Not many people who live in the Anderson Valley grew up there. And not many people who make Anderson Valley wine actually live there. Kristy Charles is an exception. She is the fourth generation to grow up on her family’s property just outside of the town of Boonville. Her father, Bill, is one of the few remaining speakers of Boontling, a language created in the 1800’s that’s only spoken in Boonville. That’s right, a town with a population of 700 has its own language!
The Charles family, Bill and Nancy, their daughter Kristy and her husband, Joe, together own and operate Foursight Wines and the Charles vineyard. Each family member contributes to the whole – Bill is often fixing or building things around the property; Nancy is tending to the vineyard; Joe is making the wine; Kristy is handling the PR/marketing and is, by default, the assistant winemaker. “That’s what happens when you are married to the winemaker,” Kristy says.
Kristy and Joe live in the house Kristy grew up in, and Bill and Nancy live in the house Bill grew up in. Both are on the same property as their 15-acre vineyard. I asked Kristy how they stay sane in an isolated region, living and working alongside a multi-generational family. Kristy said they help each other out a lot, and fortunately all have similar taste preferences when it comes to their wine. This, Kristy says, avoids a lot of arguments. They all like to regroup at the end of the day over a glass of wine.
The family believes in making “honest wines,” intervening as little as possible with the natural winemaking process. Foursight will be the first Anderson Valley winery to list ingredients on its wine labels, and among the first in the United States to include a statement for vegetarian and vegan wine drinkers.
They produce a mere 1,000 cases of wine – Pinot Noir, Semillon and Sauvignon, all from their own estate. My favorite wines are the “Zero New Oak” Pinot Noir and Semillon. Their tasting room is dog-friendly and one of the first you’ll see as you enter Boonville from the south.
The greeting on the Foursight website reads “Welcome to our Dream.”