SWITCHBACK RIDGE WINES
In 1914, Eliza and Mads Peterson purchased a 100-acre property located on the floor of the Napa Valley at the mouth of Dutch Henry Canyon. The property, located just off the Silverado Trail between St. Helena and Calistoga, hosted a small Zinfandel vineyard. With the onset of Prohibition in 1920, prunes quickly became the cash crop in Napa Valley, and the Petersons planted a plum orchard to help provide for their large family.
Slowly the plum orchards transitioned to vineyards, and by the 1990s grape vines were thriving on the property that once hosted plums. The soils, with plenty of drainage and a warm, sunny climate, made the area perfect for growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah. There are currently 21 acres under vine, which includes a sixty-plus year old block of dry farmed Petite Sirah that John Peterson helped plant as a young child.
The inspiration to embark upon a family wine project first came to Kelly in 1995 with the death of her great aunt, Carrie. Auntie, as she was affectionately called, emphatically insisted that her old vine block of Petite Sirah, or "Pets" as she called them, "not be touched" when the property was replanted in 1990. That dream became a reality in 1999, with the help of family friend and winemaker Bob Foley, when Switchback Ridge produced its first vintage.
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