It is bittersweet to share that we have decided to wind down Surlie. Thank you for the support and email with any questions.

Recap: A Conversation with Bret Hogan of Cote West Winery

On Thursday December 9, our co-founder Phoebe hosted a conversation with Bret Hogan, owner and winemaker of Cote West Winery in Oakland. Since we know many of you are suffering from Zoom fatigue, here’s a quick recap of 5 takeaways :)

  • Bret’s philosophy on natural wine: although Cote West abides by a “light hand in the vineyard and cellar” philosophy, they are not overly dogmatic in their approach.
  • Sugar → bubbles: making Pet Nat requires a very specific amount of sugar left in the juice (~18 g/l residual sugar in the case of the Cote West  Pet Nat). This results in about ⅔ the bubbles that result from other “typical” sparkling winemaking processes. Too little sugar  = flat wine. Too much sugar = explosion!
  • Making Pet Nat is a labor of love: each bottle is hand bottled… twice!
  • The importance of relationships: the challenges of COVID, wildfires, and beyond has  highlighted the Importance of relationships and trust between growers and winemakers. This year, Cote West only made 5 wines vs. 11 in  2019 due to the wildfires.
  • Silver linings: Cote West has a rapidly growing wine club and a beautiful outdoor tasting area. Although it is temporarily closed with the most recent stay at home order, make sure a visit is on your list for 2021!

We’re looking forward to hosting more events with awesome winemakers and members of the community. Contact us with and requests or ideas for future events!

About Bret: Winemaker Bret Hogan received a master’s degree in Viticulture and Enology from University of California, Davis. He was awarded the Tastevin Fellowship to train with acclaimed winemaker Dominique Lafon at Domaine des Comtes Lafon in Meursault, Burgundy in 2013 (this is a really big deal!). Drawing inspiration from Lafon, Hogan produces single-varietal California wines including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé of Counoise, Grenache, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and a limited-production sparkling Sauvignon Blanc Pétillant Naturel, which many of you have tasted in our current Package 3: Wildfire Relief.

About Surlie: We're three friends (a wine pro, a lawyer, and techie/researcher) who love delicious bubbles and great stories. We believe that everyone should be enjoying Petillant Naturel ("Pet Nat") - one of the oldest forms of sparkling wine. Why? Because it's fun, easy drinking and made in small batches by passionate producers. Our collections include 4 bottles of wine, personally curated by us. In addition to delicious wine, we provide you with notes and directions on how to enjoy your bottles. You can try one collection to start or sign up for a quarterly subscription (coming soon!). We hope you'll discover your new favorite wine with us!

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