Indeed, says P.W. Scoggins, the Petaluma Gap is “one of the last best places that someone can make a start” as a winemaker.
Scoggins Winery, along with neighboring Sonoma Aperitif, have both taken up residence in the old Denman Creamery Building on Goodwin Avenue. Sonoma Aperitif was founded recently by Laura Hagar Rush, a former wine-industry reporter.
“Tired of just writing about great local wines, I decided to try my hand at creating some,” she says on her website.
Though the two are very different as winemakers, both share a similar vision: producing local wines within a lesser-known, but increasingly popular, slice of Wine Country.
Scoggins says he recognized his passion for food and wine early on. After college, he worked the harvest in Napa and Sonoma while also attending culinary school at City College of San Francisco. He continued his wine education by traveling to Australia to work in the vineyards.
Then, after looking around at various locations, he decided to try to make his mark in southern Sonoma County.
Scoggins says he is proud of the fact that he uses land and vines that have long been used for grape-growing, meaning he didn’t have to rip out any old crops. He leases various small acreages with existing vines, and uses no chemicals on his grapes or in the bottling process.
Because of the cooler temperatures in the Petaluma Gap, Scoggins says he can let the fruit hang longer on the vine. He believes that the real flavor of the grape comes out later in the season.
“Wine doesn’t come with excuses,” Scoggins says, by which he means: When it’s poured, it must stand on its own. He currently is bottling pinot noir, zinfandel and a lighter rose for the summer, with bottles priced at $15 to $30.