hi, I'm Michael Horton

You can call me Mike or Michael, I'm easy. I'm a winemaker and fermented beverage specialist who loves exploring innovative and traditional approaches to winemaking. I also love sparkly clean stainless steel, ​ sunsets on the crushpad, the ocean, and the outdoors in general. I’m an optimist and a storyteller. I'm a husband and father. I have a room full of surfboards at my house. I have hundreds of pictures from around the world but many more memories of the people I've met and experiences we've shared.

My family and I recently returned to California and settled in Oceanside. I have 8 years and 11 vintages of winemaking experience in California, New Zealand, and Australia. I also ran an apple cider factory in rural Indonesia for 3 years.

sharing experiences

Is truly what wine is all about. What began as a way to keep my family & friends up to date during my first overseas vintage in 2009 morphed into this website. Sharing my winemaking experiences and knowledge, with a spattering of family fun, traveling, and surfing.

I am not just a winemaker

I’m a sanitation expert, mechanic, data analyst, tank digger, laboratory technician, press operator, barrel climber, forklift driver, chemical handler, systems organizer, accountant, web designer. It’s all part of the fun, and I would never expect my colleagues or staff to do a job that I wouldn’t do myself.

The connection to the land, the labor of love in the cellar, the science, the luck of nature, the people met, the culture enjoyed. Producing wine is not just about the end result but the journey itself.

combining science with creativity

That’s what winemakers do. I started my winemaking journey in 2006 and have been fortunate to work with talented winemakers around the world, exchanging ideas and learning new winemaking techniques together. I have made wine in garages and hi-tech facilities, in 200,000-liter tanks and trash cans (food-grade trash can and I cleaned it, don't worry). I have worked 120-hour weeks. I’ve read the same operating manual front-to-back dozens of times to get our bottling line back up-and-running. I’ve stayed up all night hard-pressing late harvest Viognier to get those last few liters.

I’ve learned that a strictly scientific winemaking approach may result in wines with little or no defects but does not inherently produce excellence. What does? Trying to find out is what drives me.

Copyright © 2022 :: Michael Horton
Copyright © 2022 :: Michael Horton