Peay Vineyards Wine Tasting with Special Guest Andy Peay

Saturday, April 15, 2023 - 07:30 PM

This Event has been read: 734 times.

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"God made Cabernet Sauvignon, whereas the Devil made Pinot Noir."
Andre Tchelistcheff

I will never forget the first time that Andy Peay stopped by the Wine Watch to show me the first wines that Peay Vineyards had to offer in South Florida.  Andy showed me the two 2004 vintage wines they were offering, the Sonoma Coast Chardonnay and Pinot Noir both of which were outstanding, and I immediately took my 6-bottle allocation of each wine which with only 6 bottles of each I think we drank most of them.

I looked at Andy and said, ok now what?  You can’t pay for this trip selling 12 bottles of wine to each account you visit?  Well, he said something to the effect of you have to start somewhere and that they wanted to have a presence in the top accounts on and off premise in every market they were in.  That visit was in 2006 and it has been almost 20 years since we have seen Andy, but I knew with his brother Nick as his partner and Vanessa Wong (Nick’s wife) as the winemaker this label was a sure bet.

So, when I heard Andy was coming to town I was happy to put an event on the calendar to show our “Wine Drinking People” just how good these wines are and we even have a few older vintage wines on the table tonight to show how well these wines age.  They have an amazing story which I have included on this e-mail as well as all the wines we have to offer from this GREAT boutique California winery.

The fee for this tasting which includes dinner is $225 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail  Please let us know when you make your reservation if you have any dietary restrictions and chef Toni will be happy to accommodate you.   

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Saturday, April 15, 2023
7:30 PM

2021 Peay Vineyards Estate Viognier, Sonoma Coast, USA
2014 Peay Vineyards Estate Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, USA
2020 Peay Vineyards Estate Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, USA
2017 Peay Vineyards Estate Scallop Shelf Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, USA
2017 Peay Vineyards Ama Estate Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, USA
2019 Peay Vineyards Savoy Vineyard Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, USA
2017 Peay Vineyards Savoy Vineyard Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, USA
2019 Peay Vineyards Estate La Bruma Vineyard Estate Syrah, Sonoma Coast, USA
2009 Peay Vineyards Estate La Bruma Vineyard Estate Syrah, Sonoma Coast, USA

Selection of Cheese and Charcuterie
Sea Scallop Carpaccio with candied Lemon, Lime and Orange, Fresh Mint and Lavender Aioli
Crispy Duck Confit with Cherry Pinot Noir Reduction and Epoisses Mashed Potatoes
Syrah Braised Lamb Stew served over Coco Nib Goat Cheese Couscous
Warm Apple tart with cheddar cheese

The fee for this tasting which includes dinner is $225 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail  Please let us know when you make your reservations if you have any food allergies and chefs Toni and Dani will be happy to accommodate you. 


The Peay Story:

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“What the heck are people doing growing grapes and making wine from way out on a ridge top above the cold Pacific Ocean? I mean, it is remote. And mountainous. And, frankly, the weather can be a little inhospitable at times.” The quick answer goes something like – this is where our research and luck led us. The longer answer follows.

Vanessa Wong, Nick Peay, and Andy Peay are driven by the same passion. That is a good thing since we are in business together as well as in relation. We each discovered wine at different times in our lives, but it led to the same desire: To make wine that engages all of our senses and captures the unique character of a piece of land. To realize this vision - for our palates in our Country - we felt we needed to seek cooler climates with less sunshine and longer growing seasons to grow Chardonnay, Pinot noir, and Syrah than was under vine in the early 90s. We needed to head west to farm next to the chilly Pacific Ocean. We needed truly coastal frontier land.

