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Square Peg Winery

Russian River Valley AVA


A promising newcomer dedicated to crafting terroir-driven, Burgundian-style wines

Square Peg Winery is a small, family-owned business dedicated to producing high quality, dry-farmed Pinot Noir in the heart of Sonoma County's Russian River Valley. The brand was founded in 2013 by winegrower/winery owner Brad Alper, who, along with his wife Alanna, son Alex, and winemaker William Knuttel, strives to create a range of expressive, terroir-driven Pinots from his estate SP-SL (Square Peg - Stoetz Lane) Vineyard on his home property.

Prior to finding his way into the winery business, Brad Alper was living in Los Angeles and working as a pilot for American Airlines. In 1987, he and his wife moved to the Russian River Valley to escape the city life. Brad continued flying, but his passion for wine was starting to grow.

In 1994, Brad planted his first vines and by 1999, opened his first winery (Ottimino Estate Vineyards) with an exclusive focus on high-end, dry-farmed Zinfandels. The fruit was all sourced from his estate vineyard surrounding the family's home property in the Russian River Valley. Ottimino was doing quite well and by 2010, Brad was ready for his next challenge. He was inspired to try dry farming Pinot Noir, and grafted a small section of his vineyard to clones 828 and Calera. He was quite happy with the results and thus was the beginning of Brad's second winery, Square Peg Winery. This brand would focus exclusively on dry-farmed Pinot Noir from the estate vineyard he named SPSL (after its location on Stoetz Lane).

With now two wineries under his control, it became incredibly difficult also juggling a demanding flight schedule with frequent trips to London and Asia. In 2012, after twenty-eight years as an American Airlines pilot, Brad decided to retire early, throw caution to the wind, and put all of his focus on the winery business.

Brad has had great success with his boutique wineries, and firmly believes that dry-farming has set them apart from the neighbors. Dry-farming, by the way, means the vines only receive water through rain captured by the soil and no irrigation is used whatsoever. Many believe that dry farmed fruit has better balance and more concentrated, unique flavors that better express the site's terroir. Furthermore, it is better for the environment, saving millions of gallons of water over the lifetime of the vines. Dry-farming requires quite a bit of additional labor to manage each vine's unique canopy, but the results can be more than worth the effort. Brad has garnered substantial press and awards for his wines, so he must be doing something right!

We are pleased to offer this award-winning Square Peg wine to our Pinot Noir Wine Club members. Enjoy!

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William Knuttel - Winemaker

Picture of William Knuttel - Winemaker

Long time California winemaker William Knuttel has concentrated on ultra-premium winemaking for the majority of his career. He believes in using traditional winemaking practices which lead to balanced, elegant wines that pair well with foods and have excellent aging potential - the hallmarks of classic wine. William's winemaking journey began at Saintsbury, where he established that brand as an international leader in high-end Pinot Noir and Chardonnay made in the Burgundian style. He was also Vice President and Winemaker at Chalk Hill Winery, Executive Winemaker at Dry Creek Vineyard, and President of the California Cabernet Society. He currently crafts wines for Square Peg, Ottimino, and his own brand, William Knuttel, from his winery in Sonoma.