California, USA
At a Glance
  • Sam Bilbro followed his love of all things Italian when he made the leap to create Idlewild Wines
  • Sam grew up in a winemaking family.  His father started Marietta Cellars, which his brother Scot now runs, and his brother Jake owns Limerick Lane
  • The anchor of the the Idlewild portfolio are the three blended wine – The Bird (Dolcetto, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Freisa), The Bee (Muscat, Arneis, Favorita, Erbaluce) and The Flower (rose of Dolcetto, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Grignolino)
  • In addition to the blends, Sam also makes single varietal wines from each of these Italian grapes
  • The primary vineyard sources are the Fox Hill vineyard located in Mendocino and Sam’s estate vineyard in the Yorkville Highlands called Lost Hills Ranch

Idlewild is the creation of Sam Bilbro. Sam comes from a long family tradition of wine. His father Chris Bilbro founded Marietta Cellars.

Idlewild is about what moves Sam. Wines that are rooted in tradition but which also endeavor to create a new paradigm. His wines possess vibrant fruit character but often have savory elements and the requisite structure and acid to make them well to pair with food. They are wines of beauty and balance.  Idlewild's stable of wines includes three blends - The Bee White (Cortese, Arneis, Moscato Gialla), The Flower Rose (Barbera, Dolcetto and Nebbiolo), The Bird Red (Barbera, Dolcetto and Nebbiolo). And, single varietal wines made from Arneis, Cortese, Barbera, Dolcetto and Nebbiolo.

Idlewild sources fruit from just two vineyards (Fox Hill and Lost Hills Ranch). Both are managed by Wild Ruth Farming, a collaboration between Idlewild and Ruth Lewandoski Wines. Holistic farming ensures that the site and vintage are allowed to speak. Lost Hills Ranch is a dream. The beautiful loneliness of the open hills and the sentinel oaks covered in Spanish moss project out a sense of calm. The vineyard sits at 1500 ft of elevation, and the roots work hard to dig into fractured sandstone with schist veins and just a thin top layer of sandy clay. The Yorkville Highlands AVA sits along the southwest corner of Mendocino county and is marked by the clash of maritime and continental climates. Fox Hill Vineyard is one of the most unique vineyards in Northern California. Located southeast of Ukiah on Mendocino’s Talmage Bench, the soils are well drained with high concentrations of gravel, quartz, and sandstone. What makes this site so special is the fact that Lowell Stone decided to buck every trend and simply plant what he was interested in planting. Many trips to Italy turned to inspiration and the wild spectrum of varieties began to take root.

Idlewild represent the essence of the New California. This movement, defined in Jon Bonne’s book “The New California Wine”, encompasses producers who are working with unusual varietals and making wines of balance and finesse that defy the traditional “new world-old world” divide. These are wines that have been inspired by the their old-world archetypes, yet with unique personalities unto themselves, and firmly rooted in the California terroir. And like their old-world brethren, they are crafted to work well at the dinner table.