Richard Grant Peterson
My first winemaking experience was just east of Des Moines, not half a mile from where my sister now lives. There, I made table wine from Concord grapes that my parents had grown for jelly. It was October 1948, I had graduated from East High School and was a freshman at Iowa State College (now University). I thought it was the best wine anyone in the world had ever made, completely ignoring the fact that one of my less-than-superb bottles exploded in the back seat of my 1937 Ford. The rest of the wine went downhill too, but I had the best smelling car in Iowa for four more years. After the Korean War (and USMC) I went back to grad school at UC Berkeley; completing my MS & PhD.
After graduation for the last time, my first real wine job was doing research at Gallo, making new products, improving existing wines and coming up with a few new processes. Ten years later, I left Gallo in 1968 to become Winemaster at Beaulieu Vineyard, a position truly at the opposite end of the scale from my earliest wine efforts in 1948. In addition to high quality table wines at Beaulieu, I produced sacramental wines which were used by many churches in the Christian Sacrament of Communion.
Later I would become Winemaker and Chairman of The Monterey Vineyard, Atlas Peak Vineyard and finally, of Folie a Deux Winery, heading a group of investors who owned the latter until 2005. Now retired, I continue to consult for other high quality wine producers and have served as an expert witness in court cases involving wines and wine packaging problems. I also continue in the wine business on a smaller scale, producing and bottling a unique sparkling wine made from an antique clone of Pinot Noir which traces its ancestry back to the Romans in England. The brand name is Richard Grant, my first and middle names. I am thrilled to return to my home state as a wine judge in my fiftieth year as a professional winemaker.
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