Armed with tanks full of coffee and gas, a Polaroid, and U.S. Geological maps in hand, we drove the back roads and coastal hills of the West Coast of the United States in 1995 looking for that special plot of land. “Hey, Nick, is that moss hanging off that split rail fence. Hmm, good, likely lots of cooling fog.” “Is that bracken fern? Maybe too much water, Andy.” “Excuse me, old timer, do you have any records of temperatures in this area?” “Can you see that parcel from the lowest branch? Take a photo.” “Whaddya think, 10% slope on that hillside?” “What soils do you find on this ridge?” “Um, Nick, that is definitely trespassing.” We drove all around the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara, up and around the Mendocino Ridges, down along the Sonoma Coast, even traveling as far as eastern Washington.

One morning, I — Andy — woke up in a thick fog on a black sand beach on the Lost Coast in Humboldt County (Humboldt County?!) I grabbed my bivvy sack and stuffed my gear into my truck and headed south on Highway 1 with plans to revisit some logging roads on the Mendocino and Sonoma Coast ridgelines that caught our attention on our last trip. En route, I stopped in the town of Mendocino to pick up real estate listings to see if anything appealing had gone on the market. I needed a cup of coffee and who knew maybe I could avoid spending my day climbing trees for better sight lines for photos and scaling old logging roads rutted from years of heavy winter rains. There was one property listed down the coast an hour or so. “A scenic viewpoint with vineyard potential!” I groaned. Anyone who has looked for land in “wine country” recognizes that this designation is meaningless; you could plant a vine there and it may live. Heck, vines thrive almost everywhere. But there is no guarantee it would bear fruit or make tasty wine. It could, however, and for that you pay double the price.

I decided I should check it out anyway and drove an hour south of the town of Mendocino to meet an agent in the coastal town of Gualala, a hamlet that serves as the northern border of the Sonoma Coast. From there I drove south on Highway 1 along the Pacific Ocean into Sonoma County for a few miles and at a place named Sea Ranch headed east crossing the San Andreas Fault and climbed the coast ridge along the Wheatfield Fork of the Gualala River. As we mounted the ridge, the sign posts we used for identifying the correct climate and soil types were abundant. I got excited.

After winding our way through tall stands of redwood trees we pulled into a clearing on a south facing ridge. We were perched on a knoll on the second ridge four miles from the Pacific Ocean. Bronzed fields sloped and dropped into steep gorges forming a pronounced camelback shape to the land. Fog listlessly retreated into the river gorge pulling in its long tentacles across the fields. A stand of fir capped the southern part of the knoll, hiding the bell-shaped terrain gently sloping south east, south, and southwest. To the south, far in the distance, I could see vineyards renowned for Pinot noir and Chardonnay. But no one had grown grapes this far northwest in Sonoma County. It sat deeply in the inversion layer and was too cold and foggy. And god-forsakenly remote! Right here, this was frontier land. It was breath-taking.

I barreled out of the truck and headed down the nose of the knoll to snap photos and take stock of whether this parcel really had “vineyard potential.” On my heels the agent carried on about the view and the homesteader’s house, “You just have to see the house on the property!” In my most serious, no bones voice, I told her, “Thank you but I’m interested in grape growing, not residential real estate. Views and old houses be damned.”

I excitedly walked all over the parcel envisioning rows of vines. At high noon, a gentle breeze was persistently luffing my t-shirt making me shiver. The slopes were mostly gentle, the exposure ideal, and the local flora encouraging. I snapped a handful of Polaroids, thanked the agent for her time, and went on my way. “Cool breezes. Sloping hillsides. It looks promising! Let’s see what Nick thinks.”

Well, Nick liked what he saw in the photos. He visited the parcel. Took soil samples. Studied the geographic history. Poured over daily temperature and precipitation records an old timer living on the property had recorded for the past 15 years in a spiral binder. Nick gave the green light and our adventure was underway.

