In the spring of 1995, brothers Andy and Nick got to know one another listening to old jazz records and brewing beer in Andy’s in-law apartment in Berkeley. Nick would bring the wine for dinner and Andy, since he was trying to figure out if maybe he wanted to be a professional chef, would cook. One evening while washing down a bite of lamb with a perfectly paired cool climate Syrah, Andy’s brain lit up like a Christmas tree. Forget life as a chef. Wine! A life in wine is the future.
Vanessa was planting a vineyard on the Sonoma Coast when she heard about these guys up north who had just planted 15 clones of Pinot noir in terra incognita. She visited in the fall of 2000 and took a shine to the beauty of the place and the quality of the young vine fruit she tasted while she walked the vineyard with Nick. He must not have been too shabby, either, as Vanessa joined Peay Vineyards in the spring before their first vintage in 2001 and they were married the following year.
Prior to coming to Peay, Vanessa worked at Peter Michael Winery as winemaker and assistant winemaker from 1996-2000. She also spent time working in France at Château Lafite-Rothschild in Pauillac and Domaine Jean Gros in Vosne-Romanée.