PEAKE RANCH WINERY
Peake Ranch Winery
Santa Ynez Valley
Sta. Rita Hills
John and Gill Wagner
About The Estate:
The Sta, Rita Hills AVA is a Californian 'nirvana' for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and Peake Ranch Winery is one of the region's most exciting Young Estates. Owned by PhD Physicist and Hegde Fund Manager, John Wagner, and his wife Gill, Peake Ranch Winery has gone from strength to strength in just a short time, to become of of the AVA's leading names. While the first vintage was 2014, the land has a prestigious history.
The Peake Ranch Vineyard surrounding the winery was previously home to the Sandford Winery, owned by pioneering vintner Robert Sandford. It was here that he and a few other regional legends developed what was to become the Sta. Rita Hills AVA in the 1990s - it's literally the birthplace of the are surrounding it! The land was purchased by the Wagners in 2012, and developed in the stunning site and winery that stand there today.
Their vinous tail starts earlier, though, with John's purchase in the early 2000s of the Sierra Madre Vineyard, around 30 miles north in the Santa Maria Valley. He has since developed it into one of the most coveted sources of the high-quality fruit, especially the Chardonnay. In 2008, John entered into a partnership to develop 150 acres of land in the east of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, that was to become the John Sebastiano Vineyard. It is renowned as a 'Grand Cru' for Pinot Noir fruit.
Having simply farmed the land to this point, John and Gill hired renowned winemaker Paul Lato to craft their first ever vintage as vintners with their 2014 release, under their new Peak Ranch Winery brand, and the rest is history.
Current winemaker Wynne Solomon grew up in Sonoma County, in the town of Windsor, and fell in love with the wine culture there. She moved down to the Central Coast to study Wine and Viticulture at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo in 2010. She began making wine with Stephen Ross Winery in the Edna Valley and moved down to the Sta. Rita Hills to continue pursuing cool climate winemaking with Melville Winery. She joined the Peake Ranch team in 2018 where she worked with Paul Lato in blending the 2017 vintage and made the 2018 vintage hand in hand with him. She inaugurated the new winery and tasting room with the 2019 harvest. Her vision for Peake Ranch is to focus on the unique attributes of this area while emphasizing balance in Californian wines.
The vineyards are managed by a true West Coast icon among wineries, Michael Anderson. Michael spent most of his life in vineyards, and viticulture is both a profession and avocation. He grew up working in his family’s grape nursery leading to an early interest in viticulture. After finishing his education at UC Davis, Michael served as a researcher, author and educator at his alma mater for 30+ years. He was also vineyard manager for the University’s legendary Oakville Station in Napa. He joined the Peake team in 2017.
The stone water cisterns in the vineyard (see above) were build in the late 1800s by the Danish dairy farmer who first developed the land
The Estate is named in honour of the famed 'Cowboy-artist' Channing Peake, purchased the ranch in 1938. His art is displayed proudly across Santa Barbara County
Looking south over the ridge of the Peake Ranch Vineyard. The winery is located on the right