I grew up hanging out in a winery converted from an old cow barn, walking vineyards, and tasting blends with my dad. Later, while in the restaurant industry, I was exposed to wines from across the globe and was especially struck by the wines of Italy’s Piedmont.
Learning natural systems and the world of wine in general was my route to making wine and starting Idlewild. I was also fortunate to have many friends and family to learn from along the way.
Emilia and Hudson are the kids, as well as my inspiration and joy. It’s funny how life seems to work in circles: these two are now walking vineyards and tasting blends with me.
— Sam Bilbro
Idlewild has a relatively concise aim within a broad context: to produce wines of exceptional balance and beauty. It is a journey to pursue Italy’s Piedmont in the elevated hills of Mendocino County, and to find the sides of these varieties that are intriguing, delicious, and haunting.
Each wine is unique and treated as such, though the common thread is balancing depth and seriousness with vibrancy and joy. Emphasis is on the vineyard followed by minimalist winemaking techniques. While not dogmatic in practice, an honest and sustainable approach is fundamental in making wines of purity.
Specific winemaking information can be found in each wine’s tasting notes.
Idlewild has a few homes: a lonely rolling ridge line in Yorkville Highlands, a strip of bench-land in Mendocino county, a funky warehouse turned simple winery, and a Salumi & Wine Bar just off the plaza in Healdsburg, CA.
Wild Ruth Ranch sits in the elevated hills of the Yorkville Highlands in southwest Mendocino. The schist veined sandstone is planted to 15 year old Arneis, Cortese, Dolcetto, Barbera, and Nebbiolo.
Located in Central Mendocino County, Fox Hill Vineyard is managed by Wild Ruth. The rocky elevated slopes are planted to 20-30 year old Arneis, Cortese, Dolcetto, Barbera, and Nebbiolo.
Between Geyserville and Healdsburg sits our cooperative winery (Idlewild, Leo Steen, Ryme Cellars, & Ruth Lewandowski). The focus is on traditional equipment and the joy of sharing and working with friends.
Off the plaza in Healdsburg, you’ll find our Idlewild outpost. Schedule a tasting to learn more about our wines, or stop in for a glass and a plate of salumi: Make a Reservation