Petrified Forest Vineyards
Sonoma County region
A small family winery nestled in the picturesque Knights Valley of Sonoma County
The Petrified Forest Vineyards were established in 2009 by Ken and Susan Piters. Located just a stone’s throw from the renowned Petrified Forest in Sonoma, the vineyard resides in a pristine, barely-touched-by-time valley with a unique microclimate and terroir. Since the first vintage, Ken and Susan have made it their mission to create exceptional, ultra-premium wines from the Knights Valley by being uncompromising at all stages, from the vine to the bottle. Now over ten years later, Petrified Forest Vineyards’ production is still kept extremely limited to ensure the finest care and winemaking techniques are utilized for their award-winning wines.
Although Petrified Forest Vineyards may have had its first harvest in 2009, its roots stretch back to 1986. Arriving in the Napa Valley that year to assume a position in the medical field, Ken Piters was to begin his long love affair with the land, the vineyards, and the special feeling that is Knights Valley. Ken and Susan Piters moved to their 74-acre Knights Valley ranch in 1987, taking ownership of a property that had been part of the Booth Ranch - a summer retreat for a San Francisco family. Its old farmhouse and barn, both built in the later 1870’s, still remain.
The Knights Valley ranch included a three acre Sauvignon Blanc vineyard and Ken was soon out in the fields on his tractor. He and Susan took viticulture classes in order to better understand this new challenge that they had assumed, and in 1990, they planted an additional ten acres of hillside Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It wasn’t long before Ken was handcrafting a small amount of “house” wine and realized the incredible potential of these grapes.
When accolades for their homemade wines started coming in, the mission became very clear. The Knights Valley appellation was also finally achieving the reputation it deserved as one of the premier winegrowing regions in the state. It was with this in mind that the decision was made to not only grow some of California’s best grapes, but also to make some exceptional Knights Valley wines.
Ken and Susan decided to name their vineyard ‘Totem Ridge,’ which derives its name from the many totem poles that were found on the property near the original farmhouse and barn. Carved in the early 1900’s, the totem poles add both a touch of whimsy and history to this special site.
Winemaking for Petrified Forest Vineyards is overseen by Dan Fitzgerald, who is committed to making elegant, ageworthy wines that reflect the specific site, season and source of origin. His winemaking career includes time at Williams Selyem, Coldstream Hills (Australia), Robert Sinskey Vineyards, and Brack Mountain, of which he was the founding winemaker. We are very proud to present this wine to our Garagiste Wine Club members. Enjoy!