March Winery Spotlight
Peterson Winery has been producing wine in Dry Creek Valley for 30 years and, like most wineries in the Valley, produces Zinfandel as well as other wines. Yet a closer look shows that is where the similarities end.
Owner Fred Peterson is an iconoclast with an old world winemaking philosophy and a reverence for sustainable farming. The Peterson approach is to capture the essence of vintage and vineyard—a philosophy they call Zero Manipulation—with low tech, yet high touch, to produce wines of a place, wines with soul. The evolution of Peterson wines and winemaking accelerated when Fred’s son Jamie became assistant winemaker in the summer of 2002. In 2006, after moving from the tiny red barn on Lytton Springs to Timber Crest Farms, Jamie was given the overall responsibilities as winemaker.
Fred came to Dry Creek Valley in 1983, working to find and develop world-class vineyard properties. It was an exciting time for Fred, being able to select ideal vineyard locations and then plant the appropriate grape variety and clone for each site. The vineyards Fred developed in Dry Creek Valley (Sonoma County), including on Bradford Mountain, began producing amazing fruit. The next step was a natural one; Fred wanted to make wine from the fruits of his labor (sorry about the pun, it was too good to pass up).
In 1987, all the pieces fell into place for Fred, and he launched Peterson Winery. For nearly twenty years, the winery was located in an old, red barn tucked away in the vineyards off of Lytton Springs Road. It was beautiful place to make wine, but the antique structure began to show its age. In late 2005, Fred seized an opportunity to move into a newer facility on Dry Creek Road, at Timber Crest Farms. This new, more convenient location offers more offices and space, plus a room for visitors to taste the wines.
Over the years, Fred has befriended grape growers who share his goals and values; to grow grapes that reflect a sense of place. The Dry Creek Valley encompasses one of the greatest ranges of microclimates for such a small area in the world, making it possible to grow many grape varieties, with world-class quality. Peterson Winery now makes an average of 8000 cases annually, all in many small lots from the like-minded growers he now calls his friends.
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