It has been 24 years since that August day. There have been countless stories that have carried us to this stage: stormy nights battling and cursing a brutal el Niño, daring the boy, just daring him to strike us dead while shoveling auxiliary drainage ditches, throwing hay, and trying to keep our recently prepped fields on the top of the hill; countless days spent coddling every one of the 85,000 vines praying it would be set well/grow/withstand the wind and rot; endless afternoons tucking shoots and clipping the 52-acre bonsai garden for optimal sun exposure on the fruit; and, most importantly, a singular tale of a boy and girl who loved wine, and each other, and wanted to make a life together pursuing these interests.

We feel lucky to pursue our passion together as a family and to share with you our dedication to the ideals of superior wine growing and wine making. This is what we do and we hope you enjoy the results.

A First-Generation Family Winery

What about Winemaker of the Year? - The Cellarist

Husband and wife, Nick Peay & Vanessa Wong, grow and make the wine and brother Andy Peay sells the wine and runs the business.

With minor exceptions, all wines are made from grapes grown on our 53-acre hilltop vineyard located above a river in the far northwestern corner of the West Sonoma Coast, 4 miles from the Pacific Ocean at Sea Ranch. We grow 34 acres of Pinot noir (4 Pinots: Scallop Shelf, Pomarium, Ama, Sonoma Coast), 8 acres of Syrah (2 Syrah: Les Titans, La Bruma), 7 acres of Chardonnay (2 Chardonnay: Estate, Sonoma Coast), 1.8 acres of Viognier (Estate), 0.4 acres of Roussanne and 0.2 acres of Marsanne (Estate blend). We also make a Pinot noir from the famed Savoy Vineyard in Anderson Valley.

We are certified organic farmers with a respect for Mother Nature’s ability to create an intricately complex and balanced natural environment. We do not till our soils but seek to encourage soil and root health. We maintain our certifications for fish-friendly farming and integrated pest management. We also run on bio-diesel at the vineyard and solar power at both the vineyard and winery. The long-term health of our vineyard dictates these approaches to farming and making wine.


Nick Peay - Winegrower
Nick’s interest in wine started when, seeking to be different from his teetotalling older sister, he accepted his parent’s offer to try wine one evening with dinner. A fascination set in and laid the groundwork for his eventual career in wine and wine growing.

After graduating from Bowdoin College in 1988, Nick set off for California with an ambition to discover if he would catch the wine bug working for his buddy’s family winery, Schramsberg; anything to avoid applying to law school, his parents suggested path. After working crush, Nick took his first full-time position with Bill Smith, owner of La Jota Vineyards on Howell Mountain in Napa. The most critical lessons Nick learned from Bill were the importance of matching grape variety and terroir and controlling your grape source. Acting on this inspiration, he decided to study in the graduate enology program at U.C. Davis so he could someday grow his own grapes and make his own wine. Nick worked before, during, and after schooling at Schramsberg, La Jota, and Newton in Napa, and as assistant wine maker at Storrs in the Santa Cruz Mountains from 1994 through early 1997.

As he witnessed the trials of running an entrepreneurial venture at Storrs, Nick was delighted to discover his brother Andy might be interested in joining up to start their own vineyard and winery. In the beginning, Nick and Andy founded the company and planted the estate vineyard in Annapolis as a team. While the young vines matured, Nick worked harvest for Flowers in 1998 and 1999 and for Coldstream Hills in Australia in the Spring of 1999 while Andy tended the vines. When Vanessa joined the brothers in 2001 as winemaker, all the pieces fell in to place and Nick concentrated on winegrowing while helping Vanessa in the cellar. Due to his training and experience in making wine, Nick’s approach to grape growing stresses practices that lead to wines that express their fullest potential, no matter the cost or the effort. He hopes that will lead to wines that delight Vanessa, his brother, and everyone who tries Peay Vineyards’ wines.

"As a winegrower, my job is to apply practices that lead to wines that express their fullest potential, no matter the cost or the effort."


