Porthos | The Wine Insiders
Peacock Family Vineyard

What makes Peacock Family Vineyard one of the world’s most unusual Cabernet Sauvignons? It begins with the spectacular steep rolling knoll where the vineyards perch. What makes hillside or mountain wine so different? “It’s because we have smaller berries,” explains winemaker Craig Becker. “We have to get the tannins soft and fleshy before we pick. By waiting for tannin development, we can extract all the potential of the grape during fermentation without having to worry about excessive tannins,” he adds. “Anyone can make a concentrated and extracted wine, but for depth of flavor, balance and the right elegant tannic structure, you need mountain grapes. There are many viticultural explanations, but it may come down to that the vine is constantly in a struggling state.”

“We are a young winery with lots of potential,” adds proprietor Chris Peacock. “We have a compelling narrative---a mountain Cabernet with a great deal of character, sumptuous, elegant, powerful, intense. Our goal is to make the best damn wine we can---and we can’t even make that much,” he continues. Factor in as well the breathtaking beauty and complexity of Spring Mountain as a growing region, where vineyards face every point of the compass, unlike in other appellations, where they primarily face one direction.


Proprietors Chris and Betsy Peacock established their home around this vineyard in 1991. They bring an unusual mix of expertise---theology, philanthropy, traveling, the fine arts---to the project of creating a world-class Cabernet Sauvignon from their spectacularly beautiful vineyard on Spring Mountain in the Napa Valley. “I’ve done a lot of different things in my life,” he says, “and I’ve always been driven by my love of nature and the outdoors.

One theme of my life has been finding places in this world with what I call a ‘spiritual grid,’ where spirituality is more intense, and the Napa Valley is one of those. “I wanted to ‘go back to the land’
and felt I could combine that longing with the world of fine wine, another passion of mine.”

Winemaker/General Manager Craig Becker began his career at Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville;
in 1997 he began making wine at Spring Mountain Winery and left there in 2003 to become a
consulting winemaker. Today he is both winemaker and general manager at Peacock: “My goal
as a winemaker is to produce exceptional varietal wines which reflect the uniqueness of the
vineyard and the microclimate,” he explains. His other projects include Armstrong Ranch on
Diamond Mountain, Kelleher Family Vineyards in Oakville, Coniglio in St. Helena, Borra Winery
in Lodi and his own brand, Michael Austin.