As we tasted Gary and Marlene shared their improbable story with us. Gary comes from a manufacturing background and Marlene was in high tech. They fell in love with the property when they first saw it in 2000. It was a vacant lot, nothing but dirt. They lived in the barn for three and a half years while they were building their home. I had to ask the question. What possessed them to plant Pinot Noir? “Nobody was growing it out here. We just had a belief it would work.” They planted Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon, but neither varietal did well. Today they grow Pinot Noir, Albariño, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Gris and Viognier. They sold their fruit the first few years. They were under contract with Peter Poole who has a long history in Temecula wine. When they decided to make wine, Gary would take beakers to every winemaker he knew and say “taste this.” Mike Tingley, who has been making wine in this valley for more than 30 years was extremely helpful. When he learned they had made wine in contaminated barrels, he told them to filter it through pantyhose. It worked.