“Wine is bottled poetry,” said Robert Louis Stevenson, the famed 19th-century Scottish writer and author of “Treasure Island.”
He would know, since he lived for a time in Napa Valley, where he sampled wines while on his honeymoon in 1880 on Mount St. Helena with wife Fanny Osbourne before eventually heading to the South Seas, where he spent the rest of his life.
And to a pair of longtime Vacaville friends, Ezekiel Hampton and Adrian Guerrero, wine is is equally the stuff of rhapsodic musings.
So much so that they decided to launch their own wine, something they first talked about 15 years ago when they were college students.
During a recent interview, Hampton, a 2002 graduate of Will C. Wood High School, said it was Guerrero, a 2001 Vacaville High School graduate with an enology degree from California State University, Fresno, who shared his first wine, a petite sirah, when both were home from college and knew then that, when ready, they would one day launch their own wine label.
And in 2018, it happened, said Hampton, 38, now a Napa resident who earned a master’s degree in marketing from California State University Dominguez Hills.
“We were very excited,” he said, recalling taking that first sip of Guerrero’s efforts. “We know, by nature, it’s a heavier, brooding variety. We want to make a more elegant version of it, to bring out the feminine notes in it.”
Bottled under the Errant Sons label, their wine, he said, is 100% petite sirah, and described it as having “fresh, bright red fruit” flavors, raspberry.
“It had more of a floral component,” added Hampton, who just returned from a two-week business-and-pleasure trip to the Burgundy and Rhone River regions of France. “It was a lot of dewy rose petals, the perfect descriptor that we were aiming for.”
While Guerrero, who lives in Sacramento, handles the winemaking process, Hampton said he is responsible for “the direct-to-consumer side of the business.”
“Basically, that means anything that reaches people directly, directly communicating with the customer,” he said and mentioned the website, Errantsons.com. “We’re cutting out all the middle folks.”
In the years since that first sip in 2018, Guerrero has worked under his mentor, Jeff Cohn of Jeff Cohn Cellars in Sonoma County, and other established winemakers.
For the time being, Hampton and Guerrero make about 50 cases per vintage, two of them bottled so far, using grapes harvested in Suisun Valley, then gently pressed, the wine housed in neutral French oak barrels for 13 months and then bottled by hand.
“I leave the winemaking decisions to Adrian,” he said.
Hampton said he also was “active with music production,” and the partnership’s brand name is from a song he wrote that was just released a few months ago on all platforms, “although the context for the song is slightly altered to mean something different for the wine.”
He noted the wine industry is often a multi-generational, family business, but he and Guerrero will be “the first in their families to express their passion for fine wine into a commercial venture.”
“Our paths have strayed from those of our fathers and there is a nuanced mix of excitement, fear, and conviction for undertaking this path,” Hampton wrote in an email to The Reporter. His father, Bob Hampton, helped to found Buckingham Charter High and also to write California’s charter school law, the second in the nation, enacted in 1992.
At the the label’s website, Hampton recently posted his first blog, explaining — “in romantic fashion,” he said — why the two of them love wine so much “that we would want to risk a failed business venture to share it.”
They base their business out of a Vacaville home, and, Hampton added, he and Guerrero “absolutely loved growing up here and our roots as Vacaville natives is foundational in our story.”
He admitted that neither he nor Guerrero grew up with much wine exposure “despite living close to such a wine oasis.”
“While we are personally passionate about fine and rare wines, but we never want to convey any suggestion of exclusivity and love that we make a wine that we think is delicious, yet humble enough to be accessible for many wine drinkers,” he said in the written statement.
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