The vineyard is owned and managed by Joan and Jim Griffin, who live on the property. Joan was once a book editor, but her interest in wine and in growing grapes led her back to college to study viticulture and begin this second career. She continues her education by attending seminars and vineyard technical group meetings, and learning "on the job." There is always a new challenge! Jim, a former industrial automation executive, is the Griffin's Lair CEO (Chief Equipment Operator), although his job description includes a bit more: he researches new equipment, troubleshoots and repairs old equipment, and fixes everything that breaks. He is also a competent CFO (Chief Forklift Operator). We are both conscientious about sampling our wine (and everyone else's— for comparison, of course), in order to develop our palates. We are very serious about this part of the job.
How It Happened...
How we learned to be winegrowers is a good story. After buying our property in 1995 we began to research the possibility of growing grapes— not for sparkling wine as the few vineyards in Lakeville did, but for premium pinot noir. We were surprised to discover that winemakers and growers in both Napa and Sonoma were approachable, friendly and more than willing to share their experiences. We soaked up knowledge like sponges: Conversations with Byron Kosuge at Saintsbury and with other winemakers, hours following Lee Hudson through his Carneros vineyard asking pesky questions, classes at Santa Rosa Jr. College with Rich Thomas. The JC was not a piece of cake: the classes were demanding and so was the hands-on work. We pruned vines in January in pouring rain. Coffee break? No sir, we had a "wine break"! Two semesters (spring and fall "Vineyard Management") introduced us to grapegrowers in Sonoma County; as we tramped through their vineyards these generous people talked frankly about their successes and failures and offered help. To this day we use all this information, and our "classmates" have become dear and steadfast friends. We do sell grapes to wineries in the "other" county (think auto parts), but our hearts are in Sonoma.
-1995- planning the vineyard.
Drink wine and you will sleep well. Sleep and you will not sin. Avoid sin and you will be saved. Therefore, drink wine and be saved!