Vanessa Wong - Winemaker
Vanessa was planting a vineyard on the Sonoma Coast when she heard about these guys up north who had just planted 15 clones of Pinot noir in terra incognita. She visited in the fall of 2000 and took a shine to the beauty of the place and the quality of the young vine fruit she tasted while she walked the vineyard with Nick. He must not have been too shabby, either, as Vanessa joined Peay Vineyards in the spring before their first vintage in 2001 and they were married the following year.

Prior to coming to Peay, Vanessa worked at Peter Michael Winery as winemaker and assistant winemaker from 1996-2000. She also spent time working in France at Château Lafite-Rothschild in Pauillac and Domaine Jean Gros in Vosne-Romanée.

A native of San Francisco, Vanessa was initiated into the wine business by working in wine retail and catering at the ripe old age of 14. This early exposure to the world of wine and its distinctive yet universal appeal sparked her fascination with winemaking. This led her to pursue a degree in viticulture and enology at UC Davis, much to the chagrin of her parents who thought she was taking pre-med classes to become a doctor! Vanessa expanded on her studies at U.C. Davis by working at various wineries in the Napa Valley and spending one year in France to study enology and do research at the l’Institut d’Œnologie in Bordeaux. Upon completion of her studies, she traveled between Europe and Australia to explore the diversity of winemaking.

Together with Andy and Nick Peay, Vanessa shares the vision of making distinctive, harmonious wines that capture their estate vineyard’s timeless, unique expression of place.


Andy Peay - Sales, Marketing, Everything Else
In the spring of 1995, brothers Andy and Nick got to know one another listening to old jazz records and brewing beer in Andy’s in-law apartment in Berkeley. Nick would bring the wine for dinner and Andy, since he was trying to figure out if maybe he wanted to be a professional chef, would cook. One evening while washing down a bite of lamb with a perfectly paired cool climate Syrah, Andy’s brain lit up like a Christmas tree. Forget life as a chef. Wine! A life in wine is the future.

Prior to that time, Andy had received his BA from Dartmouth College in 1992 and spent a few years on Wall Street as a financial analyst. After leaving banking by way of trekking through Southeast Asia for a year, Andy studied economic development at UC Berkeley. After his wine epiphany that spring, Andy traveled to various wine regions and enrolled in the OIV Wine Marketing Summer Session at UC Davis. He continued to pursue his interest in wine by working the 1995 harvest at Cain Vineyards in Napa. By this time, Andy was hooked and moved to San Francisco to learn about the retail end of wine at The Jug Shop. During that time, Andy and Nick searched for land to grow cool climate Chardonnay, Pinot noir and Syrah. They purchased their land on the Sonoma Coast in November of 1996.

Starting a vineyard and winery from scratch is no small undertaking so while looking for an ideal vineyard site and preparing to plant, Andy received an MBA from the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley. Upon graduation, Nick and Andy planted the first 30 acres in 1998. The isolation of the Coast proved to be hard and cash was getting low so Andy moved back to San Francisco to get a job to help pay for the money hungry vineyard up north. In 2004, Andy returned full-time to Peay Vineyards to run the business and sell the wine. Andy feels very lucky to share a vision for making timeless, evocative wines with intelligent, hard-working winegrowers who also happen to be his brother and sister-in-law.

All the Peay Vineyards wines available at Wine Watch

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2021 Peay Vineyards Estate Viognier, Sonoma Coast, USA
Price: $66.00     Sale $58.08
Peay Viognier does not often resemble typical French or American Viognier in style. This is due to our very cold location for growing this grape variety and our winemaking decisions aimed at capturing our site’s unadorned expression in the bottle. As a result, the wine has a singular nervy, mineral character with high acid and balanced alcohol; in other words, the opposite of the typical Viognier.
Is it too low-brow to shout “yippie!” when describing a wine? That is what I said as I tasted this in my kitchen and again a week later with a critic. The 2021 is quintessential Peay Viognier, expressing Kaffir lime, lemongrass, madras curry, unripe white peach, and ginger notes. There are fewer herbal notes than in cold years yet it has not tipped into typical bold Viognier aromas of lychee, peach, et al. There is a silky texture in the mid-palate brought into tautness with very bright and refreshing acidity on the finish. This is an elegant wine, finesse-driven, and really, really delicious.  225 Cases

