Nichols Network

Follow Nichols Winery

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Nichols Winery is a small winery which was established in 1991 to produce ultra premium wine with limited production of each Varietal around the 1,200 case level. Chardonnay was the initial Varietal to be produced while Pinot Noir followed in the 1993 vintage. In 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Pinot Blanc were also produced. Distribution is based on allocation to restaurants and wine merchants. Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir are released in the second year after crush, to insure they have enough time, to bring out their natural high qualities. This allows time for the wine to age and rest in the bottle and round out its character, after oak barrel aging. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Zinfandel are released in the third year after harvest to give them time to soften and round out their tannins.


Wine Making Philosophy

Keith Nichols' approach to winemaking is both a scientific and artistic approach. It is mixing the two that results in excellent wine. Therefore, by selecting the right fruit and understanding its personality you can then determine what artistic approach and direction to take the wine through. One needs to be in close contact with the fruit leading up to harvest as well as nurturing it through the winemaking process.


Keith O. Nichols' Story


Keith was born on a dairy farm in upstate New York, near the St. Lawrence River, in a town called Massena. After graduating from high school he spent four years in the Navy as an Aviation Electronic Technician. After the Navy he settled in Silver Springs, Maryland and accepted a position with an electronics firm called Bunker Ramo. It was this firm which brought him to California when they consolidated their Eastern and Western Technical Center.


Once in California Keith started working on higher education in the evenings. Through this process he acquired a BS degree in Business Management from Pepperdine University in Malibu, an MBA from California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks and an MS degree in Telecommunication from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.

After arriving in California he became interested in wine through a Gourmet Club he joined. It was through the Gourmet Club that Keith developed his love for “Fine Food and Fine Wine” and in particular the marriage of the two. Over several years of enjoying the marriage of the two he became interested in the Wine Business. Maybe it was his farming background and his love for the land that also drove him back to the land.


To further develop his understanding of wine, and the winemaking process, he traveled to Bordeaux, France to visit various wine making establishments, in the Medoc, St Julien, Pauillac and Pomerol regions, such as Chateau Latour, Margaux, and Pichon-Longueville-de-Lalande, among others. Through his research he realized the importance of the terrior (soil) as a starting point for fine wine. To make a “World Class Wine” the terrior, or ground, where the vineyard is located, is extremely important notwithstanding the micro climate as well. After the location or source of fine fruit is found, fine wine will follow, with a little perseverance in the winemaking process, that is, if subsequent decisions are made on the side of quality rather then quantity. Maybe this is why he choose the Central Coast to make his wine.


Additional wine research was done during a trip to South Africa. Visits to several Wineries in the Stellenbosh Region of South Africa afforded him the opportunity to review the winemaking process there. South Africa has a long history of winemaking dating back to 1659 near Cape Town.


Keith also has taken classes, in wine marketing, from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and put himself through a self taught Viticulture and Winemaking program form U.C. Davis.