The California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) presented its 2013 Grower of the Year award to Steve McIntyre, of Monterey. The award is the highest honor given by CAWG and is bestowed to an individual, family or company “who represents an outstanding example of excellence in viticulture and management, and is recognized by others for innovation and leadership within the industry.”
“Steve McIntyre stands out as a remarkably successful example of grower and winemaker,” said Bill Pauli, CAWG chair. “Steve’s expertise has not only furthered the success of other growers, but he’s also been a leader in bringing sustainable winegrowing practices to the Monterey agricultural community.”
In 1987, McIntyre purchased an 80-acre estate in the central section of the Santa Lucia Highlands and established the McIntyre Estate Vineyard. The land, originally planted by the McFarland family in 1973, features some of the Highlands' oldest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines.
In 1992, Steve and wife Kimberly started Monterey Pacific, Inc., a viticulture management and development company which has grown to become the fifth largest vineyard management company in the U.S. at over 10,000 acres. Monterey Pacific currently grows or manages grapes for a number of notable wineries.
The first limited McIntyre wines debuted with the 2005 vintage. McIntyre, along with winemaker Byron Kosuge, crafts wines with what he calls, “a minimalist approach, allowing the vineyards’ pure flavor and character to shine through in the finished wine.” McIntyre says, “We try to let the grape and terroir speak for itself without adding a lot of processing characteristics.”
McIntyre is a recognized leader on sustainability and was implementing sustainable vineyard practices well before the establishment of various sustainable certification programs in place today. In fact, Steve helped write the book on sustainable winegrowing and bringing its practices to the Santa Lucia Highlands’ appellation. He was one of the initial founding members of the Central Coast Vineyard Team’s Sustainability in Practice (SIP) program. Today, McIntyre Estate Vineyards holds “certified sustainable” status from both the Central Coast Vineyard Team’s SIP program and the statewide California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA).
"The holistic approach to viticulture is one that Steve openly embraces," said Heidi Scheid, vice chair of CAWG and senior vice president of Scheid Vineyards in Monterey. "He is one of the industry’s strongest advocates and is committed to how sustainable farming enhances not only the crop itself, but the environment and the community in which the vineyard exists."
Today, Steve’s dedication to sustainability and innovation is guiding him toward the creation of an operation that uses solar panels and windmills, and recycled wastewater for irrigation.
“Steve’s leadership in the industry is evidenced by his dedication to sustainable farming, willingness to adopt new technologies and continued involvement on boards and associations vital to our industry," said Paul Johnson, owner of Johnson Vineyard Company in Gonzales and President of the Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association. "Steve is certainly deserving of this year’s Grower of the Year award."
He is currently active in the Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association and serves as the Association’s representative on the Agriculture Advisory Committee for Monterey County, providing insight and direction on key agricultural issues. McIntyre also serves as chairman of the CDFA Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter Board and chairmen of its research screening committee. And, he is a past board member of the California Association of Winegrape Growers. Additionally, he serves as a board member of the Big Sur Land Trust.
McIntyre’s three decades of experience as a winegrower has translated into a huge demand for his grapes. In addition to the fruit set aside for his own McIntyre brand, he sells Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the property to several other ultra-premium producers. McIntyre promotes the quality of Monterey County grapes and wines through a recently-opened tasting room at the popular Hyatt Regency Hotel.
When he’s not working in the vineyard McIntyre likes to spend as much time as possible with his family – wife Kim, son Matt, daughters Kristin and Kassie and grandson Brayden. McIntyre is also a private pilot and he and wife Kimberly raise Bernese Mountain Dogs.
While McIntyre’s early passion to be a musician was not quite realized, it has served him well as a winegrape grower. As McIntyre puts it, “Musicians are servants to other people’s emotions, giving folks pleasure. With our family of wines, we strive to create something sensual, like music, which brings joy and inspiration and is an artistic statement of our vineyard.”
The California Association of Winegrape Growers is honored to recognize Steve McIntyre as the 2013 Grower of the Year.
CAWG’s Grower of the Year award will be presented at the association’s Annual Meeting and Awards of Excellence reception on Jan. 29, 2013 in Sacramento.
CAWG represents the growers of more than 60 percent of the gross grape tonnage crushed for wine and concentrate in California. The statewide association provides industry leadership to advocate for public policies, research and education programs, sustainable farming practices and trade positions to enhance the business of growing California winegrapes. For more information about CAWG, visit their website at www.cawg.org.