Get the Dirt about Piedra Creek Winery from winemaker TJ de Jony.

11 Sep

PiedraCreekTJ1. What was your first vintage year? 1984 – Piedra Creek Winery is one of the oldest wineries in the Edna Valley of San Luis Obispo.

2. How many cases do you make per vintage? Less than 500.

3. Do you have a Tasting Room? No but we do private tastings in the vineyard by appointment. Please contact us at 805.541.1281 or info@piedracreek.com.

4. How did you get your start in the winemaking business? My grandfather founded the winery in 1984 after retiring from a successful career in the aerospace industry, where he played a fundamental role in the Apollo missions, which were responsible for putting man on the moon. While working as a metallurgist for Rockwell International, he was also a well-known home wine maker prior to founding Piedra Creek Winery.

5. What wine made you want to become a winemaker/start your own winery? For my grandfather, I believe it was Zinfandel. My passion grew from Lagrein, an Alto Adige varietal that is indigenous to my grandfather’s home region in Italy.

PiedraCreekGrapes6. What varietals do you work with? Which varietal/wine is your favorite to make? We produce an Estate Pinot Noir and an Estate Lagrein. We source Zinfandel from the famous Benito Dusi vineyard in Paso Robles. My favorite wine to make is Lagrein because of its intense color, bouquet, and complex flavor profile.

7. What vineyards do you source from? Why? If estate, why did you choose the spot you’re in?

We source fruit from our three-acre Estate vineyard located in the Edna Valley of San Luis Obispo, and Benito Dusi vineyard in Paso Robles, the oldest Zinfandel vineyard in Paso Robles. We are one of only two commercial wineries to have access to Benito Dusi fruit.

We chose the Edna Valley for our Estate vineyard because of the cool climate and maritime soil influence which allow for slow ripening via one of the longest growing seasons in the state, bright acidity, and complex flavor profiles.

Benito Dusi vineyard, located in Paso Robles is ideal for Zinfandel due to the warmer climate with cool nights. Also, the vines are 100 years old, dry farmed, head pruned, and produce some of the best grapes in the state.

PiedreCreekRomeo8. What type of oak treatment do you use? We have a separate oak program for each of our wines.

Pinot Noir = 100% French oak, ~25% ~ 40% new depending on vintage. Aged for ~10 months

Lagrein = 100% French oak, 25% ~ 40% new depending on vintage. Aged for ~18 months

Zinfandel = American / French oak hybrid, 25% ~ 40% new depending on vintage. Aged for ~12 months

9. What do you love about your winemaking region? What makes it different special? The Edna Valley is unique because of the cool climate, long growing season, and maritime soil influence, which allow for slow ripening, bright acidity, and complex flavor profiles.

Benito Dusi vineyard, located in Paso Robles is ideal for Zinfandel due to the warmer climate with cool nights. Also, the vines are 100 years old, dry farmed, and head pruned, and produces of the best grapes in the state.

PiedraCreekLogo10. What’s the story behind your name/label? The label is a modified version of the village crest from my grandfather’s home village of Brez, Italy. A small village of ~500 people located in the Alto Adige / Trentino Alps of Northeastern Italy.

11. What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you about the wine business before you started your own winery? It takes a large fortune to make a small fortune in the wine industry.

12. Most importantly, what’s so great about being small? What can you do as a small winemaker, that wouldn’t be possible for larger wineries? From bud break to vinification, being small allows us to not only pay close attention to every detail, but also allows us to employ higher quality farming and wine making practices.

13. If you had to choose another wine region to work in what would it be? Tuscany, Italy

To learn more about Piedra Creek, please visit their website.

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