2018 Idlewild Fox Hill Vineyard Barbera, Mendocino, USA

With notes of raspberry liqueur and some floral aromatics, a mild spice note and a very faint leafiness on the nose. Dense but not heavy on the palate. A wonderful expression of Barbera that is rarely seen outside of Italy.



The climate with Fox Hill Vineyards is marked by a clash of maritime and continental influence. At 1500 feet of elevation, the vineyard often looks down on the fog hugging the valley below, or transversely, the cooling winds run along the ridge as the heat sinks on warmer days. The soils are comprised of deep fractured sandstone with veins of schist. Thevine roots work hard to push deep into the rock, and in turn, a powerful core can be found in the fruit grown here. Holistic and organic practices ensure a healthy site for now and for future generations to come.

Barbera is all acid and no tannin... literally, there is next to no tannin in the skins. With this in mind, the grapes were fully foot trodden and all stems were included for added spice and structure. The must fermented naturally via native yeast and bacteria. At dryness, the wine was pressed to large Slovenian oak Botti where it evolved and integrated for a year. Then, a year in bottle completed its aging.


Sam Bilbro 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, he 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 his route to making wine and starting Idlewild. He was also fortunate to have many friends and family to learn from along the way.

Idlewild sources fruit from just two vineyards: Lost Hills Ranch and Fox Hill Vineyard Both are managed by Wild Ruth Farming, a collaboration between Idlewild and Ruth Lewandowski Wines. Holistic farming ensures that the site and vintage are allowed to speak.

Lost Hills Ranch is a dream. The beautiful loneliness of the open hills and the sentinel oaks covered in Spanish moss project out a sense of calm. The vineyard sits at 1500 ft of elevation, and the roots work hard to dig into fractured sandstone with schist veins and just a thin top layer of sandy clay. The Yorkville Highlands AVA sits along the southwest corner of Mendocino county and is marked by the clash of maritime and continental climates.

Fox Hill Vineyard is one of the most unique vineyards in Northern California. Located southeast of Ukiah on Mendocino’s Talmage Bench, the soils are well drained with high concentrations of gravel, quartz, and sandstone. What makes this site so special is the fact that Lowell Stone decided to buck every trend and simply plant what he was interested in planting. Many trips to Italy turned to inspiration and the wild spectrum of varieties began to take root.


Grape(s) Barbera
Farming Organic