January 15th, 2014

This month we’re going to head down south to find our wine. As some of you may very well know, quite a bit of wine is now being made a few hours south of here. We, admittedly, can tend to get stuck with our heads pointed north, needing to be reminded again and again that good things are happening on that southern coast. It’s not yet as grand and romantic as the Napa Valley, but, then, neither was the Napa Valley just a few short decades ago.

What’s nice, in learning a bit about the Ancient Peaks Winery, is realizing is that in Southern California it’s still possible to get into the game if you’re not a millionaire. The last Napa Valley winery I read about, for example, was founded by a man with a Stanford MBA, who had worked in business his whole life, and then retired into his dream of having a little winery. Which is great, except that it sets the bar for how to get your own little winery very, very high. Ancient Peaks, on the other hand, is made from grapes grown on a vineyard that is collectively owned by three local families. Those owners are all natives of Paso Robles, where the vineyard is located. One is a rancher and director of the Mid California State Fair. Another, in addition to his work with wine, is president of Filipponi & Thompson Drilling. The version of winemaking that’s being practiced in their neighborhood, it turns out, is not another story about the hobbies of the 1%.

It’s possible that this will be the winery that gets us to reorient in a more southerly direction. It’s also possible that by next month we’ll forget and just head north again. Remember that we said this once, though: the future is in the south.

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