Get the Dirt about Ferguson Crest with Pat Ferguson

24 Feb

FergusonPeepsSet at the highest point in Solvang and overlooking the splendor of the Santa Ynez Valley, Ferguson Crest is a family-run boutique winery devoted to producing top-quality varietals. Founded by Pat Ferguson and his daughter Fergie in 2006, the 6 acre estate winery excels in capturing the essence of Santa Barbara County terroir and reveals the Ferguson family’s uncommonly tender care of its much-treasured grapes. With its dedication to tending its vineyards through organic, sustainability-minded practices that help preserve the richness of the land, Ferguson Crest offers up a premier selection of varietals sure to delight those with a passion for exquisitely handcrafted wines.

1. What was your first vintage year? 2010 was our 1st vintage of Syrah, Viognier and Cabernet Sauvignon.

2. How many cases do you make per vintage? Under 1000 cases per vintage.

3. Do you have a Tasting Room? Not yet!

4. If not you, who is your winemaker? Joey Tensley of Tensley Wines.

5. How did you get your start in the winemaking business? I have always loved agriculture and since moving to the Santa Ynez Valley where the agriculture was dominated by wine grapes, it was only natural that I get into the wine business.

fergusonvyd6. What wine made you want to become a winemaker/start your own winery? Syrah.

7. What varietals do you work with? Syrah, Viognier and Cabernet Sauvignon for our single varietals. Syrah, Grenache, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon for our red blend “Fergalicious.”

8. What vineyards do you source from? Why? If estate, why did you choose the spot you’re in? Our Syrah comes from our 6-acre Estate, Ferguson Crest Vineyard. We locally source grapes from Stag Canyon Vineyard, Camp 4 Vineyard and Colson Canyon Vineyard.

9. What type of oak treatment do you use? 10 to 12 months in 5 year old French oak.

10. What do you love about your winemaking region? What makes it different special? The uniqueness of Santa Barbara County as a growing region. We’re one of the only places in the world with a mountain range that runs east-west. That gives us a lot of different microclimates.

fergusonbottles11. What’s the story behind your name/label? I escaped the smog and frenzy of Los Angeles for the serenity of the Santa Ynez Valley. Making my home in Solvang, I turned my green thumb to the growing of Syrah (one of Santa Barbara County’s most prized grapes). At the urging of my daughter Stacy (aka Fergie, vocalist for Black Eyed Peas), I added Viognier and Cabernet Sauvignon to my vineyard. With my daughters joining in the picking and stomping of the grapes, as well as taking the helm on tasks like designing the winery’s family-crest-emblazoned label, I immersed myself in every element of the winemaking process to truly make Ferguson Crest a hands-on and lovingly tended family affair. If you were to take a look at the label you will see the family crest and you’ll find a boar’s head, an ancient symbol of hospitality. This was a way to honor our family’s heritage and carry on the tradition of warmth and generosity.

12. What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you about the wine business before you started your own winery? That there are overwelming amount of animals and pests that love to eat my grapes and leaves; squirrels, raccoons, deer you name it.

13. What do you love about small-lot winemaking? Anything you DON’T love about it? I love the personal hands on approach that I am able to have that I fear would get lost on a larger scale production.

14. Do you still have a day job? If so, do you mind sharing what it is? After retiring from more than three decades of work as a high school teacher and football coach, I now enjoy my free time by spending it with my family and in the vineyard.

For more information about Ferguson Crest, please visit their website or follow them on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.

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