Lo-Fi’s ethos is to embrace the unpredictable and uncontrollable factors in vintage and vinification, much like an audiophiles derive pleasure from the clicks, pops, and hiss of their favorite vinyl records. The duo behind Lo-Fi, Mike Roth and Craig Winchester, has built vineyard connections and winemaking chops that put them in a position to deftly guide the fermentation process of these vibrant wines without manipulations or additions. Lo-Fi is marked by easy drinking, low alcohol, neutral barrel—if any—oak, native yeasts, little or no sulfur or other interventions that hide the fruit or the vintage that spawned it. Nothing added and nothing taken away.
Lo-Fi wines began quietly at the time Mike Roth was working at Martian Ranch and Vineyard in Santa Barbara County. Roth also had winemaking jobs at Grigich Hills and Saddelback. But one harvest at Martian offered Roth the opportunity to work with some left over fruit. He wasn’t planning anything serious or long-term, just a glou-glou wine for himself and friends. The project continued with the partnership of Craig Winchester (assistant winemaker at Martian Ranch then) and a few harvests went by with the two making more and more to the point that they had a small inventory of wines. Things were ramping up and the wines were getting really good.
Mike Roth launched Lo-Fi Wines in 2014 and continued production while working as winemaker with Coquelicot Estate whose wines shared the Lo-Fi spirit. Mike Roth and Craig Winchester continue Lo-Fi Wines as a high-priority passion project and business while maintaining their winemaking “day jobs.” In fact, Roth’s relationship with Coquelicot continues today with the Coquelicot vineyards as the majority source of Lo-Fi’s fruit. Today, the wines of Lo-Fi are vibrant and fun. They are leading the way for a new generation of California winemakers that aren’t seeking points or collectors, but getting back to the roots of what make wine exciting and enjoyable.