CEO, Rock Wall Wine Company, Alameda, CA
From modest beginnings, making wine in his basement, Kent Rosenblum has always had a prowess for winemaking. Kent’s talents, vision and enthusiasm have been the foundational building blocks for Rosenblum Cellars, a winery dedicated to the production of Zinfandel and Rhone varietals. Today, thirty years after he started, Kent has remained dedicated to the winery and continues to oversees the creation of every wine that carries the Rosenblum family name.
A trained veterinarian, in 1970 Kent moved from his native Minnesota to join a veterinary practice in Alameda, California. He quickly fell in love with Northern California and its emerging wine scene. With his wife Kathy and several friends, he formed a weekly wine group, traveling to tasting rooms in Napa, Sonoma and other up-and-coming regions to explore the diversity of the state’s great appellations. Kent soon took up home winemaking. Applying his strong background in science, a keen sense of smell, and a natural inquisitiveness, Kent impressed his friends with the quality of his early wines. Intent on expanding his knowledge, Kent began studying his favorite wines, meticulously deconstructing their terroirs, and the techniques used in their production. Common themes began to take shape that would later define Rosenblum Cellars.
Kent found that there was high-quality fruit available if you knew what to look for. More than anything, Kent knew that he preferred grapes from steep, hillside properties with head pruned, old vines. Impressed by the flavor and intensity of this fruit, it became a fundamental element in Kent’s gentle and vineyard-driven approach to winemaking.
From his adoption of cold fermentation practices in 1973, to his trips to the great winegrowing regions of France, Italy and Germany in 1974, Kent worked constantly to refine his techniques and expand his skills. By the mid-to-late ‘70s it was clear that what had started as a hobby had evolved into something much more. In 1978, Kent founded Rosenblum Cellars along with a small group of friends. Producing a modest 400 cases in its first year, he was thrilled when his inaugural Cullinane Vineyard Zinfandel was widely praised.
From winegrowing regions to winemaking techniques, for Kent, making wine has always been about a willingness to explore and experiment. He has built Rosenblum to be a hands-on winery in every sense. This commitment begins in the vineyards with the personal relationships Kent has established with the owners of many of California’s top vineyards. He appreciates the flexibility of selecting grapes from numerous vineyards, seeing this diversity as strength in difficult years when individual sites or regions may suffer.
Nicknamed “The King of Zin”, Kent has cultivated a loyal following of zinfandel enthusiasts who eagerly await his new releases. Still focused on building personal relationships, he is active in his community and a welcoming presence at the winery. In addition to his role as consultant winemaker for Rosenblum Cellars, Kent has also served as president of Zinfandel Advocates and Producers, the Alameda Chamber of Commerce, the West Alameda Business Association, as well as board member of the Humane Society. Kent remains a practicing veterinarian and continues to produce limited quantities of his beloved Cullinane Vineyard Zinfandel every year.