Mike Sumner, Winemaker
Mike launched Sumner Vineyards in 2002 after buying a 50-acre parcel of land that had ten acres under vine. During this time he worked closely with neighboring winemakers to gain insight into the region’s specific agricultural needs. Sumner is a Southern California native who grew up in Encino, California and graduated from San Francisco State University, College of Business, with a major in business management and marketing. He has had a career spanning construction, engineering, computer technical, and high tech sales. He says, “I’m excited to be involved in enlarging the scope of our vineyards as well as running test vineyards of other varietals. I visit some of the best vineyards in France every year, learning more about great Pinot Noirs. Combining that with the hands-on work of making our own wines, will allow me to showcase what our terroir has to offer.” Mike lives in Hayfork with his wife.
Ryen Rourke, Ranch Foreman
Ryen Rourke is a fifth-generation member of a farming and ranching family in Hayfork, California. He has a B.S. degree from California State University/Chico in Agriculture Science. Mr. Rourke has nearly two decades of experience in raising livestock, forages, and timber, as well as managing brushing crews and forestry resources. He has worked with farmers, ranchers, and timber land owners, helping to develop conservation plans, as well as designing Environmental Quality Incentives Programs with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Trinity Resource Conservation District. He has used ArcMap—geospatial processing program—to derive data and maps for the management of private and federal lands, and has done road and stream inventories for the US Forest Service. Additionally, he has worked as Lead Crewman for USDA-Cadastral Surveying. Ryen enjoys spending time hunting, fishing, and backpacking, with his wife and daughter.
About the Vineyards
Sumner Vineyards is a vineyard and winery located in the heart of the Hayfork Valley, a large agricultural basin in the middle of California’s Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Our cool winters and warm summers create the environment that produces our Pinot Noir wine grapes. We craft artisan, limited-production, 100% estate-grown wines, which are farmed on alluvial soils. Tradition and ingenuity mix at Sumner Vineyards to produce our Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir Rosé, and Pinot Gris wines.
Our family has always loved the hidden mountain valleys in far northern California. We began as ranchers, establishing cattle on our rolling hills and valley lands. Next came sheep, and fields of hay. Finally, our enthusiasm for a little pinecone-shaped grape cluster named “Pinot Noir” caught our imagination to the point of starting a vineyard . . . and then expanding that vineyard into more land and a winery. The fun never stops!
In 2002, we purchased the 50-acre Oliva Vineyard, which had ten acres under vine. The vines were eight years old, so we immediately began the work of producing our first Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris wines.
After years of ranching, our new vineyards are planted and a winemaking facility has been built.
Fifty acres, ten under vine, are producing the Pinot Noir grapes that thrive in our river valley, with an additional 50-65 acres being planted by the end of 2015.
Our property employs a range of environmentally-friendly features and methods. We present just a small portion below.
WATER – Rainwater harvested from each year’s winter storms creates most of the water used in our winemaking process, we also have two wells. The water is first collected from our vineyard’s irrigation pond, makes its way to the winery, and then is returned—filtered—to the pond.
COOLING -Concrete mass in the floor helps keep our winery building cool, and we purposely built over a few buried springs, which aids in increasing the overall cooling efficiency of the winery building.