tasting event featuring Peterson WINERY
Peterson is a truly family owned and operated winery, one of the few remaining. From the growing of the grapes, to the time in the cellar, to the education of the wines to the drinkers, there is a Peterson every step of the way.
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.
As a winegrowing team, Fred and Jamie assess the grapes from each vineyard and vintage as the season progresses, evaluating how the weather, soil and site are interacting for the particular vintage. At Peterson winery, the winemaking process begins while the grapes are still on the vines. Zero Manipulation is a discipline the Petersons follow to capture the character and balance of inherent in the grapes. Zero Manipulation means using the most gentle, traditional winemaking practices possible to maximize the flavors, aromatics and texture of the wines. Fred and Jamie celebrate vintage differences and don’t tweak or homogenize the wine to obtain consistency of flavors, a common practice in mass-market wineries.
For Fred and Jamie, Peterson Winery is all about the wines. But if you look a little deeper, you’ll see the heart and soul that goes into every bottle.
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.
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.
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.