F&W's American Wine Awards: Morgan Twain-Peterson is Sonoma's old-vine obsessive.

April 27, 2012

Bedrock Wine Co. Morgan Twain-Peterson Bedrock Wine Co.'s Morgan Twain-Peterson. Photo © Jon Tenney.

It's tough making a name for yourself in the shadow of a famous father. It's tougher if you choose the same profession, in the same county. But that's what Morgan Twain-Peterson—the son of Sonoma Ravenswood Winery founder and winemaker Joel Peterson—is doing with his Bedrock Wine Co.

Twain-Peterson's passion is to seek out California's heirloom vineyards: sites planted in the late 1800s or early 1900s, usually with a crazy grab bag of Mediterranean grape varieties. These ultra-low-yielding vineyards produce spicy, exotic reds, but in tough economic times, they're often the first to be ripped out in favor of higher-producing vines. Taste the potent, blackberry-rich 2008 Bedrock Wine Co. The Bedrock Heirloom ($35) from vines planted more than 100 years ago, and you'll wonder what farmer in his right mind could countenance destroying this kind of heritage. Bedrock Wine Co. 2008 Bedrock Heirloom Made from 120-year-old vines, the 2008 Bedrock Heirloom is a potent red. Photo © Kate Mathis.

Recently, with some other winemakers, Twain-Peterson cofounded the new Historic Vineyard Society. "These vineyards are California's treasures. There's a poetic element to them, in that they reflect the melting pot culture of the US," he says. "But they'd be nowhere if they also didn't make very, very good juice."

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