“Mountain vineyards, classical winemaking, limited production: they are the definition of taste —and the effort and passion required to capture taste in its truest essence.”

On the back label of every Peter Michael wine are the words, “Mountain vineyards, classical winemaking, limited production.” In one sense, the phrase is simply descriptive of the working realities of the winery. The vineyards are indeed on a mountain, marching up the western flank of Mount Saint Helena, with some on slopes of up to forty-five degrees. In turn, great care is taken to adhere to the historic traditions of fine winemaking by picking and sorting the grapes by hand, fermenting with natural yeast, and aging in the finest French oak. In addition, the average vineyard yields are such that the wines have been allocated since the first release in 1987.

Winemaker, Robert Fiore, along with his team, taste each lot and barrel throughout the duration of the winemaking process. A profile is recorded for every vintage to incrementally understand and improve upon each vineyard lot and ultimately the final wines.

The principles are much more than descriptive. It is the passion and commitment behind Peter Michael Winery reduced to its essence. The words are not simply saying the way things are, but the way Sir Peter Michael and his winemaking team believe they have to be—to define a unique sense of place, a vineyard’s terroir, and to allow the distinctive flavor, character, and personality of that terroir to be truly expressed in the wine that is made there.

There is another way to look at the words, “Mountain vineyards, classical winemaking, limited production”: they are the definition of taste—and the effort and passion required to capture taste in its truest essence.

Mountain Vineyards

Distinct Terroir—Elevation, Aspects, Gradient, and Soils

Our wines feature the bright natural acidity produced by our cool-climate estate vineyard locations, situated among the mountain ranges at varying elevations. This delicate balance is never artificially adjusted.

Knights Valley Estate: 900–1,900 feet (275–580 meters)

Seaview Estate: 1,000–1,450 feet (305–442 meters)

Oakville Estate: 500–600 feet (152–183 meters)

Classical Winemaking

Classic Approach, Modern Technology

Under the direction of winemaker Robert Fiore, all Peter Michael wines are made using a noninterventionist, neoclassical approach, which relies on traditional, hands-on winemaking methods blended with the best of modern technology.

Drawing inspiration from the great domaines and châteaux of Burgundy and Bordeaux, the family hired like-minded viticulturists and winemakers to help them create terroir-driven wines that would stand the test of time.

Robert walks the steep slopes of Chardonnay vines leading up to harvest, when he will determine the optimum time to “call the pick” of each vineyard block.

Wherever possible, use of classical winemaking tools and an overall gentle, hands-on approach is still adhered to in the cellar.

Harvest of the three estates spans approximately two months, with teams traversing steep slopes to hand-harvest the fruit.

Limited Production

Knights Valley Estate, Sonoma County

750 acres (304 hectares) | 149 acres (60 hectares) planted

Oakville Estate, Napa Valley

41 acres (17 hectares) | 26 acres (11 hectares) planted

Seaview Estate, Sonoma Coast

400 acres (162 hectares) | 26 acres (11 hectares) planted

Natural Limitations

  • Climatic
  • Unpredictability of mountain vineyards