Winemakers relish in the Sonoma Coast
“Here, let me draw you a map,” said Sonoma Coast vintner Nick Peay.
I had mentioned the maps I had for Fort Ross-Seaview AVA did not provide the detail I had hoped for in a region made up of some paved, and some unpaved roads. Wine people love maps.
Of all the -ographys and -ologies that make up the wine world, geography is perhaps the most important. Finding the perfect place where soils, sun, fog and exposure merge to make magic is the Holy Grail.
That’s why Nick and his brother Andy Peay came to this remote, previously map-less, ridgetop to plant vines that produce the grapes for the West Sonoma Coast pinot noir, syrah and chardonnay they make for their eponymous label.
The pair had been on a quest to find a place to, in Andy’s words, “Make wine that engages all of our senses and expresses the characteristics of a piece of land.” They spent the summer of ’95 driving the west coast searching for the right site. They were searching as much on gut feeling as they were on science. They just knew that they would know it when they found it.
One morning, Andy took to the logging roads of the mountainous coast. He came across a real estate listing that read, “A scenic viewpoint with vineyard potential!” Andy took the trip up the ridge and the rest is history.
Today their wines sell out on release, they have been written about by the most influential wine scribes on the planet, and they have received numerous “Winery of the Year” honors.
Nick spoke recently of the soils, the team of eight that run the organic vineyards throughout the year and the clones they specifically selected for the site.
So when Nick began to trace the roads and draw the map to help me find my way he was, in a sense, tracing the road to success of Peay Vineyards. He signed it simply. “There are roads.”
There certainly are.