We LOVE collaborating with our local winemakers, artisans, and friends. This one in particular is dear to our hearts. Working with our friends Gina Giugni from Lady of the Sunshine Wines and her Husband Mikey Giugni from Scar of the Sea Wines

Gina, makes a beautiful botanical wine. She knows Stepladder Ranch has an amazing selection of citrus growing on the ranch and herbs growing in the Stepladder garden.

fruit from Stepladder Ranch

Pictured above: an assortment of seasonal fruits grown on the Stepladder Ranch property. This selection includes Rangpur limes, Persian sweet limes, Lisbon lemonds, Makrut limes, finger limes and coffee berries!

This year fueled by pizza and wine, Jack, Michelle, Gina and Mikey walked around the property collecting different citrus and herbs smelling, tasting and talking about what would work best!

picking fruit

Pictured above is Michelle and Jack Rudolph with Gina from Lady of the Sunshine.

Stepladder has over 40 varieties of citrus to choose from! The Stepladder garden also hosts a wide range of different herbs such as lemon balm, lime mint, lemon grass, chocolate mint, lemon verbena and more.

r&d smelling and tasting fruit

Here's a behind-the-scenes look at Gina's home where she's conducting some R&D tasting and smelling for the wine.


For her process, Gina peels, zests, steeps and creates different combinations of the fruits and herbs and turns them into a botanical wine. She ended up using everything she gathered from Stepladder and also steeped the lemons, oranges and lime peels independently, pulling them out of the wine once she was able to identify them. She also used garden lemongrass and lemon verbena. 

fruit for wine

We are so excited to see what she comes up with this vintage. 

Here's an overview of last year's collaboration, from the Lady of the Sunshine website:

"The wine is inspired by the broader landscape of our central coast. Wild shrubs among the wildflowers, fields of citrus in bloom, and the salty ocean mist of the pacific coastline. The base wine is a compilation of white wine, strung together from 2018 to 2020. This solera style base makes up 50% of the blend with the other 50% being fresh wine from the 2021 vintage. The 2 components were blended together, then steeped with dried botanicals and foraged delights ranging from sweet mountain top farm, stepladder ranch, to the chene vineyard. This wine is full of texture and freshness, best served at cellar temperature. This wine holds the nostalgic aromatics that remind us of home. think lemon balm, spiced sun tea, and preserved."

Mikey, has also made a tasty cider with some of our citrus! You can learn more about that collaboration on their blog!

Be sure to check out their website to learn more and join their wine club to taste their delicious and unique creations. This creation should be available in the Lady of the Sunshine fall release in September. 

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