May 8, 2014 11:58 PM
If you enjoy a trip to wine country and think you have to drive all the way to Napa Valley, think again. Manton wine country is quickly emerging as the Napa Valley of yesterday and it's just about an hour drive from Chico, off of Highway 36. It's a breathtaking drive to Manton, a lush wooded landscape, with views of Mt. Lassen. Once you reach the town itself, take a slight right at the corner of Manton and Forward roads, where fruitful vineyards await, just up the path.
Kristy Coffee is the Sales Representative for Indian Peak Vineyards. She says, "I'm really proud and excited by the potential. Everything is just about to burst up here."
The buzz is starting to spread about the hidden wine country, where you'll find 6 vineyards to choose from. We met with the couple, who happen to own Indian Peak, the first bonded winery in Manton. It's been creating a cult following, since 2004.
Coffee says she hears people talking about it more and more often. She says, "Ooh, Indian Peak! We just love Fred and Donna. They're bubbling about it!"
Fred and Donna boots bought the property in 1999 and planted the first vines in 2000. Today, these 7 acres produce about 1,500 cases of wine each year, including Merlot, Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec.
Inside the winery are a variety of award-winning wines to choose from. The inspiration for one of the best-sellers? That would be Fred himself. He says, "This is my "Fredness". It's a Bordeaux blend and it is the best wine I've ever made."
The wine earned its name 'Fredness' from a friend and customer, during a contest for their abstract red label. Boots tells us, "She came up with "Fredness" because she's addicted to my wine style and can only go a few days without having it. She needed her "Fredness."
Boots attributes the distinct flavors of his wine to Manton's unique locale. He says, "So, we have good water, temperatures and the soil has a minerality to it that the grapes like and it makes our wine different than the others. Our wine tastes a little different than Napa and Sonoma and that's because of the soil."
Coffee adds, "All of the wineries are at different elevations, in Manton. So, we all grow different grapes. There's wine for everybody."
Indian Peak sits at an elevation of 2,200 feet, overlooking the valley, but Coffee says they don't let it go to their heads. She says Manton simply takes the snobbery out of wine tasting. She says, "Without any of the fancy, fussiness. We're not pretentious up here. You don't have to swirl your wine in your glass. No one is going to say you're drinking wine wrong. That's a bunch of poo!"
Boots adds, "You need to come up and try it! You'll have fun! Bring friends!"
Indian Peak Vineyards is open every day, from 11am to 5pm. Tomorrow night at 6, on Action News Now, you'll hear how the 2012 Ponderosa wildfire impacted their grape harvest and whether it will ever be bottled and sold.