Uniting their shared passion for luxury wine and elite horses, decades-long friends and wine industry mavericks Barbara Banke and Peggy Furth have launched a singular luxury brand, WindRacer Wines, hand-crafted with superior grapes sourced from extreme viticulture vineyards on the Northern California coast. The collection of six single-vineyard wines, which include cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir bottlings, takes inspiration from Thoroughbred racehorses.

WindRacer Wines

Long before their involvement in the wine industry, Banke and Furth each enjoyed successful independent corporate careers. Once they each arrived in wine country, they poured their talents into their respective family businesses to create world-class wineries: Banke with her late husband, Jess Jackson, to build powerhouse Jackson Family Wines, and Furth at the elite Chalk Hill Estates & Vineyards (since sold). Along the way Banke and Furth became fast friends and colleagues, raising millions of dollars for local charities, collaborating on new business ventures, and sharing a love of horses. At Chalk Hill, Furth built an exquisite indoor equestrian center and show ring for her international dressage horses. Banke meanwhile turned to the racetrack and established the family’s Lexington, Kentucky-based Stonestreet Farms raising world-class Thoroughbred racehorses.

Shaun Kajiwara and Nikki Weerts at WindRacer Wines
Shaun Kajiwara and Nikki Weerts

Their creation of WindRacer luxury wines is a natural evolution of their friendship, lifelong passions, the mutual track record for success, and characteristic drive to produce the very best. “WindRacer wines are made with fruit from rare and special places,” said Furth. “We hope they’ll excite connoisseurs and other enthusiasts who know the level of detail it takes to make wines of this caliber.”

Added Banke, “The world of Thoroughbred racehorses is a rarified atmosphere for only the very top horses. That’s what we hope to achieve with WindRacer Wines as well, where only the most exceptional grapes, given the utmost care are selected to produce something that is truly special.”

WindRacer wines

Just as the finest Thoroughbred horses require pedigree and a nurturing approach at every stage of their development, so do the Thoroughbred wines from WindRacer. Viticulture Director Shaun Kajiwara tends extreme vineyards throughout the year to provide the best fruit sourcing for Winemaker Nikki Weerts to make minimal intervention, small lot, single-vineyard wines. WindRacer Wines are a spectacular expression of place – beautifully balanced with complex fruit flavors, great texture, and a vibrant, natural acidity evocative of their unique sites.

WindRacer wines

The WindRacer 2018 portfolio of luxury wines include two single-vineyard Chardonnays and four single-vineyard Pinot Noirs:

  • Saralee’s Vineyard Chardonnay, Russian River Valley – 265 cases – SRP $65
  • Alexander Mountain Estate Chardonnay, Alexander Valley – 208 cases – SRP $65
  • Bloomfield Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley – 110 cases – SRP $75
  • Skycrest Vineyard Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley – 206 cases – SRP $75
  • Edmeades Vineyard Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley – 237 cases – SRP $75
  • Sealift Vineyard Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast – 237 cases – SRP $75

The limited production wines are launching first in California, Florida, Kentucky, and New York.

| Photos courtesy of WindRacer Wines

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Fran Endicott Miller is a luxury-focused freelance feature writer for a variety of lifestyle publications and websites and a California editor for luxury travel concierge service Essentialist. Prior to her journalism career, she held positions in the fields of politics, television, and professional sports, and is proud to have established the Golden State Warriors’ first community relations department and programs. Principled and genuine, she’s known for thoughtful, thorough, and lyrical coverage, and for the quality of her writing. When not traveling she can be found walking her neighborhood with her beloved Golden Retrievers Reggie and Nate.