Williams Selyem began its remarkable success story with the inaugural 1981 vintage. Since then, the winery has developed a reputation of almost epic proportions. What Screaming Eagle or Harlan Estate is for Cabernet Sauvignon, Williams Selyem is for Pinot Noir.
In 1998, proprietors John and Kathe Dyson bought the winery from founders Burt Williams and Ed Selyem. The Dysons are experienced members of the California wine industry and had purchased wines from Williams Selyem for several years. John graduated from Cornell’s College of Agriculture and owned Millbrook Vineyards & Winery in New York before taking on his new project.
Founders Burt Williams and Ed Selyem began their meteoric rise in the wine world in a small garage in Forrestville. Since the late 1970s, the two friends enjoyed producing homemade wine in the Russian River Valley. It is amazing that from these humble beginnings Burt and Ed would go on to establish one of the premiere wineries in the New World.
The current winemaking team consists of executive winemaker Bob Cabral, winemaker Lynn Krausmann, assistant winemaker Mark Ray, enologist Adam Goodrich, and cellarmaster Justin “Moose” Ennis. In their words, they, “handcraft wines with minimal interference and respect the juice.”
Williams Selyem makes tiny amounts of 16 different Pinot Noirs, 4 Chardonnays, 3 Zinfandels, 2 Ports, and a late harvest Gewurztraminer. These wines are sold at several fine restaurants or through their mailing list which is one of the most difficult in the state to join.