Teague Vineyards

From the San Juan Star, February 2013, Volume 6, No. 2:

A Visit to Teague Vineyards

By John Hopper

Once again just when we thought we had tasted every San Benito County wine available, my wife and I sat down at Tres Pinos Inn with owner Mike Howard and wife Mary to discover yet another local wine – Teague Vineyards.

The story of Teaque vineyard owners Roger MacWillamson and wife Kathleen is a familiar one. The story of a successful entrepreneur and business person who was bold enough to shift his focus from the traditional trappings of sales, marketing and running his own business to find his passion making wine. What started as a hobby has literally grown into a successful limited production boutique winery.

Purchasing orchard land off of Fairview Road in San Benito County in 1974, MacWilliamson saw an opportunity to convert part of the existing pear and apricot trees over to vineyards. In 2001 he planted his first row of grapevines. Today seven acres are planted with grapes. MacWilliamson currently maintains an orchard of cherries as well.

The land in North San Benito County is adjacent to the Pacheco Creek. Roger explains that the creek has moved changing it’s course over years of time across his land. This has blessed Teague Vineyards with deep sandy, gravel and clay soil which combined with the micro climate of warm days and cold nights set the stage for award winning wines.

MacWilliamson had long been a home winemaker, having made his first wine with his newly planted grapes in 2003, but said he made his first “decent” wine in 2005 and 2006. In 2007 he began to market his wines commercially with the help of his wife Kathleen. Kathleen’s maiden name was Teague. MacWillamson remarked “that sounded better than my name on the label” but more importantly felt naming the winery after her would compel Kathleen to become an integral part of the new venture.

The modest seven acres of plantings have already produced award-winning wines, taking bronze and silver medals from such events as the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, US Professional Wine Buyers Competition, Orange County Fair and the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition.

Production at Teague is intentionally small as Roger has no immediate plans to grow. We are literally talking hundreds of cases of the hand crafted wines, not thousands of cases.

The current focus of Teague is on two fantastic wines. A Chardonnay and a Cabernet Sauvignon. Teague also produces Cab Franc, Petit Syrah, Merlot and French Gamay Noir which are used primarily for blending. If you can find a bottle of the Merlot stashed on a grocery shelf or at a local restaurant from a previous release, you will be in for a treat.

2010 – Chardonnay -California Central Coast
This wine is a Chardonnay lover’s dream. Warm days, cool nights and extended hang time make for a dry full-bodied wine. Around 14 months of aging in both French Oak and Stainless have produced a lovely nose and taste of honey, toasted nuts and vanilla.

2009 – Cabernet Sauvignon San Benito County
20 Months in American and French Oak. Taking Silver Medals at both the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition and Orange County Fair, this is an exciting wine. Here Teague has worked their magic with a wonderful blending profile. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Merlot give way to a big, bold wine with soft tannins that get smoother with every sip. This wine got better with an hour or so of air. Diana and I left it on the counter and after several hours the wine was incredible. Garnet colored it is beautiful in the glass. Stone fruit, Cherries, Vanilla and a bit of earthiness jump at you from this Bordeaux style blend.

For additional details: 831-636-7970 or info@teaguevineyards.com. Tasting is unfortunately not available at the vineyards, so please enjoy Teague wines at:
• Tres Pinos Inn
• Ridgemark
• San Juan Oaks
• Windmill Market

Well that’s it for this month folks.

If you have questions, suggestions for local wineries for us to write about or interested in private wine tours: jhopper@sanjuanstar.net

Legal Stuff: This reporter and the San Juan Star remind all of you that this column is intended for responsible adults of legal drinking age, so please drink responsibly.