Pommard 5 on two rootstocks
.5 acre of Pinot Blanc: Alsace 7 clone
Goldridge soil and full southern exposure on an 18-20° slope
River Myst Haven Vineyard
2.5-acre vineyard planted in 2010
Planted by Rick Moshin and leased long-term from our neighbor above the winery
Gently-sloped Goldridge soil with a south-southeast exposure
Martini and Swan clones of Pinot Noir
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The Moshin Estate is comprised of four vineyards, all planted along Westside Road at the southwestern border of the Middle Reach neighborhood of the Russian River Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area). This classic neighborhood is known for producing textured wines with ripe flavors and gentle aromatics of florals, earth, and baking spices — elements you’ll find in the various styles of Moshin Vineyards Pinot Noir.

Our estate vineyards are named Moshin Estate, Calliope, Rosalina, and River Myst Haven. Set either near or adjacent to the Russian River and its maritime influence, all four vineyards benefit from the Russian River Valley’s ideal growing conditions for premium Pinot Noir: ample morning fog, daily temperature swings of 35 degrees, and in some cases, the golden-hued mix of sandy loam and clay known as Goldridge soil. 

THE PROCESS

GRAVITY FLOW AT MOSHIN

In order to pamper our estate specialty, Pinot Noir, our owner/winemaker Rick Moshin (along with family and friends) designed and built one of California’s first gravity-flow wine cellars. Delicate, thin-skinned Pinot Noir grapes are sensitive to being overworked, so Moshin Vineyards’ four-level cellar uses the momentum of gravity—rather than the more aggressive power of pumps and conveyors—to gently move them between each stage of wine production. 

Gravity Flow Process

Here is how our unique gravity-flow cellar is arranged:

CRUSH PAD
Grapes are sorted and destemmed then fall into fermentation tanks below the Press Pad.

FERMENTATION/ CRUSH PAD
Fermentation begins here then free fun and pressed wine drains into settling tanks on the cellar level.

CELLAR
Settled wine is drained into barrels then stacked with a forklift for aging in the cellar.

BOTTLE LEVEL
Finished wine is pushed with nitrogen back into settling tanks, then it flows to the bottling lines to be bottled and labeled.

Gravity Flow Winemaking Four Tier Process

Gravity Flow Video

Gravity-flow cellar production allows us to naturally capture the fragrant aromatics and delicious flavors of our estate Pinot Noir, as well as our Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and more.

See our gravity-flow winemaking process for yourself!

Accolades & Reviews

2020 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
2019 Sommelier Challenge, International Wine & Spirits Competition
2019 Harvest Challenge Wine Competition
2019 Denver International Wine Competition
2019 Dink Pink Vino – International Rosé Wine Festival
2019 Sunset International Wine Competition
2019 Experience Rosé Wine Competition
2019 North of the Gate Wine Competition
2019 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
2019 TEXSOM International Wine Awards
2018 Experience Rosé
2018 International Rosé Wine Festival
2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
2014 American Fine Wine Competition
2013 American Fine Wine Competition
2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
2012 American Fine Wine Competition
2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition