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  • Theresa Downs

Ceritas Wines - Discover Why You Should Love Chardonnay

Part of a series featuring Chardonnay wineries

Front label of a bottle of Ceritas Chardonnay.

What's Their Story:

Ceritas founder John Raytek's wine journey began as a sommelier and winemaker in New Zealand. He continued honing his craft, toiling in the Flowers, Copain, and Rhys cellars. He and his wife, Phoebe Bass, created Ceritas in 2005.

The Raytek/Bass team are big believers in letting the land speak its truth; their sites are farmed sustainably and organically. Wines are made as the land dictates instead of resorting to winemaker's tricks. Wines undergo long fermentations using indigenous yeasts in old barrels.

The word Ceritas means mineral in Portuguese, and you'll find that the winery is aptly named. Working with fruit only from cool sites (Raytek purposely picks fruit early), the Ceritas Chardonnay wines manage to possess the minerality one would expect to see in Chablis while retaining the fruit notes. This winery has indeed captured the elusive "Burgundian" quality.

Why The Winery Made The Grade: Chardonnay

Ceritas is one of those "insider" wineries as other wineries act as their marketing team and tout the magical elixirs of Ceritas. After reading a bit about it, I knew we had to add it to our list of wineries to visit for our Chardonnay blogs. We were lucky enough to sample their crown jewel, a 2019 Porter-Bass Chardonnay. This very pretty Chardonnay has hints of dried lemon peel, mint, chamomile, and dried flowers with just a touch of minerality. It could convert die-hard big oak California Chardonnay drinkers.


Ceritas is not a winery for those seeking glamorous interiors and show-stopping do-dads. Comfortable and modern, this winery is all about the wine. Wine production is showcased with a large picture window so visitors can get a close-up and personal look at what happens in the winery.

Ceritas Winery is my favorite type of winery. The emphasis is not so much on the bling that other wineries count as part of their brand. Ceritas is all about the endeavor of making wine.

Which Winery Visitor Type Would Love It:

While I could recommend a visit to this winery for everyone, I think Authenticity Seekers and Oenophiles would particularly enjoy this winery. The staff is extremely well-versed in wine, particularly the Ceritas story. Visitors will likely walk away knowing more about wine than when they arrived.


Address: 60 W North St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

Phone: (707) 955-4555

Hours: Wednesday - Sunday

Appointments required.

Tours/Tastings Offered:

Ceritas offers one tasting of 5 wines for $95.00. I highly recommend a visit for both experienced and novice wine drinkers.

Check out the next winery in the series: Chappellet Winery or read all of the Chardonnay blogs in our new guide, Chardonnay Wineries of Sonoma and Napa.

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