Two couples join to realize dream of opening winery
“It is one thing to stay married during a home building, it’s another to remain friends with your builder … but I believe there are very few occasions when the parties involved go into business together and continue to help each other realize their dreams.” That is the story that I heard from LWW residents Lynn and Jacque Wilson and their contractor and now business partners, Len and Nancy Stevens.
The four owners have co-created Pilot Peak Winery in Penn Valley. This casual but elegant winery off of Spenceville Road is true to its Gold Country surroundings but with just a hint of Tuscany to polish off the edges. The enthusiasm of the four owners makes a visit to the winery a true destination including great people, a beautiful environment and great wine Ð all in all, a very inviting combination.
Jacque has fond memories of her honeymoon with Lynn when they spent 18 days with a van and two bikes visiting all the wineries of Sonoma. She never forgot what a wonderful time they had. Now fast forward to August of 2003. The two couples were looking to do some type of development together. Len and Nancy were the first to buy property and build a home on the 61-acre Spenceville Road parcel. As the four of them sat out one evening at Len and Nancy’s new home watching the moon rise over the hills, Jacque’s memories came to the surface and the idea for starting a winery on the property was born.
Len handled all the construction and the building permits and Jacque handled all the business permits. Nancy helps out as needed and Lynn is the winemaker. It is interesting that Lynn was raised on a farm in Pennsylvania, is an excellent cook and loves family-style entertaining. After a career in hi tech, Pilots Peak offered the perfect combination of technology, cooking and family-style friendships. All four are in love with the project and it is contagious. It is not uncommon to find a number of LWW residents dropping by to help out “just for the fun of it” including Don and Gary Beem, Natalie Corich, Patti Gatti, Don and Gail Fiel, Mike Sanders, Rita and Ted Schall, and Dottie Teague.
According to Jacque, they have held wine tasting seminars and dinners and the flow of visitors has not stopped. Jacque handles all finance, marketing and sales and stresses the importance of details in making this a true destination for visitors. When I was there, she was ordering cases of non-leaded crystal glasses for the tasting room just in time for their first release in late May. And she was like a new mother showing off her two labels: Pilot Peak for the tasting room and casually elegant restaurants, and the Peak-a-Boo label for the tasting room and in grocery stores.
Starting the weekend of June 10, the tasting room will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To experience the winery, take Indian Springs Road and turn west on Spenceville Road for .8 mile until you reach 12888 Spenceville Road.
Kathy Tuttle is another LWW resident who is actively involved in making the community a better place to live. She is currently chairing the Music in the Mountains 25th Anniversary Gala Dinner Dance on Friday, June 2, with the help of other LWW residents including Jacque Cowgill, Connie Ferrao, Charlotte Orren, Ed Robinson and Wayne Pittenger, who is also president of the MIM Board.
If you like Mozart and you have been looking for an excuse to dress up in 1700’s ballroom attire (and a wig if you wish), tickets are still available for the “Wildly Wolfgang” event. They will have a surprise local celebrity emcee, dancing to Rocky and the Revellettes and a live auction including a cottage in Wales and a villa in Provence. Black Tie is optional and you can call MIM at 265-6173 to receive an invitation.
Got a tip about someone or something in Lake Wildwood? Contact Shirl Mendonca at 432-3787 or firstname.lastname@example.org via e-mail.
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