“I Make Wines that Drink Well” – Gregory Graham Winery
May 7, 2021
Greg Graham, owner and winemaker of Gregory Graham Winery, stands at the edge of the patio, looking across his vineyard. A steady breeze blows across the vines.
Don’t mind the wine totes,” he says, gesturing to the blue, tan and grey bins stacked three high. “We use them as a windbreak. We’ve been open for people to come in and pick up some wine, but since COVID, more people have been coming and wanting to stay longer. So we put up some picnic tables and made a space for them.” And it’s effective; it’s dead calm on the patio.
“We came up on a lark in 2000,” he adds. “I had worked in Napa and wanted to do my own thing. Lake County gives people an opportunity to do that.”
Greg looks up the hill to his house on a rise above the vineyard and down towards Clear Lake, then focuses on his vines. “We’ve got twenty-seven acres of Grenache, Syrah, Petit Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel.
“I call myself a winegrower. I’m my own vineyard manager, and at the end point, I’m a winemaker. It’s not about getting tonnage. It’s about growing high-quality fruit. Grapes don’t ripen at the same time. I pick them over three weeks to ensure they are picked at the peak.”
And it shows in his wines. Every bottle at Gregory Graham is distinct, unique, and thoughtfully created. “I would put my grapes and wines against anyone,” he says. “I put my thumbprint on the wines.”
Take his 2014 Cinder Cone Reserve, for example, a blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Grenache. It’s a beautiful thing. With each taste, the flavors linger long on the palate.
“I love this blend,” he says. “The Syrah brings in the plum, the herbalness comes from the Cab, the spice from the Malbec, and the Grenache brings the fruit.”
Or the 2014 Magma Red, which he calls an upside-down Bordeaux because the percentages are nearly the opposite of the traditional Cabernet Sauvignon-forward Bordeaux. “I’m free to blend my wines in the way I think is best,” he says. “And I’m not bound by rules like they are in France.”
Both are high-quality and unique. “I make wines that drink well,” Greg says. “People get caught up in doing different things with it, but wine comes from grapes. It’s a fruit. You should taste the fruit in it.”
Gregory Graham Winery is the kind of place where you go to see the creation of wine from vine to bottle. It’s just Greg and his wife Marianne running the place, and the tasting room doubles as an office, wine cellar, and storage. But that’s part of what makes it unique. It’s somewhere you can meet the winemaker and drink wine from vineyards ten feet away.
Plus, there’s the added bonus that the wine’s incredible, thoughtful, and eminently drinkable.
“Good wine should be affordable,” Greg says. “Something that can be part of your everyday routine. It’s a traditional beverage, one that’s so social and good to share. To work hard all day long—this wine is your reward.”
13633 Point Lakeview Rd, Lower Lake, CA 95457
Hours: 11 AM to 5 PM Friday through Sunday
Tastings by appointment only.