Peter Haywood grew up in Chicago, earned a political science degree from Stanford University in 1958, served in the Marine Corps and following discharge started a construction and development company. Any history of Haywood Estate Wines begins with its vineyards, and his purchase in 1973 of 280 acres of rugged hillside just above the town of Sonoma. The next five years would be spent in clearing and planting 90 acres of grapes. Noting that early survey maps of the region identified much of the flora as “Chamizal,” meaning in Spanish “thickets of hardwood,” the name Los Chamizal Vineyards was chosen to represent the finished effort.
In 1980 Haywood purchased a small winery on lands adjacent to the vineyards, crushed his first grapes and began the process of producing wines under the eponymous Haywood label. Over the years the winery grew in size and different varietals were produced from sections of the vineyard that provided the best growing conditions for the particular grape. Soils ranging from well-drained sandy clay loams at the lower elevations to shallow, fractured, basalt soils at the highest elevations called for a number of varietal changes as did the effect of the sun coursing across the different facings of the hillsides. Today, after 40 years, Haywood has retired from the business of making wine. To his great satisfaction, he is focusing his energies on the care and nutrition of his wonderful grapes.
Known as one of California’s most highly regarded vineyards, Los Chamizal’s beautifully terraced vines are carved into steeply sloping hillsides reaching 800 feet in elevation.
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