Please The Palate Wine of the Week: Martha Stoumen 2021 Honeymoon White Wine, Mendocino County

I first met Martha Stoumen last year while traveling in Sonoma. I was with journalist Robert Camuto and were visiting winemakers in California who focus on Italian grape varieties, which I recently wrote about in a story entitled Passion for Italian Grapes in California. And I have enjoyed her wines made with Italian grapes, including the Martha Stoumen Negroamaro Rosato NV2 which was a Please The Palate wine of the week last year. But this past week, Martha Stoumen was the featured winemaker at our Forgotten Grapes virtual tasting and we enjoyed four of her wines that were made with grape varieties that were not Italian varieties. I enjoyed all of her wines but especially the 2021 Honeymoon White Wine from Mendocino County and that is why it is the Please The Palate wine of the week.

Please The Palate Wine of the Week: Martha Stoumen 2021 Honeymoon White Wine, Mendocino County


Martha grew up in the town of Sebastopol and then went to UCLA where she studied agriculture. After an internship at a full-circle farm in Tuscany, her interest in wine came into focus. She spent eight years interning at wineries around the world. She worked in Sonoma, West Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, and Italy. All of these experiences eventually brought her back to California where she started her winery in 2014. The focus of her brand is to work with older vineyards, dry-farmed vineyards, and organically farmed grapes.

Martha is based in the Sonoma area and works with vineyards that sit within two hours of the Bay Area. She is a first-generation winemaker and loves working with multi-generational farming families. As she explained, “it takes time to learn how to farm grapes well and then make wine well” and she learns from the farmers she works with. It is her belief that a healthy vine makes great fruit and great fruit makes her job easy. Once the grape is ripe, that is it. She picks, presses, and ferments naturally. She uses neutral oak. That is all.

Please The Palate Wine of the Week: Martha Stoumen 2021 Honeymoon White Wine, Mendocino County


The Martha Stoumen 2021 Honeymoon white wine is a blend of 65% Colombard and 35% Chardonnay, both heritage grapes in California, Colombard, most commonly used in Cognac production, is often thought of as a blending grape. Sadly most of the old vines in California had been pulled out. But, Martha found some Colombard planted in the same vineyard as some old vine Carignan. Luckily, she was able to gain access to these grapes, which were planted in 1948.

Both the Colombard and Chardonnay are sourced from vineyards in the Redwood Valley in Mendocino County. The grapes are harvested separately.  The Colombard can hang on the vine for a long time and Martha picks these grapes very last during harvest. The grapes are all pressed immediately and then fermented in neutral oak barrels. Both the Colombard and the Chardonnay spend nine months in the barrels on fine lees, before blending. The final wine is bottled, unfiltered and unfined.

The wine has aromas of apple skins, peach pits, hazelnuts, dried flowers, lanolin, and honey. The honey character comes from the Colombard, which is a parent grape to Chenin Blanc, which also develops honey notes. Martha likes to build layers of texture in her wines and the 2021 Honeymoon has an incredible mouthfeel.


I just love a textured white wine because it makes it a great wine to pair with food. Martha suggests pairing the Honeymoon white wine with slow cooked salmon on a bed of herbs with Meyer lemon salsa. She also suggested a farro salad with pecans, because she said that a touch of sweetness will work with this wine. This is a wine to also enjoy with roasted chicken, fresh crab, mushroom dishes, or a cheese plate with goat and sheep cheeses.


Martha makes wine as accessible as possible. The 2021 Honeymoon white wine is a beautifully textured and versatile wine that retails for $36 and it can be purchased at