“Grapegrowers tend to stand in the background while winemakers are encouraged to take center stage,” the editors of Vineyard and Winery Management note in the magazine’s November/December 2015 cover story, which names the twenty most admired viticulturists, grapegrowers and vineyard managers in North America.
To bring these behind-the-scenes players into the limelight and give them the recognition they deserve, the magazine assembled a panel of respected winemakers, writers, educators, buyers, growers, consultants and sommeliers from across the continent, tasking them with whittling down a list of gifted nominees to the cream of the crop.
Our family is incredibly proud that Mark Pisoni is among the twenty selected.
Mark is in excellent company on the top 20 list, surrounded by giants like Larry Hyde, whose Carneros vineyard produces some of Napa Valley’s most coveted fruit, Willamette Valley pioneer Dick Shea, Russian River Chardonnay champion Kent Ritchie, and revered vineyard managers Mary Maher of Harlan Estate and Ulises Valdez, who farms 1,000 acres in Sonoma County.
The magazine, which boasts the largest circulation of any North American wine trade publication, reserves high praise for Mark’s uniqueness as a winegrower equally committed to cultivating prized mountain fruit as overseeing the family’s 500-acre vegetable farm. Having inherited his talent for viticulture from his father and a love of farming from his grandfather, he approaches both passions with a keen sense of responsibility to the land.
“Sustainability isn’t a buzzword to Pisoni; it’s a way of life passed down through three generations,” the article states. “This is reflected in his respect for the environment, for the vineyards and for his crew—many of whom have been with the family since Pisoni’s boyhood.”
The article notes that these kinds of lifelong working relationships are common at Pisoni, where deals are made with handshakes in lieu of contracts and winemakers’ input is actively solicited. As Adam Lee of Siduri Wines puts it, Mark is part of “a large, caring family, and those family values are reflected in the way he works and lives.”
Siduri is one in an impressive list of Pisoni clients referenced in the article along with Kosta Browne, Peter Michael, Patz & Hall, Roar Wines, Paul Lato and Capiaux Cellars. Lee likely speaks for each of them when he insists that Mark “is one of the finest grapegrowers I know. . . . In addition to growing fantastic grapes, Mark is also an all-around great guy.”