SUBJECT TO CHANGE
Founded in 2017, ‘Subject to Change’ has turned out to be a prescient name for Alex Pomerantz’s ever shifting business. He started the company with two friends but the partnership didn’t really work out so he pivoted to working with a winemaker buddy and that… also didn’t work out. His first vintage was made in a winery that was just too small so he moved to a new one in the Russian River valley which… also didn’t work out. They’ve rebranded three times and they’re about to move to the third winery, but Alex says ‘‘We’re really hitting our stride.’
Despite the turbulence, Subject to Change is an impressive project that processes 200 tons a year with a three person team. Half of what they do is for other folks split across custom crush work and private labels for distribution partners, local wine shops and even Whole Foods. For their own wines, they work entirely naturally, spurning even the barest application of sulfite. ’We’re always talking about slimming it down but it never happens,” Alex says about their multitudinous cuvees, “it’s just what we do: make a lot of wines ‘cuz it’s super fun!”
They focus on relationships first and foremost, working with organic vineyards from which they can be either the majority buyer or sole purchaser, ‘we really choose place, farming, and people over variety.”
“We’ve been dancing around Petite Sirah for a long time,” Alex says. For a winery so oriented on brighter, fresher wines, a big honkin’ grape like Petite Sirah can be a bit of a stretch. To give it the Subject to Change feel they did it up as a pink Pet Nat but in order to keep those delicate aromatics (and save on hassle) they drop the tank down to just above freezing for a month to settle out the solids before bottling so no disgorgement needed!
The beating heart of the winemaking for Subject to Change is a playfulness with carbonic methods. Carbonic maceration is a bit of a blanket term for a wide variety of techniques and Alex likes to play with a whole bunch all together. The Zin is 3 different methods from two different picks pressed together to a HUUUUUGE 7000L foudre.
BIG SUN ENERGY
For the more serious wines, Alex favors an extended 4 week whole cluster maceration after the carbonic process. “I love doing that,” he says, pointing out that it's a great way to round out the flirtier side of a carbonic wine with a little more somethin’ somethin.’
This wine is Alex’s homage to Julien Guillot’s coferment of white and red grapes called ‘Cuvee 910.’ His version is a whole cluster coferment of Chardonnay and Pinot named with the area code of the crazy remote vineyard. “It’s the most unique vineyard that we work with” Alex says of the high elevation coastal spot.
TASTY WAVES PIQUETTE
This is a wicked frothy, session style piquette assembled from 20 odd piquettes they made from the best looking pomace across the harvest. They eyeball the right amount of water to add and back sweeten with some fresh, unfermented Merlot juice kept cold until the time is right. Maybe open this one over the sink?