LA WineFest’s Dr. Joel M. Fisher tastes through Beekeeper Cellars, Ian Blackburn and Clay Mauritson

Ian Blackburn of Beekeeper Cellars, Wine LA

I have long been an acquaintance of Ian Blackburn and appreciate his enthusiasm within the wine industry.  As a result, when I was invited to taste through his Beekeeper Cellars I was excited.

On February 28, 2018 Daily Ovation Publisher Joe Wehinger and I went to Ian’s event at Kali Restaurant in Hollywood, CA to learn Beekeepers history, understand Ian’s passions, and taste some excellent wines. 

Beekeeper Cellars is the vision of best friends and co-winemakers Ian Blackburn and Clay Mauritson. The two collaborated after adventurous individual careers in the wine business, and at last, decided to work together on a project of their own.

Ian Blackburn of Beekeeper Cellars, Wine LA


2009 Beekeeper Zinfandel, 15.3% alcohol.  Some fruit on the nose, metallic on the palette.  Good garnet color, not complicated.  Made 120 cases.  The wine received good publicity.  19% Petit Syrah helped.

2011 Zinfandel from Madrone Springs Vineyards.  13.9% alcohol.  Strong Pinot Noir influence.  A lot of French Oak.  Refined.

2012 Howell Mountain.  Only 350 cases — all gone.  Fruits, smooth color, big spicy wine.  Bottle needs aging.

2013 Madrone Springs Vineyard Zinfandel.  To be released in 2019.  More complex, Purple color.  Strong on palette, good finish.  Will age beautifully.  15.7% alcohol.  19% Petit Syrah.

2014 Monticello.  Dark ruby.  Fruit forward – cherry and spice lingering on the palette.  5% Petit Syrah.  Good. Big body, big wine.

2015 Monticello, dark red, some chalk.  Good on palette, smoky, 14.4% alcohol

Beekeeper Zinfandel 2015.  I think the end results was 300 cases.  Garnet color, fruit forward on the nose.  Also fruits on the palette.  Big body, medium plus complexity, fruit and a good finish.  Will be enjoyed with food.


Beekeeper Cellars started with a simple vow: “craft beautiful vineyard expressions from premier vineyard sites, and reintroduce the quality wine audience to Zinfandel.”  Today, they continue towards this goal.  After tasting their through releases, I am impressed.  I think you will be too.  Go try them!