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Wells Guthrie began his career in the wine business as the Tasting Coordinator for the Wine Spectator Magazine in San Francisco. He was responsible for organizing all the tastings for the editors and transferring edited reviews to New York for publication. While there he was not only able to taste all the wines reviewed and hone his palate but gain exposure to the broader world of wine through outside tastings and winery visits with winemakers.
While attending various tastings at the famous importer's store Kermit Lynch, he fell in love with syrah from the Northern Rhone. Inspired by these wines, he wrote dozens of letters to wineries seeking a position and was granted a place at Maison Chapoutier in Tain L’Erimitage. After working for two vintages in 1996 and 1997, Wells returned to California to work for Turley Wine Cellars in 1998 and while there met his first business partner.
The year 1999 marked the first vintage for Copain Wines, which Wells made while working at the same time for Helen Turley of Marcassin. The following vintage, having been forced to leave their Custom Crush facility, Wells and his partner opened their own crush business in Santa Rosa. They successfully ran this business growing from 5 initial wineries to over 30 when they sold the business 10 years later. During this period Wells continued to craft critically acclaimed wines garnering high 90 point reviews from Robert Parker and others and slowly built up a cult following with consumers, sommeliers, and restauranteurs across the country.
In 2007 Wells and his partner built a 35,000 case winery in the Russian River and moved the Copain brand to that facility. Wells found a new partner in 2010 and sold the Crush Business, remonetized the winery, and invested in vineyard properties in Anderson Valley to establish estate sourced wines. During these years Wells spent time augmenting his wine craft and worked for two prestigious Domaines in Burgundy: Domaine Dujac and Frederic Mugnier. He was able to spend time in winter doing work in the vineyards, cellar and was able to secure several selections of pinot noir clones, which were grafted and are now producing wines in Anderson Valley, including a 2018 10 clone blend for Dupuis Wines.