Deborah Elissagaray

Deborah Elissagaray

Ursa Vineyards (Co-Winemaker and Co-Owner)

Ursa Vineyards is a collaborative effort of Deborah and her husband, Greg Stokes. Both Deborah and Greg were part of the winemaking team at David Bruce for many years and bring a great deal of winemaking experience to Ursa as a result.

Ursa produces no more than 2,500 cases annually, allowing much attention to be paid in both the vineyard and the cellar. All of the winery’s fruit is fermented in small fermenters and worked by hand, and the minimal amount of handling ensures the preservation of the fruit character of the varietal being made. The winery’s focus is Petite Sirah from various vineyards in California, but it also produces Merlot and Pinot Noir, among other varietals, and a unique varietal, Tannat, which is a grape from the Pyrenees. .

The Tannat varietal is near and dear to Deborah’s heart. She comes from a Basque background, and Tannat is a classic grape of that region but is a varietal not so commonly found in the United States. It is grown primarily in the Pyrenees and South America and is used as the base of many Basque wines. Their Tannat comes from Silvaspoons Vineyards in Lodi, one of the few vineyards in California growing this intriguing grape. .