Richard Arrowood is an iconic winemaster who has been making wine exclusively in Sonoma County for 48 years. From 1974 until 1990, he created the wines for Chateau St. Jean, where he developed some of the first vineyard designates produced in Sonoma County. He and his wife Alis founded Arrowood Winery with the 1985 vintage. Each year, he made an extraordinary 22 different small-lot varietals and vineyard designates. Richard was the winemaster at Arrowood Winery until June 2010, when he left to devote himself full-time to making wines for their new winery, Amapola Creek Vineyards and Winery.
Amapola Creek is located just north of the town of Sonoma, on the Arrowoods’ 100-plus-acre estate. The 20 acres of vineyards are spread from 350 to 1,000 feet above the valley floor on a western-facing slope at the top of the Mayacamas Mountains. The vineyards are CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) certified organic. In addition, the winery has also been certified by the CCOF as an organic handler.
Cabernet Sauvignon is Amapola Creek’s largest case production and Richard’s main focus. The winery also produces Cuvée Alis, an estate blend of Syrah and Grenache named after Alis Arrowood. Amapola Creek’s neighbor, the historic Monte Rosso Vineyard, is the winery’s source of old vine Zinfandel, planted in the 1890s. Starting in 2010, Amapola Creek began producing Chardonnay from Jos. Belli Family Vineyards (CCOF) located in the Russian River Valley, with which Richard has had a working relationship for many years.
Amapola Creek, named for the Spanish word for “poppy,” runs through the Arrowoods’ estate. When in bloom, the golden poppies line the creek and offer a stunning sight with the vineyards as a backdrop. Richard and Alis Arrowood planted their vineyards in 2000 using the most advanced organic methods, and Richard made the winery’s first vintage in 2005. Amapola Creek is an ultra-premium winery in a state-of-the-art facility designed to produce just 3,000 handcrafted cases annually.
After more than 47 harvests, this is the ideal next step for Richard in his legendary winemaking career. At Amapola Creek, he can focus on the very philosophy that has driven him from day one: quality without compromise and, above all, excellence. Amapola Creek Vineyards and Winery is quite simply Richard’s quest to make his greatest wines ever, and is a perfect example of the phrase “saving the best for last.”