As the red winemaker for J. Lohr, Steve Peck combines an experienced palate, a passion for viticulture, and a comprehensive technical knowledge of winemaking.
Born and raised in California, Steve began cultivating his love of viticulture and winemaking as a teenager while traveling to vineyards and working alongside his uncle. A dedicated home winemaker, Steve’s uncle taught him the importance of hands-on attention to detail at every step of the winemaking process. This early exposure to vineyards and winemaking inspired Steve to enroll at the University of California, Davis. While studying chemical engineering and fermentation sciences, Steve put himself through school as part of the team at Joseph Phelps Vineyards. This three-year experience augmented Steve’s academic studies with a practical understanding of Napa Valley winemaking methods.
After earning his degree, Steve pursued opportunities in the biotech industry, working for Merck & Co. and Genencor International. Throughout this period, Steve crafted his own red wines nearly every vintage, including several Cabernet Sauvignons made from Paso Robles grapes.
Steve joined Five Rivers Winery as winemaker in 2001. In addition to his role as winemaker for Five Rivers, Steve was also responsible for producing the red wines for Jekel Vineyards, beginning with the 2004 vintage. In these capacities, Steve had the opportunity to work with an array of vineyards in Monterey County, Paso Robles and Santa Barbara County, and was responsible for orchestrating harvest scheduling for dozens of growers. During this period, Steve consistently earned critical acclaim for his red wines.
In 2007, Steve was appointed winemaker for the full portfolio of J. Lohr red wines, including J. Lohr Estates, Vineyard Series, Gesture, and Cuvée Series, as well as the Cypress Vineyards label. Steve’s reputation as one of the Central Coast’s most respected vintners was recognized with his being named ‘Winemaker of the Year’ by the San Luis Obispo County wine industry for 2016. Steve is also featured in the 2017 book The Winemakers of Paso Robles, which showcases cutting-edge winemakers making a difference in the ever-evolving Paso Robles wine community.
Working closely with J. Lohr Director of Winemaking, President and COO Jeff Meier, Steve strives to let the unique flavor of each vineyard site shine through in every new release. “Steve is inquisitive and intuitive,” says Jeff,” which are fundamental qualities in a superior winemaker. He’s a genuinely personable leader with a great technical mind and a real passion for winemaking.”