I have always had a passion for premium wines. I have pursued this passion by visiting, studying, and tasting at premier wineries and vineyards here in the U.S. and abroad. I was also inspired by my close friend and coastal engineering colleague, the late Orville Magoon, as he developed the world class Guenoc Estate Vineyards & Winery, and it only served to intensify my desire to one day own and develop a vineyard for growing premium wine-making grapes.

In 1999 I took the plunge and purchased 43 acres of undeveloped land in the Petaluma Gap growing region, just east of Petaluma. I immediately had the soil tested for the growing of grapes. Next, before committing to develop the vineyard, I researched what varietals to grow – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, or some combination of the two, which, along with Syrah, are renowned for flourishing in the Petaluma Gap. Pinot Noir emerged as the clear winner. Determining which of the many Pinot Noir clones to grow (there are over 40 different clones of Pinot Noir documented in the Catalogue of Grapevine Varieties and Clones) was a difficult choice requiring extensive research of the clones and analysis of local growing conditions. The five clones that rose to the top (Pinot Noir clones 115, 667, 777, 828 and Pommard 4) are all well known, high quality clones for this region, and are excellent for blending in various combinations to produce well-structured, complex, full bodied Pinot Noir wines.

In the pantheon of California pinot, Sonoma Valley sits at the top. This can be partially attributed to name recognition. Along with neighboring Napa Valley we are one of the most recognized wine regions in the world. But, more importantly, the conditions for producing superb Pinot Noir grapes here are unsurpassed. The Petaluma Gap is the primary gateway for the regular ebb and flow of fog from the Pacific Ocean. It arrives in the evening, frequently dropping the temperature 40 degrees from its daytime high and then retreats the following morning. This maritime air conditioner extends the growing season and yields grapes that have achieved full ripeness, with mature tannins and elegant aromas. The result in the glass is a well-structured, complex, full-bodied wine with silky texture and rich aromatics.

My intention is that by starting with the best clones available, growing them in the best possible setting for Pinot Noir grapes, and carefully tending the vines and the fruit, we can position you to create the dazzling Pinot Noir wines of your dreams.