Helen Keplinger grew up in a wine and food-centric family and was herself always fascinated by science, art and nature; hence, she gravitated towards winemaking and in 1998, earned a master’s degree in Enology from UC Davis. With degree in hand, Helen embarked on what would be a remarkably impressive lineup of apprenticeships with famed winemakers including Heidi Barrett of Paradigm Winery in Napa Valley and Kathy Josephs of Fiddlehead Cellars in Santa Barbara not to mention her work with renowned, Bordeaux-based Oenologist, Michel Rolland and master Vineyard Manager, David Abreau. Helen also spent several years in Priorat, Spain making wines for Cellers Melis and while taking side trips to France with her husband, DJ, developed a fascination with Rhône varietals. Back in the states, Helen continued landing gigs at noteworthy estates including Kenzo, Sarocka, Fort Ross, Arrow & Branch and Bryant Family Cellars before finally launching her own label, ‘Keplinger Wines’ in 2006. With a focus on small-production, single vineyard, Rhône-style wines from unique and diverse sites in Napa, Sonoma and the Sierra Foothills, Keplinger Wines has gone on to accrue many press accolades including Food & Wine Magazine’s ‘2012 Winemaker of the Year’.
Vermillion is Keplinger's ‘2nd label’ and the Vermillion red gets much of the same high-quality fruit (from Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma and El Dorado County in the Sierra Foothills) and expert winemaking as the pricier, fully-allocated Keplinger wines. Appropriately named after the collection of brilliant red hues revered by 20th Century Renaissance painters, this blend of 52% Grenache, 21% Mourvèdre, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah, 6% Petite Sirah, and 1% Counoise showcases vibrant red fruit notes as in red cherry, red currant, cranberry and pomegranate. 16 months aging in French oak lends the wine some solid structure and notes of exotic spices such as sandalwood, cinnamon and cardamom, which add depth and complexity to the core of juicy red berry fruit. With a lush texture, bright acidity and supple tannins, this is an impeccably balanced, almost too-easy-to-drink red blend that can be savored on its own or paired with a simple roasted chicken or charcuterie board.