Wrotham Clone of Pinot Noir
The Wrotham clone was discovered by accident as a wild grapevine growing on a stone wall near the village of
Wrotham in southeast England. The softly furred leaves were unlike the Pinot Noir of France, but the fruit
clusters were similar. The wild vine displayed a resistance to powdery mildew. DNA studies showed it was
identical to Pinot Noir. It has been speculated that the Romans brought cuttings of this vine to England 2,000
years ago. Dr. Richard Grant Peterson brought cuttings to the Napa Valley in 1980 and planted a two-acre
vineyard propagated from this single wild vine. To this day, this is the only Wrotham Pinot Noir vineyard in
The earliest vintages (2000 through 2005) produced only a Blanc de Noir style sparkling wine. Still Pinot Noir
appeared in 2006 and 2007. Dr. Peterson has now decided to produce Richard Grant Wrotham Pinot
Sparkling Wine and Richard Grant Wrotham Clone of Pinot Noir in alternate years because of the small
number of vines available.
Richard Peterson, now 76, is a well-respected senior winemaker whose accomplishments date back to the
early days of E. & J. Gallo Winery when he directed the transition from an emphasis on sweet wines to dry
table wines and taught the Gallos how to craft sparkling wines. In 1968, he replaced legendary winemaker
Andre Tchelistcheff as winemaker at Beaulieu Vineyard in the Napa Valley and fashioned a number of notable
wines including Pinot Noirs. His most notable achievement was designing the steel barrel racking system that
allows wineries to safely stack barrels using a forklift. Today he is a viticulture and enology consultant for
several high quality wineries in California.
2006 Richard Grant Wrotham Clone Napa Valley Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., 516
Reddish-violet robe. Complex and fascinating aroma profile featuring
berries, pomegranate, prune, dried herbs, wildflowers, wet leaf, and vanilla. The
wine is medium-bodied with juicy raspberry flavor very prominent. A hint of raisin
and spice adds interest. Moderate tannins and lively acidity with a refreshing tang
on the finish. A unique wine of great interest.
Richard Grant wines are sold on the website at www.richardgrantwine.com. Both the 2000 ($75) and 2001
($50) sparkling wines are available. The full Wrotham Pinot story and Peterson’s numerous accomplishments
in the wine industry are detailed on the website.