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Wine Club Selections: An Interview With Jan Holtermann of Alma Fria Wines

Get To Know Alma Fria Wines

Alma Fria, which translates to "Cold Soul," stands for the soul of a family and the cold of a geography. Specializing in nuanced cool weather Pinot Noir from exceptional vineyard sites on the Sonoma Coast, Alma Fria proprietor Jan Holtermann, had a chance to share his thoughts on wine and life with us. A new producer, Alma Fria is already garnering serious attention and critical acclaim:


Wine Enthusiast:

What is your name and title?

Jan Holtermann, proprietor Holtermann Family Wines LLC (dba Alma Fria)

How did you get your start in wine? When did you know you wanted to make it a career?  

Wine has been a part of our family for three generations now, initially as wine importers, and now, since 2012 as winegrowers. I´ve never even envisioned myself in a career other than wine.

What wine did you make that you are most proud of and why?  

Our 2012 Alma Fria Doña Margarita Vineyard Pinot Noir best captured, in this our first vintage, an expression of site and a combination of approachability and complexity that is very appealing. This wine starts out with bright red fruits and floral notes but with time in the glass it goes to the darker side and brings out notes of forest floor and minerality.

What do you strive for in the wines you produce?  We strive to craft wines of elegance, finesse and complexity ideal for pairing with a wide range of foods. Nuance over power, soft-spoken rather than ostentatious.

What is your favorite thing about being in the wine industry?  

It is a people´s industry, it is driven by human interaction and wine, ultimately, is part of one of humanity´s most historical ritual, the meal. Also, from a winegrowing perspective, the contact with nature and reading through the challenges and opportunities that each new season brings is fascinating.

If you could meet any person, deceased or living, who would it be and why?  

Albert Einstein over a bottle of wine. It makes me wonder whether the grape ferment would allow me to better understand him or quite the opposite.

It’s an early Fall evening, sweater weather, what are you drinking?  Many wines come to mind but odds would be highest with a Burgundy or Rhone bottle. 

What’s your favorite drink other than wine?  Bitters, a good Fernet or Amaro. 

What is your favorite band?  Led Zeppelin.

Most amazing place you've ever visited?  Iceland, it really makes you feel on the edge of the world while at the same time allows you to enjoy Nordic civility.

Other than wine country, what is the best place for people to visit in California?  Big Sur is always inspiring.

Article of clothing or accessory you can’t live without? A vest; it´s the perfect layer for the north bay area weather.

What is your favorite Hobby or pastime?  Tennis. 

What is your favorite book of all time? Why?  “The Book on the Taboo against knowing who you are” by Alan Watts. Sheer genius, and for a short book, I was struck by the number of times it sent me into abstract contemplation.

You can taste the very best wines from Alma Fria and many other acclaimed small wine producers by joining one of Winestyr's wine clubs. To learn more about our wine clubs, click here.