At Modern Luxury, connection and community define who we are. We use cookies to improve the Modern Luxury experience - to personalize content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyze our traffic. We also may share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. We take your privacy seriously and want you to be aware that we have recently made changes to our Privacy Policy, which can be found here.


Cinnabar Winery's Ron Mosley Shares His 5 Favorite Vintages

By Laura Ness | November 17, 2019 | Food & Drink People Wine and Spirits Wine Country National

Ron Mosley, who planted the vines three decades ago, is now the vintner and owner at Cinnabar.

Ron Mosley began his wine career in 1983 by clearing land to make way for vines at Cinnabar Winery.

Cinnabar Winery is the quintessential Silicon Valley dream come true—for two people, at least. Founded by the late Tom Mudd, a Stanford grad and scientist at Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International), Cinnabar was named for the vermillion pigment derived from mercury. When Mudd hired young Ron Mosley in 1983 to clear the land and plant vines high above the Valley, he could never have known that one day, Mosley would own the winery. After Mudd passed away in 2007, his children inherited the brand and its successful tasting room in downtown Saratoga, but their dad’s passion was not theirs. Mosley, a successful viticultural consultant and winemaker, recently gained ownership of the brand he helped to build with shovel, pitchfork and tractor. Some things do, indeed, come full circle.

Mosley’s intent on keeping the past alive, but has his sights on moving forward. “Mercury Rising became our signature red wine in 1992 when we sold out of the estate cabernet vintage,” Mosley says. “We needed something to sell!” He plans to make a premium Black Label edition of Mercury Rising and bring back Incantation, an old favorite semillon-based white. Reflecting on how wine-buying habits have changed over 30 years, Mosley observes: “With the aging of our traditional wine connoisseurs, buying wine to lay down is slowly converting to buying wine to enjoy in the near term, which is what millennials and Gen Xers are doing. It will be a challenge to step up to the new wine drinkers’ needs, but challenges are fun!”

Acknowledging competition from other wineries and the public’s appetite for beer and spirits, Mosley says he’s turning to tempranillo, albariño and sangiovese to excite jaded palates. “Sangiovese,” he says, “means ‘the blood of Jupiter,’ a perfect fit with the Cinnabar ethos.”


1. 1997 Estate Cabernet Fully ripe, brick red, earthy. One of the best!

2. 1992 Original Mercury Rising Red Soft, supple, pizzaworthy

3. 2016 Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay Tangerine, lemon, silky, smooth

4. 2016 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir Forest floor, redwood, spice

5. 2016 Petit Verdot Lush, dark chocolate-covered cherries

Photography by: Photographed by Angela DeCenzo