Faces of Woodside

On a recent visit to Kings Mountain Vineyards in Woodside we saw the vines in their full leafy glory, stretching both to the sky and across rows to make contact with each other.

The latter is intentional explained Kristi Bowers (picture right), the vineyard’s Director of Sales and Marketing. “We have one acre on quadrants. Each vine grows and stretches towards another vine. That way we yield more than we could on just one acre, although it doesn’t quite double our production.”

The vines were planted in 1992, so this marks their 25th year. The first wine was produced in 1994. “Although we didn’t start selling it in earnest until 2007,” Kristi said. “It was a hobby vineyard.”

The vineyard’s land has been a private estate since the 1800s. An earlier owner, George Whittell, was eccentric to say least. Explained Kristi: “Born into San Francisco wealthy family, he was a philander playboy. He joined the circus, went off to Africa, came back and housed a lion on the property which he’d take into town.”

The lion cages remain. Today they serve as a restroom and a storage room for golf equipment in the interior cages. The exterior cages remain the same as they were when they had lions in them.

Also remaining is a tunnel that leads to the theater building that’s pictured on the Kings Mountain Pinot Noir label. Whether it was ever used to get alcohol onto the property for Whittell’s wild parties during Prohibition is uncertain.

All Kings Mountain Vineyards‘ wines are produced in the French style. The original wines were Chardonnay, Pinto Noir and a Meritage that was last made in 2008.

While there is no tasting room open to the public at the vineyard, Kristi sad there are opportunities to visit.

“The Wine Club includes a once a year shipment of six bottles of our current release two Pinot Noirs — three Clone 13 and three Bacchus — as well as an invitation to the vineyard for a release party, which this year will be on November 3. All subsequent purchases are 15% off, and the vineyard event is free to members.

“The Great Estate Tasting, featuring current and library vintages of estate grown Pinots ($65/bottle) and Meritage blends ($60), is $100/person. All tastings are held in the Barn or near the vineyard — weather permitting — and accompanied by cheese and charcuterie, as well as plenty of historical tidbits. People who are interested can email me: [email protected]

“Our goal is to produce high quality wines that people can enjoy and remember. The joy of operating a winery is that wine brings people together. The event is successful when people come for the wine but go away thinking they’ve had great conversations!”

King Mountain library wines are available online and current releases can be found at Robert’s Market.

Photos by Irene Searles (c) 2019

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