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2014 Peay Vineyards Estate Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, USA
Price: $84.00     Sale $73.92
(93 Points) A gorgeous and compelling wine, Peay’s 2014 Chardonnay Estate captures the phenolic intensity and power that is such a signature of this coastal Sonoma site. Apricot, peach, mint and white pepper all develop nicely in the glass, but it is the wine’s freshness, vibrancy and overall intensity that stand out most.  ANTONIO GALLONI - VINOUS

2020 Peay Vineyards Estate Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, USA
Price: $78.00     Sale $68.64
Though we select the barrels for the Estate Chardonnay first, the Sonoma Coast is not an after-thought, or even a lesser wine. Regional wines – what we refer to here as AVA wines – are usually composites from grapes grown at many sites within an AVA. That is the case for the Peay Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, too. Over 75% of the blend, however, comes from our Estate Vineyard and is farmed to the same exacting standards. The remaining quarter (just a few tons) comes from the Searby Vineyard in the southern portion of the West Sonoma Coast near Occidental. Searby is one of the most highly sought-after vineyards for vineyard-designate Chardonnay in Sonoma County. As it is a touch warmer in Occidental, that portion of the blend offers a little more richness and silkiness while the structure and fruit profile of the Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is very much one of a Peay Estate Chardonnay and has a similar intensity and complexity.

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2017 Peay Vineyards Estate Scallop Shelf Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, USA
Price: $108.00   Sale $95.04
(95 Points) The 2017 Pinot Noir Estate Scallop Shelf is distinguished by its bright, focused personality and energy. As it often is, the Scallop Shelf is a wine of reserve and tension, showing plenty of savory and mineral character and less overt fruit than some of the other wines in the range. The 2017 is likely to require at least a few years to come into its own, but it is super-impressive.  ANTONIO GALLONI – VINOUS

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2017 Peay Vineyards Ama Estate Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, USA
Price: $ 66.00    Sale $58.08
(95 Points) A brilliant wine, Peay’s 2017 Pinot Noir Estate Ama offers an explosion of sweet red/purplish berry fruit, floral notes and spice, all with a hint of blood orange-infused acidity that gives the wine vibrancy. The 2017 Ama is wonderfully bold and luscious, and yet remains light on its feet. A striking wine from Peay. ANTONIO GALLONI – VINOUS


Price: $76.50     Sale $67.32
(94 points) “Medium ruby, the 2019 Pinot Noir Savoy Vineyard offers plush black berry fruits on the nose with notes of fir, forest floor and black tea leaves. Medium-bodied, the palate is silky and seamlessly fresh, offering a flush of earth-laced fruits and lingering spices on the finish. 340 cases were made. (EB) “ (2/2021) Wine Advocate

Price: $64.50     Your Price: $51.60          Quantity in Stock: 4
This is a classic Peay Savoy Pinot noir, really capturing the friendliness and grace of wines made from this vineyard. The nose features Bing and red cherry fruit aromas accented by smoky, velvety notes. A little bit of a Luxardo maraschino cherry smell sits deeper in the glass. On the palate a hint of sarsaparilla and clove combine with the aromas from the nose and linger on a long finish.

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2019 Peay Vineyards Estate La Bruma Vineyard Estate Syrah, Sonoma Coast, USA
Price: $90.00     Sale $79.20
(94 points) “ Medium ruby, the 2019 Pinot Noir Savoy Vineyard offers plush black berry fruits on the nose with notes of fir, forest floor and black tea leaves. Medium-bodied, the palate is silky and seamlessly fresh, offering a flush of earth-laced fruits and lingering spices on the finish. 340 cases were made. (EB) “ (2/2021)  Wine Advocate


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