Pax Mahle began his wine life as a sommelier on America’s east coast before taking a job out west as Wine Director for Dean & DeLuca in California. It wasn’t long before he decided that he “wanted to be the guy with the dirty boots making it, rather than the guy with the bow tie serving it” and, with some financial backing from a wealthy associate, Pax Cellars was born in 2000. Before long his wines were garnering big scores from the critics and attracting a long line of willing buyers – the style was big and brash but the wines were expertly made and Pax’s reputation was beginning to build.

Following a falling out with his original backer and subsequent court battle over the use of the original name, Pax started a separate project with a very different approach – Wind Gap. His winemaking style had always been low-intervention and this remained the same, but what changed was the vineyards he was sourcing fruit from. Whereas ripeness had been the priority before (vineyard sites like James Berry deliver alcohol of 16% as par for the course), now his attention had turned to cool climate sites that would provide more elegant, balanced wines with delicate perfume. Many of these sites were located in ‘wind gaps’ (hence the project’s name) where the cool air ensured a longer and steadier ripening process and produced wines with much higher natural acidity that in the warmer sites. From 2008, Wind Gap was Pax’s main project, and this chimed perfectly with the shifting zeitgeist in Californian wine and the move towards brighter, fresher styles.

Today Wind Gap is housed in a modern winery in Sebastopol, with plenty of room for the steel tanks, concrete eggs and neutral barrels that Pax uses to make a wide range of wines from the classic (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah and Grenache) to the obscure (Trousseau Gris, Arinto…). What all of the wines share is an incredible sense of varietal purity and unrivalled drinkability, without sacrificing complexity or the ability to improve with age.

Featured wines

Wind Gap - a chosen few from us

All wine by Wind Gap

About us

We sell wine that offers quality and value at every level, from the everyday to the extraordinary. Read more about us.

Awards & press Our latest awards

We're Decanter and IWC Specialist Merchant of the Year for our USA range.

... London's best collection of seriously smart wine available by the single bottle

Jancis Robinson MW