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Jim and Leslie Ward became interested in winegrowing through a friend who owned a winery, but they were also challenged with the maintenance of a 3-acre hillside where grass and weeds presented a fire hazard in the dry summer months. To solve the problem and fuel their interest in wine, they planted 1,500 Pinot Noir vines in 1999 and had their first wine produced in 2002. They chose Pinot Noir grapes, because they feel Lafayette’s climate with its cool evenings and hot, but not sweltering, days provides a good environment for this variety. Being the President of a construction company can be stressful and Jim finds the 15 to 20 hours a week spent pruning and training the vines both calming and pacifying. Leslie Ward is now serving her 2nd term as President of Lamorinda Wine Growers Association and the “Lamorinda” Appellation, following 3 years of effort by the LWGA the status is still pending. Each year the harvest is and brothers, sisters, children, grandchildren and the Vineyard Management Team handpick the grapes in mid-September. Once all the grapes have been picked, they are shipped to Owl Ridge in Sebastopol, CA where they are crushed by Winemaker Alison Schneider.

Sausal  Christmas 17-02