Wines and Vineyards

Bill Peterson, who’s lived in the same house in Atherton for 60 years, is a celebrity of sorts. It has nothing to do with his 30 years of service with the Menlo Park Fire Protection District. Instead, it has to do with the day he broke the law.

“I’d had trouble finding a red wine that I liked to drink with spaghetti, so one day I went searching for equipment and grapes and found myself on the Ridge Vineyards driveway,” he explained. “Technically, I was trespassing, and there’s even a short documentary called The Trespasser that you can view on You Tube.”

His wanderings at Ridge led to meeting winemaker Dave Bennion and acquiring his first piece of winemaking equipment, which, thanks to his talents as both a machinist and a magician, he was able to restore.

Jump ahead to today, and Bill makes over 50 cases of Zinfandel a year from wine making equipment spread out in various parts of his home. He buys his grapes — about a ton a year — from Benito Dusi, who was based in Paso Robes until his recent death.

“My goal is to create a clean, polished wine,” Bill said.

He distributes the Zin through a wine club, which grows through word-of-mouth. “I’m the man with the facility, and my club members are the recipients of my labor,” he said. “My dues are zero — they basically reimburse me for my expenses. My club is as friendly as it can be!”

Photos by Linda Hubbard (c) 2019


Lucy Neely on the intersection of land stewardship and the wine business

Of the 230 acres owned by the Neely family, which extend from the Portola Valley floor up 1,700 feet to just below Windy Hill, only 7% is planted in grapes. That’s just fine with Lucy Neely who heads marketing for Neely Wine. “Since I moved back and got involved with the winery, I’ve thought a lot […]

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Kings Mountain Vineyards produces great tasting wines cultivated on Woodside estate

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 […]

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Preview of summer to come in downtown Menlo Park this weekend

There was something to look at in almost every direction in downtown Menlo Park this weekend — and many hinted at summer fun to come. The 1938 Packard (top) parked on Santa Cruz Avenue across from Left Bank this morning was, not surprisingly, stopping people in their tracks. The late spring sun gave it an […]

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Taste of the Mountains Wine Walk set for June 1 in downtown Menlo Park

The Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association and Station 1300, a Greenheart Land Company project, present Taste of the Mountains Wine Walk on Saturday, June 1 in Downtown Menlo Park. All ticket proceeds from the event will benefit the Menlo Park Atherton Education Foundation (MPAEF). Enjoy wines from small, local boutique wineries of the Santa Cruz […]

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Downtown Menlo Park wine walk to feature 13 Santa Cruz mountain wineries

On Saturday, December 1, from 1:00–4:30 p.m., the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association presents the Taste of the Mountains Wine Walk in downtown Menlo Park. Enjoy wines from 13 local  wineries of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Check in at Fremont Park to receive a wristband, map and special event wineglass. Participants are welcome to purchase […]

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Spotted: Witch selling potions of a fine wine kind

Sometimes grocery shopping brings a fun surprise. That was true today at the Safeway on El Camino in Menlo Park when we encountered Portola Vineyards Director of Sales Katherine Matlock Evans dressed up as a very pretty witch. She told us she’s at the store about once a month. Note: Portola Vineyards is one of […]

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Madera wins Wine Spectator Award under the stewardship of Paul Mekis

“The cellar has grown a bit,” Madera restaurant director of wine Paul Mekis told us when we caught up with him recently after first profiling him in 2014. The reason for our return visit: Madera, located in the Rosewood Sand Hill hotel in Menlo Park, received the Grand Award from Wine Spectator this year, one […]

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Good wine, good food, good vibe at Taste of Woodside

The Rotary Club of Woodside Portola Valley hosted Taste of Woodside last Sunday evening with proceeds benefiting the Club’s many school, community and international projects. Held on the grounds of the Woodside Village Church, the event featured wine tasting, music by the Peninsula Scottish Fiddlers (below) and a dinner catered by Chantal. The neighborhood kids proved […]

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Spotted: Legendary jazz pianist Larry Vuckovich at Portola Vineyards

One of the gifts that Portola Vineyards vintner Len Lehmann gives back to the community each year is a summer series of jazz concerts. There are still tickets available for the last one featuring Charged Particles on August 19. Sunday night featured legendary jazz pianist Larry Vuckovich, who peppered the two sets with memories of the […]

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5th Annual Taste of the Mountains Wine Walk set for June 2

Santa Cruz wine will be flowing at the 5th Annual Taste of the Mountains Wine Walk on Saturday, June 2 in downtown Menlo Park from 2:00 to 5:30 pm with proceeds benefiting the Menlo Park Atherton Education Foundation (MPAEF). Advance tickets are available online via the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association for $49. Tickets can be purchased […]

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