Travel with me on the Graton Road, in Green Valley of Russian River Valley. We’re heading toward the Forest Primeval. And, we’re feeling pretty much the way Yegor Chernykh must have felt, in 1836.
Who was Yegor, you ask? An excellent question…
Yegor was a Russian Agronomist, sent from his homeland to the new world. He was tasked with looking for the perfect place to establish a farm. Once there, his next focus was to cultivate food supplies for Alaskan fur trappers and settlements. Many of the Russians had migrated down the Pacific Coastline, always looking for sea otters. Fruits and vegetables weren’t indigenous yet, and Yegor was eager to find the “perfect spot” to begin gardening.
SIDEBAR: This, my friends, is how Russian River Valley got its name… It was Yegor Chernykh who established the first vineyard and cultivated glens in what’s now called the Green Valley of Russian River Valley.
[The following images have been taken by world class photographer Jerry Dodrill. Only the bottle shot above is mine.]
Now, travel with me along Stoetz Lane, continuing through Green Valley. We’re still heading toward the Square Peg Estate Dry Farmed Vineyard and tasting room/art gallery. And, we’re feeling pretty much the way Yegor Chernykh must have felt, in 1836. But this time, we’ve seen the glens and we’re ascending into the adjacent Redwood Forest. We’re climbing ever higher, with each breath.
Yegor was clearly on to something, as the handful of vineyards located in this micro-section of Green Valley has become a ground zero, of sorts, for some of the most highly sought after Pinot Noir grapes in the world.
Who is Square Peg Winery, you ask? Another excellent question…
First of all… The wines for this winery are Estate grown and dry farmed, and they’re world class… Next?
It’s Brad Alper, wife Alanna Roth, and son Alex Alper’s mountainside ridge winery… They took the road less traveled, and settled to an elevation of 800 feet, on Stoetz Lane… Only eight miles from the Pacific Ocean, you feel those cool Pacific breezes filtering in. And, it’s so peaceful, that they offer their utopia to anyone who wants an adventure, a one-on-one experience with the family.
The name “Square Peg” came to painter and sculptress Alanna, when she and Brad were brainstorming on what to call their new venture. They wanted something easily remembered and vibrant. Square Peg came up, because it’s easily relatable. Who among us hasn’t felt like a square peg at some point, right?
SIDEBAR: This, my friends, is how dry farmed Square Peg Winery got its name.
The greatest asset that Square Peg Winery possesses is that it’s a micro experience, a one-on-one in their tasting room and art gallery. It has a maximum of only 25 people per day, with most parties being the only ones there, at their time of visit. Meeting with the owners gives anyone great stories and memories. Sharing the room with incredible art smooths out the experience. While Brad has said that it’s not all about the wine at Square Peg, a quick Google search on William Knuttel, Square Peg’s celebrated winemaker, tells you that they in fact began their journey with the wine, so that any visit is seamlessly wonderful.
Brad Alper (former commercial, international pilot), his wife Alanna Roth (artist, including glass and sculpting), and their son Alex Alper (working on his Master’s Degree) have a gorgeous location on a ridge side location. I thought I’d share their tasting room/art gallery with you, in the event you could use a breath of fresh air today. This is a very special location. Brad has told me so many times, the letters he gets from people who have visited with him… yeah, he’s going to be the one to tell everyone about their passion as a small vintner family… are simply glowing. With only a capacity of 25 people, and their location being a “destination” ~ not a winery along a wine road with other wine neighbors ~ most people have the place to themselves. They walk away in awe, as I did the first time we went to his tasting room. Check them out…
Imagine yourself with your friends and the family in this setting, tasting delicious wines crafted by winemaker guru William “Bill” Knuttel.