by Fred McMillin
for February 27, 1998

Winery of the Week

Haywood's Hot

1845—Jacob Rink Snyder leaves Pennsylvania and arrives at Sutter's Fort before gold is discovered. He earns the title of major as California leaves Mexico to become a U.S.A. state. However, the peaceful role of Sonoma vintner proves more attractive. He plants 72 acres of vines and the friendly, popular Major Snyder wins his first WINE medal at a San Francisco judging in 1864. He is most proud of the quality of his ZINFANDEL, and believes it has a great future.

1974—Building contractor Peter Haywood purchases the Major Snyder land and takes exceptional care in planting vines, to produce premium wine grapes for sale to local wineries. His Los Chamizal Vineyard contains ZINFANDEL.

1980—Peter and wife Anita purchased a small winery and begin producing wine from part of their grapes. Later critic James Laube would write that Haywood's Los Chamizal Vineyard Zinfandel was "among the best in Sonoma, with intense, spicy, peppery fruit flavors."

1996—The Haywood '93 Los Chamizal Estate Zin dazzles my panel. We discussed Major Snyder's prediction that the Zinfandel had a great future. They concluded that THE FUTURE IS NOW!

Just the Facts

Name Haywood Winery
Founding Vineyard planting started 1974, winery 1980.
Vineyard Location In the hills above the city of Sonoma.
Owner In the late 1980's Peter sold the brand to Racke USA but continued in the operation for some years to insure continuity of quality.
Labels In addition to the estate wines, Haywood "Vintner's Select" wines were introduced in 1991. In the $8 range, my panel has found the Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon particularly to be good values. In fact, they voted the '94, $8 Cab BEST BUY in a large blind tasting a year ago.


I should mention two ladies. One is Winemaker Judy Matulich-Weitz. Since she's won some big honors at the California State Fair, I asked her for some tips. One was to go lightly on fining the reds. Leave the flavors in the wine, not in the egg whites or clay used to remove sediment. The other lady is Manager of Public Relations, Noel Mechau...CPA...Director of Marketing for another Napa winery consultant...she can answer your questions at (707) 252-7117. Major Snyder's legacy is in some very good hands.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

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