We’ve enjoyed drinking and collecting fine wines for many years, so we were thrilled to become the owners of 20 acres of vineyard property in Livermore Valley. Originally we planned to buy the property just for the beautiful Italianate villa, the sweeping views of the whole valley and the complete air of peace and tranquility we found there.
We assumed we would be content to continue having the grapes farmed by some of the regional wineries, but during the first growing season in our new home, we realized that the mature 14-acre Merlot vineyard surrounding it was capable of producing outstanding, even world-class fruit. Both of us have always had the philosophy that you start with a good thing and make it into the best possible. We thought the way to create the best from our vineyard would be to make wine ourselves and bottle it under our own name.
Our first vintage, in 2004, consisted of a whopping 64 cases of Merlot. It was deep, rich and complex, and it excited us enough to give us confidence to move forward with our project of establishing a bonded winery. We knew we would need a dedicated winemaker to bring out the best our vineyard has to offer.
Through a mutual friend, we were fortunate to find Mark Clarin, a Livermore Valley wine making veteran whose first love in wine, like ours, is red Bordeaux. Mark was looking for an opportunity to use his knowledge and experience to produce small-lot, hand-crafted wines to prove something he has always believed, that Livermore Valley is capable of producing Bordeaux varietal wines to rival the best from Napa and Sonoma.
The three of us came to a meeting of the minds almost immediately. It seemed like karma that we had found a set of conditions of time, place and people that clearly identified an irresistible opportunity to create a business that spoke to our hearts as well as to our heads. With additional harvests behind us now, we are confident that PICAZO Merlot is the great wine we believed it could be.