Founded in 1989 as Ledgewood Vineyard a bare 100 vines were planted at our home property at Mankas Corner in Suisun Valley. Merlot was the single variety, it seemed to make good sense well before the movie Sideways (and we never planted Pinot Noir). Grapes were sold and a little non commercial wine produced. Vines were added over the years to create a one acre block.
Expansion got started in full in 1995 with the planting of the Gitsham block, a hillside 3.5 acre site well suited to Zinfandel. This was followed in 1997 with the planting of the McMullin block, a 4 acre site on Suisun Valley Road at Ledgewood Road. Syrah was coming on at this time so most was such, with a half acre of Petite Sirah. Then in 1998 a call from over in Pleasants Valley seeking help lead to a long term management of Shale Peak Vineyard, a small 2 acre block but offering incredible Sangiovese, with some Cabernet Sauvignon and Barbera. Followed in 2000 with a small quarter acre Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard was developed for friends in the southeast Napa mountains at 2,000 feet. This ultimately became the source of the Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.
The next expansion came in 2002, taking management and full responsibility for the 9.5 acre Gianno block, mid valley Suisun Valley, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Vineyard scope was set and fine tuning varietal placements have lead to grafting over at McMullin of Albarino, Grenache Blanc and a little more Petite Sirah, all reducing the Syrah planted earlier.
Recently an intriguing white project has been undertaken at the home block with grafting old historical CA white grapes Trousseau Gris (think Grey Riesling), Green Hungarian, Chenin Blanc and Vermentino on 25 year old Merlot vines. The objective is a rework of the historical CA jug white Chablis wines into a fresh new approach.
In 2004 the first commercial wine was crushed and released in 2007.under the Shale Peak Vineyards label, known as Toscano di Solano. The namesake King Andrews Vineyards label (our married name and wife’s maiden name) graced our first Syrah bottling in 2005, then expanding to Cabernet Sauvignon in 2007. Albarino in 2008 Since then Zinfandel, Gamay Noir, Zinfandel and Muscat Blanc have been produced,
The wine making operation is small by design, limited in principle to roughly 250 cases a year. More would require substantial sales relations in the market, so staying small and tasting room direct has been the desire. It may sound counter intuitive to ambitious growth plans always expressed by wineries, but “Less is More” means it here.