Niven Family: Innovating Since 1973
Apr 28, 2018
Niven Family Wine Estates…
…owners of Baileyana, True Myth, Tangent and Zocker – is a multi-generation, family-owned wine company, whose founders pioneered San Luis Obispo’s Edna Valley and played an integral role in defining the region’s farming history for more than 45 years.
What started as Purity Grocery Stores, California’s largest chain nearly 100 years ago, today stands as a successful, passionate, innovative family-run wine business that grows and produces a diverse selection of wines that showcase the diversity of their Edna Valley estate. In 1973, visionary vintner Jack Niven planted the historic Paragon Vineyard in San Luis Obispo.
Considered the “Founding Father of the Edna Valley,” he spearheaded and successfully petitioned for the region to become an official AVA in 1982. To this day, the second and third generations continue to shape the valley as a laudable wine region. Recognizing the diversity of their SIP Certified Sustainable estate, they make an enticing range of wines in a wide array of hyper-focused styles.
The Paragon Vineyard is home to what could be considered one of the world’s greatest explorations of single estate cool climate wines. Not many vineyards in the world, let alone cool climate vineyards, are growing such a range of varietals and taking them from dirt to bottle.
Whether it is racy Grüner Veltliner and Albariño, mind-blowing Sauvignon Blanc from 45-year old vines, energetic Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs, dense spicy Syrahs, and everything in between, the Niven’s strive to showcase why these varietals thrive in the Edna Valley and specifically at their historic Paragon Vineyard. Each of these varietals has their own home to shine in four focused efforts: Baileyana, Tangent, Zocker, and True Myth.
The Niven Estate Paragon Vineyard was one of the Central Coast’s first vineyards to become SIP Certified through participation in the SIP pilot program in 2008. It’s currently one of the largest SIP Certified vineyards in the state of California. This reinforces their farming philosophy that goes back decades.
Jackrabbits living in the vineyard indicate biodiversity and a healthy ecosystem.
Owl boxes help maintain rodent populations.
Goats help keep natural vegetation areas from becoming too overgrown, which provides protection for waterways.
Meet the Makers | Winemaking Team
Scott Williams, Director of Winegrowing
Scott Williams has been farming the Niven Family’s Paragon Vineyard for well over a decade. He is a cool climate expert who knows the Paragon Vineyard and the Edna Valley like the back of his hand. Ask him what the average rainfall or highest temperature day was back in 2006 and he’ll probably know
His passion for wine and sustainable farming along with his intimate knowledge of the estate are the driving forces behind our meticulous farming practices. When he’s not nurturing the vines that produce grapes for our wines, you might find him mountain biking on one of SLO’s many trails, training for a rock climbing trip up El Capitan, or at the beach surfing.
Rob Takigawa, Director of Winemaking
Rob has worked for the Niven Family for 19 years starting as Tank Room Manager working up to be the Assistant winemaker, then Winemaker, and now Director of Winemaking. This year will bring his 20th vintage of working with fruit from their estate Paragon Vineyard. You name it, he has seen it, with each vintage furthering his knowledge of the nuances of the Paragon Vineyard and the Edna Valley.
A native of the Central Coast, Rob is a graduate of Cal Poly with a Soil Science Degree. After understanding the science side of wine, Rob was inspired to get his hands dirty and ventured into the winemaking side in 1997. When not making wine he enjoys surfing, traveling with his family, and coaching his children’s sports teams.
NIVEN BRANDS 101 | Deep Dive into the Winery’s Four Expressions
Toggle over the links below to discover more about the brands!
Created by the Niven Family matriarch Catharine Niven over 30 years ago, Baileyana is their expression of classic cool climate block specific Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown on their estate in San Luis Obispo’s Edna Valley.
2017 BAILEYANA ROSÉ
This wine is light pink, almost salmon in color, with fruit flavors, including watermelon, strawberry, peach and melon with hints of rose petal and red raspberry.
2016 BAILEYANA FIREPEAK PINOT NOIR
Aromas of bright cherry, blackberry, rose petal and hints of spice burst from the glass of this bright and nicely balanced Pinot Noir. Flavors of dark fruit, blueberry, mocha and cola flavors.
2016 BAILEYANA FIREPEAK CHARDONNAY
Leads with bright flavors of crisp apple, pear and pineapple. Aromas of citrus and tropical flavors highlight the complexity of flavors.
The first domestic winery solely dedicated to the creation of estate-grown, unoaked alternative white wines. Varietals include Albariño, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Grenache Blanc, and Pinot Gris as well as experimental bottlings of sparkling Albariño, concrete egg fermented and aged Albariño, old vine Sauvignon Blanc, and a single block bottling Sauvignon Blanc from a Loire Valley clone. Tangent does not shy from innovation and is one of the few wineries in the world putting their wines into bottle, can, and keg.
2016 TANGENT SAUVIGNON BLANC
New package! Flavors of green apple, lime, grapefruit, lemon zest, notes of minerality and citrus.
2015 TANGENT PINOT GRIS
Aromatics of orange blossom, pine- apple, grapefruit and a hint of pepper are followed by concentrated flavors of ripe peaches, tangerine and green apple. *New package coming with next vintage release!
2015 TANGENT ALBARINO
Made in the traditional style of Rias Baixas Albarino, this wine is pure and vibrant, with a slight salty characteristic. *New package coming with next vintage release!
True Myth represents the best of SLO County: an Edna Valley appellated, es- tate-grown Chardonnay from the Paragon Vineyard, and a rich, smooth Caber- net Sauvignon from Paso Robles. True Myth delivers an unprecedented value for a cool climate single vineyard estate Chardonnay at an a ordable price. Their juicy, pure Paso Robles Cabernet o ers up a tremendous value for $20+ quality Cab.
2015 TRUE MYTH CABERNET
Full of polished aromas of blackberry, cherry and vanilla, leading to flavors of dark red fruits, black currants and hints of pepper, cocoa powder and caramelized oak. Rich yet smooth, this wine is very approach- able now, and will continue to mature for years to come.
2015 TRUE MYTH CHARDONNAY
Displaying aromas of pear, pineapple, tangerine and vanil- la this classic Chardonnay from the Edna Valley shows flavors of tropical fruit, with a hint of min- erality and a creamy texture. Refreshing acidity keeps the wine lively and fresh from start to finish, a signature of Paragon Vineyard, and is topped o with the excellent accompaniment of vanilla bean and toasted oak.
German for “Gambler,” Zocker is the essence of unconventional: highlighting our exploration of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling grown at the historic Paragon Vineyard in the Edna Valley. Since day one Zocker has been turning heads with its expression of the potential of Grüner in the New World. Its fourth place finish at the formidable Generation Grüner Tasting in Europe proves that the Edna Valley is indeed a special place for Grüner.
2015 ZOCKER GRÜNER VELTLINER
“The nose on this bottling is immensely intriguing and unique, with gooseberry, grapefruit skin, wet river stone and the faintest whi of serrano chili. It’s as racy as it can be on the sip, as the bright, fresh and grippy texture reveals flavors of underripe white peach, lime and tons of wet stone.” 91pts WE, Editor’s Choice
2014 ZOCKER RIESLING
“Opening with gregar- ious notes of lime cordial, lemon curd and orange blossoms plus acacia honey and marmalade hints, the 2014 Riesling Paragon Vineyard has an o -dry palate, o ering a great intensity of honeyed citrus flavors and a reeshing backbone that finishes long and minerally.” 90pts WA