Bill’s winemaking interests began during his early college wrestling days in Oregon almost 50 years ago. "I fermented anything I could get my hands on," says Mosby. "I was — and still am — intrigued by the whole process."
When Bill talks about his early winemaking days, he does so with an air of excitement. "As much science as we know today — technology and all that — we have barely scratched the surface when it comes to understanding the alchemic nature of wine," he explains.
If you've visited the winery, then you’ve tasted his award-winning wines, caught a glimpse or two of his vineyards, and are somewhat familiar with his eccentricities.
When asked to describe winemaker Bill Mosby’s character, wife Jeri answers with a smile: "Strangely enough, I would describe my husband much the same way I would characterize his wines. He’s about integrity, intelligence, strength, tenacity, passion and complexity. He’s rebellious — not afraid to dream, then make those dreams come true."
While Mosby's specialty is the growing and vinification of fine Italian varietal wines, he also makes award-winning grappa, wild plum and raspberry distillatos. His experienced palate and careful, ongoing search for interesting new varietals have resulted in vintage after vintage of award-winning Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Pinot Grigio and more. And then there’s his latest addition, Dolcetto — the everyday wine of Piemonte.
When Bill and Jeri purchased the old de la Vega land in the early 1970s, the first thing Bill did was plant vines. "Noah did that," he says quietly. "First thing he did. Plant a vineyard." Among those early Mosby wines was Gewürztraminer, Jeri’s favorite. "It’s still my favorite," says Jeri. "I’m going to miss having it in the tasting room."
The Mosby’s first commercial wines were bottled under the Vega label, named after the old land grant. Bill’s wine began to gain industry attention, and a following of Mosby wine enthusiasts continued to develop. In 1986, at his family’s insistence, Bill changed the Vega label to reflect the Mosby name and winemaking philosophy.
Over the years the Mosby vineyards have expanded, the wines have evolved; a Mosby style has reached maturity. A part-time grower and winemaker all of his adult life, Bill Mosby finally made the career move to full-time grower and winemaker in 1998. A successful dentist for over 40 years, William M. Mosby, DMD, became Bill Mosby, full-time winemaker — artist of the vine.
The crest’s eagle on the Mosby label clutches a wine glass in one talon, a knife and fork in the other — symbols of the Mosbys' philosophy of pairing food and wine. One of Bill’s primary attractions to Italian varietals is their versatility when pairing with food. "I also think the Italian wines are interesting," he says. "There is a wider variety of flavors, aromas, specific nuances and distinct characters among those varietals. They are the wines of friends and family."
Bill’s decisions as to which varietals he grows and produces are rooted in terroir. The right grape, the right soil, the right climate. Bill is somewhat of a purist in his sense of the wines: "I want to taste the wine, not the barrel," he explains.
No matter the cuisine or the occasion, there is a Mosby wine to go with it. In addition to his popular flagship wines, Bill always has limited quantities of equally interesting but lesser known wines generally available only to Advance Tasting Club and Tasting Room customers.
Since Bill’s full-time career change, there have been several new and exciting changes and additions (his hair is considerably longer, for starters). Following his first release of Dolcetto, several other delicious surprises have been introduced to Mosby Wine lovers including Teroldego and Lagrein, two dynamic full-bodied Cal-Italian reds featuring more magnificent label by Italy artist Robert Scherer.
Bill’s been busy. Even bought a new tractor last winter. It’s difficult to find him these days. He could be anywhere at any time . . . tending vines or sampling wine with quiet concentration from his barrels.
When you visit the tasting room and catch a glimpse of the happily retired dentist — now full time winemaker — sporting a weathered red beret, that’s Bill Mosby.
Say hello and enjoy the wine. Salut!
The Vigna della Casa Vecchia vineyard is named after the 1853 Adobe where winemaker Bill Mosby and wife Jeri live. The vineyard, planted by Bill in 1977 and expanded in 1991, is easily seen from highway 101 just south of Buellton. The red barn housing the Mosby tasting room is located among these vines, and is a well-know land mark for locals and visitors alike.
The unique micro-climate of this location is created by ocean breezes from both Gaviota to the South and Lompoc to the West, with clay loam and shale soils supporting approximately 18 acres of Italian varietals.
Sangiovese, Sagrantino, and Dolcetto comprise the bulk of the vines in this vineyard.
The Sori 101 vineyard is part of the Mosby estate located on the hills above the old Adobe. This small vineyard is home to five acres of Nebbiolo vines that Bill planted in 2002. Nebbiolo grapes are fussy, and demand specific conditions and loving care. The vines need the cooling ocean breezes of this vineyard site to thrive, as well as the protection of the vineyard team and local raptors to guard against rodent damage.
