Brand Portfolio

GROWER & PRODUCER PARTNERS

Bill-Hanson

Bill Hanson: Square Plumb & Level (SPL) Pinot Noir Grower

Bill has more than 25 years of wine industry experience. He has served as past Chair of the Board of Directors as well as Marketing Committee Chair for LIVE (Low Input Viticulture and Enology), the leading certifier of sustainable vineyards and wineries in the Pacific Northwest. Bill has held Certified Wine Educator’s accreditation through the Society of Wine Educators since 2007. In addition to his extensive wine management experience, Bill also brings the skills of a winegrower, as Bill and his wife Linda are owners of Libra Vineyard.

Patrick Taylor

Patrick Taylor: Winemaker of our SPL Pinot Noir

Descendant of a prohibition-era winemaker/Italian immigrant, Mr. Taylor only discovered his latent love for winemaking after years of kitchen work, a history degree, and a short foray into home-brewing. In 1991 Patrick set his compass for a place that has proven to be the creative Mecca for all things agriculturally eclectic – Portland, Oregon – so that he could pursue his new found love of fermentation. He earned his BS (1999) and MS (2002) in viticulture and oenology from Oregon State University and worked stints in wine production for Torii Mor, Andrew Rich, Nepenthe (Australia), and Benton Lane. Patrick is the winemaker at Cana’s Feast Winery (where he has been since 2004), was a co-owner of Guild Winemakers from 2010-2014, and has also been crafting some uniquely delicious vermouths under the label of his Hammer & Tongs project since 2012. Among other wines at Cana’s Feast, Patrick is making Nebbiolo, Barbera, Arneis, Sangiovese, Primitivo, and a Chinato of Nebbiolo. Appellations from where Cana’s Feast sources these varietals include Horse Heaven Hills, Red Mountain, Yakima Valley, Wahluke Slope, and the Willamette Valley.

Fred Peterson: grower of our SPL Red Blend

My goal for Peterson Winery and myself is a simple one – to craft better and better wines each year. Having grown grapes and made wine since the 70’s, we still continue to improve. However we continue long standing traditions of farming sustainably, and making wines with as much care and attention to detail as possible.

Although Bradford Mountain is not an official American Viticultural Area (AVA), Fred Peterson defines the appellation as bounded by Pena Creek to the north, West Dry Creek Rd to the east and Wine Creek to the south and west above the 650 feet elevation. At 1264 feet, Bradford Mountain is the highest point directly contiguous to Dry Creek Valley and juts into the valley. The mountain’s soils are ancient alluvial deposits, remains of a prehistoric sea and subsequent riverbeds pushed up by the clash of the Pacific and Continental plates. In the coastal mountains of Northern California, terrain higher than 650 feet sits above the summer fogs. The combination of morning sun and warmth allows for photosynthesis to begin earlier each day. On a typical summer day, after the fog burns off in the Dry Creek Valley and the valley warms, upslope breezes cool off the vines on the mountain. This unique combination of soil and climate produce lower vigor vines that yield less but produce more intense grapes, smaller berries that can be fully ripe yet have incredible balance.

Fred believes his sustainable farming approach results in healthy vines that produce the best wines. Fred had learned the hard way how the mountain soil’s combination of low nutrients, low organic matter, high clay and high acid added a couple of extra years for the young vines to get established. Since he didn’t use chemical fumigation to sterilize the soil prior to planting, he decided after removing the old vines to deep plow and hand pick all of the old vine roots, which removes most of the soil borne pests and toxins. Prior to plowing and root picking, he broadcast 12 tons per acre of organic compost (enriched with chicken manure), 5 tons per acre of limestone and 2 tons per acre of mined gypsum. Fred used a 3 feet deep Italian plow to incorporate these beneficial amendments deeply into the soil, creating a homogenous and ideal environment for the young vine roots to become established.

Though Fred put in a drip irrigation system for the vine establishment, his goal is to have a dry-farmed vineyard, meaning a vineyard that in most years subsists only on the winter and spring rains. (The average November to April rainfall on Bradford Mountain is 48 inches.) Fred believes that dry-farmed vineyards create more intensely flavored and better-balanced fruit at lower sugars than their over-watered counterparts.

Depending on the variety of soil, Fred is using relatively high-vigor rootstocks—110R, 1103P, 140R and St. George. He believes that the somewhat greater vigor of these rootstocks in this low vigor soil will produce vines that will achieve balance with little supplemental water and nutrients.

William Knuttel

William Knuttel: Winemaker of our SPL Red Wine

Long time California wine-maker William Knuttel has concentrated on ultra-premium winemaking for the majority of his career. His philosophy has long been to make a wide range of wines in various styles every vintage, for the simple reason that the number of vintages for any winemaker is quite finite. This wealth of experience has led directly to his adherence to traditional winemaking practices, which lead to balanced, elegant wines that pair well with foods and have excellent aging potential—the hallmarks of classic wine. Knuttel’s winemaking journey began at Saintsbury, where he was winemaker from 1983 to 1996 and established that brand as an international leader in high-end Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the Burgundian style—and, incidentally, revolutionizing the way those varieties were produced in California. During his tenure at Saintsbury, Knuttel founded and was owner/winemaker of Tria, producing fine Pinot Noir, Syrah and Zinfandel. William Knuttel was also Vice President and Winemaker at Chalk Hill Winery from 1996 to 2003, specializing in ultra-premium Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. From 2003 to 2011 Knuttel was Executive Winemaker at Dry Creek Vineyard, where he completely re-honed the styles and quality of that winery’s extensive portfolio. Knuttel was also ZAP’s winemaker in 2005, producing their Heritage Zinfandel, and President of the California Cabernet Society from 1999-2003. In addition to the William Knuttel wines, Knuttel is partner and winemaker for two other brands: Ottimino, which produces Zinfandel exclusively from the Sonoma Coast, and Teira, producer of premium Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and Merlot. William Knuttel is a long time resident of Napa Valley. His daughter Kate, a dancer, graduated from California College of the Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, while his son Sebastian, a cellist, studied at UC Santa Cruz, receiving his BA with a major in Mathematics–both are currently part of the family business. Knuttel’s hobbies range from golf to genealogy, and he travels often to the Argentine wine region of Cafayate. As an avid music lover, Knuttel developed the Napa Valley Youth Symphony, a non-profit dedicated to bringing professional orchestral experience to talented young musicians, and he currently sits on the board of Berkeley Symphony, where William Knuttel Winery is an official sponsor.

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