It was Monterey County’s own John Steinbeck who once said “saints can spring from any soil.” But unfortunately for wine lovers, the same can’t always be said for grapes. Although they can thrive on poor ground, to produce worthy wine the vines respond to climate cues. Fortunately for Salinas couple Bill and Carol Parker, their family’s home happens to be on favorable terroir. The Parkers’ property lies a few miles up Corral de Tierra Road, off Highway 68 near Salinas. A short drive up the sunny valley brings you to an area that Steinbeck himself referred to as the “Pastures of Heaven.” It is here, nestled alongside a creek and surrounded by oak trees, that the Parkers have been making their own wines for over 30 years. “We didn’t set out to make wine,” says Carol Parker. “We had an apple orchard on the property originally. But over time we were convinced that we could grow grapes and make our own wines for our family and friends to enjoy.” Beyond the climate requirements, the art of winemaking itself is a meticulous process that requires patience, resilience and collaboration. The Parkers, convinced it was at least worth a try, began the process of converting their family orchard to a limited-production family winery in 1986. Using little more than a flatbed truck, a lot of manual labor, and a century-old juice press, the Parkers finally bottled their first vintage of Chardonnay in 1990. 28 The Best of Monterey Bay ® Haven 2023-2024 Private Label For one family, a personal vineyard demands effort but yields memories. By Jeff Mendelsohn A restful space alongside the vineyards at the home of Bill and Carol Parker near Salinas. The couple has created areas for growing grapes, producing and bottling wine for themselves and their friends. Daniel Dreifuss vineyards_23.indd 1 8/1/23 3:45 PM