Peter Michael, a leading Sonoma County winery, is expanding into Napa. The Knights Valley producer has purchased the Showket Oakville Vineyard, a 41-acre property including a residence and 26 acres of vineyards. The purchase price was not disclosed.
"I think Peter Michael is now complete," said winemaker Nick Morlet. Peter Michael was founded in 1982 by Sir Peter and Lady Maggie Michael and is best known for its flagship Bordeaux-style Les Pavots, from their estate property in Knights Valley in eastern Sonoma. They also make single-vineyard and estate-grown bottlings of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.
Kal and Dorothy Showket purchased the Oakville property in 1988, planting Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Sangiovese. For years the Showkets sold grapes to several producers, including Caymus, Dalla Valle and Shafer. When the Showkets decided to make their own wine, they enlisted winemaker Heidi Peterson Barrett. Newcomer Russell Bevan took over with the 2006 vintage. Recently the wines have been on an upswing, with their 2007 Cabernet scoring 92 points.
The Showket brand and name were not included in the sale, just the property. Morlet said the vineyard—and the wine they plan to make from it—is a perfect complement to the other wines in the Peter Michael portfolio, including Les Pavots. "It's like Mozart and Beethoven," said Morlet. "You can't say which style will be better; both will be excellent. I think, however, it's safe to say that the Mozart in this case will be Les Pavots and the Beethoven will be from Oakville."
Peter Michael will take control of the vineyard beginning with the 2010 vintage, and the first wine will be released in 2013. For the last few years, the Showkets had been selling grapes to Bevan for his namesake label, Bevan Cellars, but the new ownership does not plan to sell grapes. Bevan is disappointed he will lose this vineyard source, but was able to purchase 35 tons of Showket grapes in 2009 (up from 8 tons in 2008). "I've contacted neighboring vineyards to keep the Bevan label going, but I'll never be able to replace Showket Vineyard," said Bevan.