After establishing his eponymous winery as one of the leaders in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from both Napa and Sonoma, Steve Kistler has branched out and begun a new winery and named it Occidental. Steve's new winery is a slight diversion from his prior one. The Kistler wines come from prime vineyards throughout Sonoma and Napa Counties, but the name Occidental (which comes from the Latin word for "western") gives a clue to the difference in these wines, as the vineyards for Steve's new project come from vineyards that lie in the far western reaches of Sonoma County, near the coast.
The vineyard sites were chosen so the grapes would achieve total maturity at lower sugar levels, yet maintain fresh acidity. Steve Kistler had already taken notice of this cool, wind-swept region in the early 2000s, as he planted two vineyards in the area and bottled them under the "Cuvee Elizabeth" and "Cuvee Catherine" designations for the Kistler wines. The microclimate of this area results in a wine with more moderate alcohol levels, more freshness, yet continue to be full-flavored. The wines are fermented using native yeasts, manual punchdowns multiple times per day (to get full flavor, color, and aromatics), spontaneous malolactic fermentation, and aged in a combination of new and seasoned French oak barrels.