The southern most vineyard on the Mosby Estate, Bricco Pico is sitting among the rolling hills just West of highway 101 south of Buellton. Vines are scheduled to be planted in the open grasslands of the hills, surrounded by the local oak and chaparral. The Southeast exposure of the vineyard is ideal for the cultivation of Italian varietals.
The Fremir vineyard is located outside the town of Parkfield, in Monterey County. Bill’s son Michael Mosby planted his vines here in 1994. This inland vineyard has a Southern exposure, hot temperatures and rocky soils and calcareous sand, home to five acres of Syrah and Mourvedre grapes. These are the grapes used to produce the Mosby Roc Michel, a Rhone blend noted for its intense flavors.
The 246 vineyard was the first vineyard planted on the Mosby estate. The property was acquired in 1963, and following a flood year that washed away a large chunk of the property, Bill decided to plant vines in 1971. Located along the north banks of the Santa Ynez river, the vineyard soil is predominantly sandy loam which supports 20 acres of vines. Varietals in the 246 vineyard include Teroldego, Pinot Grigio and Cortese grapes. The cooler climate and Southern exposure of the vineyard is very well suited for these varietals. This location is a sink for cold air and must be protected from frost damage in most years. Although the vineyard is West of highway 101 it sits outside of the Santa Rita Hills appellation.
Bill planted approximately one and a half acres of olive trees on the Mosby estate in 2003. Located just above the Sangiovese vineyard, this hillside orchard is home to four different types of olives; frantoio, leccino, pendolino and arbequina. The trees are lovingly tended and their olives are picked young, resulting is a bright-green oil with vibrant herbal flavors. This high-quality Santa Barbara County olive oil is excellent as a dressing for salads, pastas, or bread. Olive oils with light green to golden colors tend to be fruitier, and are more commonly used for sautéing or frying.
On very rare occasions, a winemaker and an artist share a vision. Bringing to life a magical synergy of motifs we usually find only in fiction, winemaker Bill Mosby of Santa Barbara County, California, and renowned artist Robert Scherer of Appiano, Italy, present the Artist Series.
"His art makes me think of misty weather among the hills in certain parts of northern Italy. There’s an element of mystery, a secretive feeling about it. The moment I saw his work, I knew I wanted him to do a label for me," Mosby explains, referring to his first meeting with Scherer in the Spring of 1998 at Freudenstein Castle near Appiano. Both he and his wife Jeri were captivated by the artist’s work. colors, shapes, glass and light.
Unable to speak a common language and with no interpreters to assist them, language barriers fell away in a camaraderie of hearty bread, cheese, wine and art as winemaker and artist achieved communication with gestures, facial expressions, and detailed drawings on white napkins.
Months later, the first completed watercolor arrived at the Mosby estate in California from the castle in Appiano. "The minute I opened the envelope and saw it, I knew it was right for my Pinot Grigio. All the elements are there," affirms Mosby. "It’s exactly right."
Orange County Fair Best of Show for Labels
Cortese, Teroldego, Dolcetto, Pinot Grigio
Orange County Fair for Labels
LaDonna, 3rd Place, Calligraphy
2004 & 2009 Pacific Rim International Wine Competition
1st place for label design series
Viennese-trained artist Scherer has received numerous awards and honors for his work and has studied and traveled worldwide. His paintings have been exhibited to enthusiastic audiences on several continents. With varied interests and skills, Scherer is also known for his mural painting and work in glass. Although the watercolors created for the Mosby labels embody levels of meaning linking the images with the wines, they stand on their own with composition, balance and subject matter appealing to any discerning viewer.
The wine and its representative label art are intricately bound. The aesthetic symbolism of the art visually tells of the wine inside. The winemaker—artist of the vine, guides the wine. The painting for the label, made of pigment, is transformed by the visual artist’s hand. Yet both wine and label are open to interpretation, both offer entries to contemplation and delight. Our ideas are merely the gateways.
The 1999 Mosby Pinto Grigio was the first wine to be graced with a label by Robert Scherer, but has since been followed by art labels on the Mosby Teroldego, Cortese, Rosato di Sangiovese, the Gold medal-winning 2000 Mosby Dolcetto, and most recently the Mosby 2002 Traminer. This series of labels has been so well received that Bill entered them in the 2002 Orange County Fair Commercial Wine Label Competition.
Result? The labels were awarded Best of Show across all categories!
DOWNLOAD a collection of high definition labels here