Three Sticks, Five Stars

Got a wine enthusiast on your holiday shopping list? Is that person into really exclusive, hard-to-get wines? Is it you? Be honest, it’s you isn’t it?

Photo by Jolea Brown.

Photo by Jolea Brown.

Well, lucky you: Three Sticks Wine is here for the first time ever. But you won’t find it in restaurants or on shelves. Michelle Mandro has 100 cases available to sell between now and the end of February.

Three Sticks is a small producer and premium brand from Sonoma County, California. The company only makes 4,000 cases, most of which are sold out of its tasting facility off the Sonoma Square, Mandro says.

William Price III created Three Sticks Winery, named after his surfing name, Billy Three Sticks. Friends didn’t understand the “III” at the end of his name and consequently gave him the Three Sticks moniker.

Born in Los Angeles, Price was introduced to wine at an early age by his father, who would give him thimble-sized tastes of wine mixed into a glass of water. Price attended high school in Hawaii before returning to California to study at Stanford University. He earned his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and following 10 years practicing law and consulting at Bain & Company, he was hired to work for Jack Welch at GE Capital.

He created his own investment capital firm, TPG, which began to invest in wineries, among other businesses. It was then that Price began to take a more active interest not just in the business of wine, but in vineyards as well. He purchased the Durell Vineyard in 1998 and launched Three Sticks Wines in 2002. In 2007, he sold his share of TPG back to his partners and fully immersed himself into the wine business. He was soon approached by winemaker Steve Kistler to partner with him in his vineyards, and Price’s role as a farmer began to grow.

Michelle Mandro. Photo by Jolea Brown.

Michelle Mandro. Photo by Jolea Brown.

“I realized I’d made all the money I needed to make in my career, and I longed to return to something that brought me back in touch with the natural world on a more regular basis,” Price says.

“He’s just one of these great men who has the ability to identify spectacular vineyards,” Mandro affirms. “He owns One Sky Vineyard, Gaps Crown Vineyard, and his most famous is Durell Vineyard. Any wine-savvy person would salivate if they heard Durell. It’s most famously known as a chardonnay vineyard.”

He also hires top winemakers, Mandro relates. Bob Cabral, director of winemaking for Three Sticks, is known as a “Rockstar” winemaker, Mandro says. He was awarded the 2011 Wine Star Award from Wine Enthusiast as Winemaker of the Year two years after being awarded the first perfect 100-point pinot noir in North America.

“Three Sticks does a lot of single-vineyard wine,” Mandro describes. “So you really get that sense of place.”

Those wishing to buy can contact Mandro to make a purchase. She will sell wine by the bottle or case, but shipping is free if you buy a case.

Mandro also offers an “Executive One-on-One” tasting: She will come to your office and give a tasting of four to five wines for $75. If you buy a case, she will waive the tasting fee.

Three Sticks wines available:

2014 Durell Vinyard Chardonnay, $50

2014 Durell Vineyard Pinot Noir, $65

2014 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, $60

2014 Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir, “The James,” $60

2014 Durell Vineyard Red Blend, “Castenada,” $45 (This wine is normally only sold out of the company’s Sonoma County tasting facility.) VT

For more information on the wines and company, visit threestickswines.com. Contact Mandro to schedule a tasting or place an order at threestickswines@hotmail.com.