Over 20 years ago we started making wine in Texas. Making good wine in an 85 degree room (yes, the air conditioner was on) isn’t easy. Even though the conditions weren’t optimum for wine making, we managed to pull off some great wine. We bottled under the Ironstone Winery label.

An opportunity to move to Seattle was met with smiles after the blistering Texas heat. There we began making wine from grapes obtained from Eastern Washington. We stepped up the wine making operation from a small closet to a cellar dug into the hill below our home (yes, we replaced the supports to the house with two 400-lb beams just to make this room). The temperature and the grapes were much improved. During our stay in the always green city of Seattle, we made several trips to Buhl Idaho to visit our friend Terry White. One such occasion we helped him plant an acre of Chardonnay grapes which started us thinking about a vineyard of our own.

We’d have to wait since we couldn’t grow anything around our property that wasn’t snail and slug proof… We began producing some very good reds and finally some whites to be proud of. We entered and won 3rd place for our Semillon in 1998. We bottled under the Cougar Mountain Winery label.

Finally we moved to Fallbrook California. One of the conditions of the house we were searching for was that it had to have at least an acre that could be planted with a vineyard (or have an existing vineyard if lucky enough). Seven years in the home and we have planted 1000 vines. Along the Italian theme of the Sangiovese and Montepulciano we have planted Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and table grapes (for eating). In order to grow the best grapes we can and make the best wine we can, we joined the San Diego Amateur Winemaking Society (www.SDAWS.org). We were active members and enjoyed the many educational and networking possibilities that the society offers. In 2003 we won a Gold in the Orange County Fair for our Sauvignon Blanc. We now bottle under the Cougar Vineyard & Winery label.

In 2005 we purchased the winery property in Temecula and planted Sangiovese, Aglianico, Montepulciano, and Vermentino since then we’ve added Falanghina, Coda di Volpe, Canaiolo Nero, Ciliegiolo, Prosecco now known as Glera since 2009 and Piedirosso. Next door, the property known as “La Vigna a Destra” we’ve planted Primitivo, Arneis, Malvasia Bianca, Pinot Grigio, Sagrantino, Nero d’ Avola, Piedirosso  and Lambrusca di Alessandria. We opened our doors for Temecula Wine Tasting to the public after crush in 2006. So there you have it. We are making estate wines from our vineyards for the most part and also purchase a few grapes we don’t grow.

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