Out of a fondness for grapes and fine wines and having owned and operated a boutique winery (Vollbehr Cellars) in eastern Iowa in the 80's, spawned a love for making premium wines. However, this love for wine making was placed on hold while I completed my degree in Public Administration. After serving as Public Works director in Iowa and Oklahoma, I was exhilarated to receive my appointment as Public Facilities and Services Director for the City of Petaluma, CA, right in the heart of Sonoma County wine country.
During my tenure with Petaluma, my wife and I spent the next five years traveling the northern California and Oregon wine country viewing vineyards and sampling my favorite wine, Pinot Noir. Pryor to retiring from Petaluma, we both attended classes at Santa Rosa Junior College on establishing and maintaining a vineyard. Equipped with my wine making experience and our new vineyard training, we decided to make our way back to this beautiful Arizona valley and bring with us the fine traditions of west coast grape growing and wine making.
Our 6 acre vineyard is located on the west bench overlooking the striking Chino Valley and Black Mesa Basin at 4,550 feet. It is rimed by the Mingus mountains on the east, the Bradshaw mountains on the south and the Juniper mountains on the west. Some visitors have likened this valleys micro climate to Arizona's new Napa Valley, as it has a similar mountain orientation, combined with the right amount of warm breezy days and cool nights. The altitude of the valley changes the nature of the grape and especially the tannins. The higher you get in elevation, the more the sun radiated, so the tannins are softer and rounder. The acid is also elevated which tends to give the wines a lift. We are much excited about the Chino Valley area as we believe it is one of the most special grape growing places in Arizona.
After many months of preparation we began planting in 2009 with select Pinot Noir clones of 828, 667, 777, 115, Pommard and Martine clone. All of which go into the making of our premier reserve wine. This was followed by plantings of Carménère and Phoenix in 2010, then Vignoles 2011. Our first commercial crush of Pinot Noir and Carménère wine grapes was in the fall of 2013.
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