Beekeeper Cellars

Region | Sonoma County

Beekeeper started with a simple vow: “craft beautiful vineyard expressions from premier vineyard sites, and reintroduce the quality wine audience to Zinfandel.”

Beekeeper Cellars is the vision of best friends and co-winemakers Ian Blackburn and Clay Mauritson. The two collaborated after adventurous individual careers in the wine business, and at last, decided to work together on a project of their own.

Clay, a 7th generation grape grower, and his family found themselves the owners of a significant slice of the Rockpile Appellation, through an amazing set of historical land transactions. The Mauritson family realized the potential and parented the creation of the ROCKPILE AVA. In 1998, Ian and Clay climbed the hill and watched the Madrone Spring Vineyard get planted while discussing the future of Rockpile and the dream it represented.

In 2008, Clay saw the fruits of his family’s labor taking shape and came to Ian with a unique opportunity to source some of the Rockpile fruit. He told Ian in the difficult days of 2008, “now is the time to get in and build the business and have it take shape as the market improves, and to not wait until the business is strong as you will have a hard time getting access to the right quality assets.” Ian took heed of Clay’s wise comment and said: “When your best friend is Clay Mauritson and he offers Rockpile fruit and to assist with winemaking…… you make Zinfandel.”

In Los Angeles, Ian operates a specialty wine marketing organization known as wineLA and has pioneered wine education for the past 20 years (since 1995) through and  Beekeeper Cellars is also involved in Ian’s Masters of Wine Thesis project and provides him the winemaking training he requires to help pass the difficult Masters of Wine exam…an ongoing pursuit.

Beekeeper started with a simple vow: “craft beautiful vineyard expressions from premier vineyard sites, and reintroduce the quality wine audience to Zinfandel.”  Today, we continue towards this goal. Our wines are crafted with all the attention to detail of an ultra-premium Cabernet; premier vineyards, low yields, careful hand selection of fruit, artisan winemaking, quality focused, not quantity and the expensive use of time in quality French Oak barrels. Because of this meticulous approach and our mission, our wines are built to age. In fact, they require age. We strive to assure our audience that our Zinfandel is a worthy investment and that patience will be rewarded with additional cellarage. Ian, Clay, and day to day winemaker Emma Kudritzki Hall cannot be more excited about sharing their wines for years to come.

In the 1800’s, you needed to have a noble profession to enter into America, my Great Grandparents were entertainers “pre” Vaudeville – and that was NOT considered a noble profession…. quite the opposite…. I think they were actually trying to keep “us” types out of America!  Our family was modest and lived off the land and were at one point Beekeepers, hunters, farmers… and singing and dancing was part of that life….  so they took some liberties and said “we are Beekeepers” and that was and still is “a noble profession.”  The family “bi-line” was established… “we come from a long line of Beekeepers.”

My Uncle, by whom I’m named after, used the radio handle “Beekeeper” during his time as a Naval officer. Thus continuing the family expression “we come from a long line of Beekeepers” … and now, I’m a Beekeeper too.

We also support local Bee oriented Charities – such as Honey Love and know the secrets of the beehive are still coming forward… and that the future of all our lives is predicated on the survival of the Honey Bee.  Love live BEEKEEPER and may we continue to be blessed by Mother Nature herself.

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