February 21, 2023 by Alyssa Taylor
Meet the Maker: Piro Wine Company
Just two hours north of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara County is home to one of the most southerly “cool climate” wine regions in the Northern Hemisphere. One of our favorite places to source wine from. The transverse mountain ranges act as a funnel to usher in cold air, marine layer fog, and wind; all desirable climate traits for making phenomenal Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Days here are filled with sunny skies and fluffy clouds, and the nights are cold with incoming fog. Vines are planted on ancient marine soils from the pacific that give the wines a very distinct flavor profile and minerality.
Marc Piro knew he wanted to be a winemaker when he was nine years old. He sat in the crowded backseat of his family’s beige Mercedes diesel station wagon as they drove through the vineyards of Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley. Inspired, he announced, “Mom, I want a vineyard.” Her response was curt: “Well, then, get a good job.”
Growing up in Marin County, he visited Santa Barbara for the first time when he was fifteen. From that moment on, he knew he wanted to end up there. True to his boyhood promise, Marc fulfilled his dream by launching Piro Wine Company, a boutique label in Santa Maria Valley focused on his favorite varietals, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. As he puts it, “I strive to make old world style wines from the new world: extremely delicious wines of balance, elegance, and structure.”
- Marc is an avid surfer
- Marc has two young kiddos, a two year old named Layla and a 6 month old named Charles. Layla is already hitting the waves with dad
- Played bass in a reggae band
- Has visited the two longest piers in the Southern Hemisphere
- Practices Sustainable Farming
- Marc is an avid collector of birth year wines, and loves to share them
- What is your greatest extravagance? Guitars.
- What word or phrase do you overuse? Idk.
- When and where are you happiest? The beach, outside where it’s sunny…or my couch.
- If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Being able to jump really high, like 60 or 100 feet.
- What life achievement are you the most proud of? Making wine for Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch.
- What winemakers do you most admire? Jim Clendenen and Bob Lindquist, Ernst Storm, Jim Adelman.
- Which historical figure would you want to share a bottle with? Jesus.
- What motto do you live by? Treat yourself, don’t beat yourself.
- Best wine you’ve ever tasted? 1982 Pichon Lalande.
- What is your spirit animal? Dolphin.
- What do you drink when you’re not drinking wine? Cold beer!
- Soundtrack to your life: Never Give Up.
Fun Facts About Marc:
“I make wine because wine inspires cheer. It makes me happy to make others happy (and drunk).”
“The quality of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the area is some of the best in the world. We sit down for lunch every day at the winery and open up Pinot from all over the world and taste it next to our own. The Santa Barbara Pinot is a top contender every time.”
“With acidity comes balance.”
Lightening Round Q&A:
About the Wine:
This is the first Chardonnay under the Piro label that we were given exclusive access to allocate it for our club members.
Tasting Notes: white guava, key lime, lemon, underripe cantaloupe, sweet lemon cake, unsweetened coconut.
Suggested Pairings: The Chardonnay pairs great with brunch, detox soup, white chicken chili, seafood, pizza, pasta, and Mexican dishes.
Speaking of food…
At Au Bon Climat, Jim Clendenon held a tradition of making a huge lunch for the winemakers and staff every single day. After his sad passing, Marc and his team still uphold this tradition and sit down for lunch daily. They open up great wines that spark great conversation, while enjoying each others’ company.
There is so something special about this; I think I can speak for many working professionals who barely take time for lunch during the work day including myself. The act of sitting down and enjoying the food and wine in front of you in such a ceremonias way is pretty beautiful. It goes back to the center of our ethos here at Argaux, wine is a catalyst that brings you to the table and forces you to sit down, take a breath, and soak up the present moment.