Q&A with Angelo Pera of Mountain View Winery
Angelo Pera started making wine in 1993. He prefers old-world winemaking techniques, while using cutting-edge tools to create his wines. He took over Mountain View Winery in 2010, where the majority of his wines are single-vineyard and single varietal.
1. What does your relationship with Opimian mean to you?
I appreciate that Opimian provides an opportunity for smaller producers, such as myself, to offer our wines to wine lovers throughout Canada. Opimian has enabled me to meet people from all over Canada and to share the wines that I produce in California.
2. What is the process in selecting the wines that will bear the Opimian label? How are the grapes sourced and how is the wine made?
We are fortunate to be able to produce wines that bear the Opimian label. This is a selection of two very unique white and red blends that appeal to a large audience of wine drinkers. We use grapes from our various smaller vineyards that utilize sustainable farming and environmentally sensitive farming practices. Our winemaking is also vegan friendly.
3. When did you realize that producing wine was your passion?
I started making wine in my early twenties. I had a wonderful experience at a restaurant in San Francisco where I developed an immediate love for wine. I spent the next five years learning winemaking and maneuvering a way to make it my career.
4. Which of your current wines are you the most excited about?
My favorite wine to make is Cabernet Sauvignon. It allows me the ability to really showcase what is going on in the vineyard. We manage four different Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards and the fruit from each comes out differently, based on the soil, the elevation and the micro-climate. This year we are able to showcase our Duxinaro Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. We farm this 5-acre Napa Valley vineyard by hand and pick by hand. Because of the small yields, we sort the grapes on a miniature sorting line and we bottle the wine on a small production line.
5. If you were not a winemaker, what would you do?
I did not intend to become a winemaker until after finishing grad school and starting in a career in private equity, so I would probably still be working in private equity—maybe richer in money, but poorer in happiness.
6. What do you enjoy most about your job?
Because we manage 19 vineyards, two wineries and a tasting room, I am pulled in many different directions. The most enjoyable part of my job is conducting wine tastings/dinners. I love talking with our customers and explaining our wines.
7. Which winemaking traditions, if any, are most important to you?
One of the things that I have not strayed from is using corks to top our bottles. I love the romanticism in popping open a cork, as much as the way it enables our wines to age.
8. What are you doing when you’re not making wine or growing grapes?
One of my passions is surfing. All three of my (now adult) children surf. My surfing time is somewhat limited nowadays, but I still go surfing with all of my family together – just not as often as I would like.
9. What bottle is open in your kitchen right now?
I actually have two bottles of wine open—a 2016 Pinot Noir from a small vineyard we manage in the Monterey Mountains, and a 2017 Napa Valley Chardonnay for my wife. She prefers Chardonnay over any other type of wine, so I make sure to keep an ample supply available.
10. Red, white or rosé?
I drink all three. My preference is typically red wine, but the wine I choose is generally dependent on the company I am with.
11. Describe your philosophy in one word or sentence.
Wine is made to be enjoyed and not to be overanalyzed.