Newly Appointed Master Winemaker Sebastian Donoso Sets a New Course for the Future of 1000 Stories

Newly Appointed Master Winemaker Sebastian Donoso Sets a New Course for the Future of 1000 Stories
Uniquely American

1000 Stories, the winery that boldly pioneered bourbon barrel-aged wines, is writing a new chapter debuting wines aged in virgin American oak, starting with American Barrel-Aged Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This comes at a time when Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are driving growth in the Ultra Premium wine category—growing 3.4% and 2.1% year on year, respectively.

1000 Stories has also appointed celebrated winemaker Sebastian Donoso to lead its winemaking operations, ushering in a new era for the brand. This marks the passing of the torch from 1000 Stories founding winemaker Bob Blue who retired in June. Blue is known for breaking the winemaking status quo when he began aging Zinfandel in bourbon barrels to create 1000 Stories in 2014.

“1000 Stories has always been about deliberately matching variety to oak – what’s possible when you explore that connection as a conscious element of flavor, rather than as a characteristic to de-emphasize, like in more traditional winemaking,” said Donoso. “Making these wines pushes me to be more experimental and bolder in my craft.”

Donoso works with coopers who source the American oak from eastern Minnesota and season barrels outdoors for 24 months. The barrels are then toasted to a specific toast level intended to bring out desired aroma and flavor characteristics while also respecting the fruit. After Donoso selects premium lots from California vineyards and vinifies the grapes, the final blends are then aged in the American oak barrels, which adds a depth of flavor and creaminess to the wine’s mouthfeel, alongside notes of vanilla, coconut oil, allspice, dried herbs, and earth. The end result distinguishes these wines from their counterparts that are more often aged in French oak, creating a distinctively new drinking experience.

“We’re thrilled to share our unique approach to these beloved wine varietals with consumers,” said Tiffany Tran, senior brand manager for 1000 Stories. “At 1000 Stories, we have always pushed winemaking boundaries and continue to do so with our new American Barrel-Aged wines. We’re offering an unexpected take on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and a special wine drinking experience.”

Born from a profound respect for the natural world and an innate curiosity about what lies beyond our own four walls, 1000 Stories wines are a celebration of the world around us and an homage to the importance of our country’s natural abundance. The newly launched American Barrel-Aged Pinot Noir and Chardonnay represent the winery’s forward-thinking commitment to innovation and provide a glimpse into the future of the brand.

To kick start that future, the debut of the 1000 Stories American Barrel-Aged Pinot Noir and Chardonnay will usher in a new look that will debut across the entire portfolio. This new design is inspired by vintage spirits bottles and proudly continues to feature the brand’s emblematic bison icon—a nod to the American symbol that’s a cultural representation of wildness and freedom in the natural world.

The 750ml Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, priced at $19.99, will be available in August and October, respectively, and the entire 1000 Stories collection in new packaging will begin shipping to retailers nationwide in October. Wine enthusiasts can sample the new American Barrel-Aged Pinot Noir and other wines from 1000 Stories at the Outside Lands music festival running August 5-7, 2022, in San Francisco. Learn more about the collection and 1000 Stories here.