Articles by Nick Peay

The View from the Tractor

As you turn the page and your eyes alight upon the grape grower’s article, you probably expect musings on the pending harvest; envisioning misty mornings, yellowing leaves, heaping mounds of glistening clusters in quarter ton bins. Instead, I want to share with you what it is like to get my Big Spring Chore out of […]

Musings on Micro-Climates: A Break From NPR

Does your car tell you the outside temperature? This is not a new technology – I have a 1994 Lexus that can do that – but it is more widespread now, maybe universal. How important is it to know the exact temperature outside? For a farmer, a couple degrees make a big difference as it […]

Sailing Past Scylla and Charybdis

Andy and I heeded the call of wine fresh out of college. We struck out to make our way in the world of business with our own little passionate, entrepreneurial enterprise. We were not alone. The magic, the rapture, the spell that beautiful, sumptuous wine casts has lured many. Over the past ten years we […]

A Case for a Case of Chardonnay

As the Wine Institute reported in 2011, “Chardonnay far and away remains the most popular wine in the U.S. and has continued to be the leading varietal wine for the last decade.” It occupies that middle ground of the wine palate, less weighty than the white wines of the Rhône, such as Grenache Blanc or […]

Older is Better

I’m writing this column to urge you, nay, to implore you, to create a little space in your life for aging your wines. And in my experience, it’s really not that difficult. You can do it, I know you can. I’ve done it in some pretty challenging circumstances. Here’s what you need to know.

Water Sommeliers: The Next Big Trend?

I read the title above this morning in The Daily Meal (All Things Food and Drink) and had a good chuckle. Apparently, the author was talking about more than just whether you’d like still or sparkling. His bottom line was that the establishments that are employing a water sommelier or training their servers/sommeliers on their extensive offerings of water options are attempting to improve the quality of the experience for you, their customers, in a meaningful way. Uh, sure, I guess?

Musings on Pinot

There is something immediate and eye-opening about the direct experience of travel to a far-away country. The hospitality industry as a whole caters to tourists yearning for the experience of a people and a place, yet, mostly offers up a simulacrum of the real thing. This is even more true with the vast majority of wine tourism.

To be Au Naturel?

Hello, my name is Nick and I’ve got mildew. There, I’ve said it. It wasn’t easy to admit and you won’t often hear other growers come clean about it.

Introducing Peay Estate Tempranillo

Back in May, some folks from the Nature Conservancy stopped by the vineyard. As part of the research that would form open space and wildland conservation policy for the area, they wanted to know the desires and behavior of an environmentally-conscientious grapegrower.

Pass the Humus, Please

I would like to get heavy on you here. Consider the amount of effort you exert maintaining or creating order in your life: your sock drawer, your appointment calendar, your garage.

Who’s Your Daddy?

Out here in the vineyard, winter is our slow season. On days that are not filled with rain, we prune last year’s growth. The downtime due to the rain gives us time for winery projects.

A Rebuttal

I appreciate when a wine writer attempts to zero in on the cause of a generally perceived shortcoming.

Rambling in the Rhône

I am a bad traveler. I find it difficult to leave the vineyard for any great length of time unless we travel during the month of January. Even then, ten days is a long time for me to be away. Like a Steinbeck character I am chained to my land out in the nether regions of the coast.

From the Department of Oddities And Curiosities…Viognier

Who are we? When asked to supply a vinous identity, I reply “We are primarily a Sonoma Coast Pinot noir house with a small Chardonnay program and a sizable Syrah experiment.”

Battle Royale: The Thrip vs. The Mite Vs. The Lacewing

In this space you are expecting a word or two about Syrah and grape growing, I realize. Nope, no tractor roll this year to report. The mean weather that swept in during Pinot noir flowering in late May/early June revisited us for an encore during Syrah flowering a few weeks later.