How a Campfire Ignited a Lifetime Passion for Matthew Gibson
The newest tasting room to Sutter Creek, Matthew Gibson Winery is a small family operation full of passion and hands on care. A niche producer of impeccably balanced wines that mix old-world refinement with perfectly ripened grapes, all of the wines are truly handcrafted by the family themselves.
So how did it start?
It started with a campfire. Believe it or not, impassioned Matt didn’t used to like wine. One day while sitting around a campfire, Matt’s buddies convinced him to try some wine, giving him an experience that turned into a life passion. After spending years in the banking and legal field, Matt decided to give winemaking a try with two barrels of Cabernet. The wine was a success, leading to many years ahead of cultivating a winery.
“Wine is a passion of mine and I thought it would wane the first couple of years, but every year it gets stronger and stronger,” said Matt. “For the first 10 years of making wine, everything was by the numbers and chemistry, and then it slowly evolved more into an art form to the point where I don’t even use numbers anymore. Instead, taste buds, eyes, and sensory experiences have turned my winemaking techniques into an art, hence the paintbrush swoosh in the logo of the tasting room sign.
Matt’s passion for wine never stops. He has two new exciting projects coming up - the Nebbiolo and the Sagrantino.
“The Nebbiolo is very Barolo like and meant to age. Last time I was over in Italy, an Italian Barolo maker friend (Eilo Filipino) kept urging me to change the tresling system. I finally did and the 2014 vintage readily showed the change,” Matt said.
Next year, Matthew Gibson Winery will have their first crop of the rare Sagrantino. In 1990, there were only 120 acres left in the world of the Sagrantino, today the number is up to 2,000 - mostly found in Italy and Australia. Next year, Matt will have his first crop of the rare vines of Sagrantino with about 800 vines planted - a rare find in California.
A Family Way of Life
The winery operation consists of Matt Gibson (Winemaker and Father), Kim Gibson (Operations Manager and Wife), Clint Gibson (Cellar Rat and Son), Bobbi Gibson (Vineyard Rat and Daughter) and Nick Gibson (Cellar Rat and Son).
The Gibson family is not only integral to the operations of the winery, but also bring extra care and passion into the wine as well. The family has built the facilities, planted and tended to the grapes, makes and bottles the wine and sells it in the tasting room. In fact, up until two years ago, they even picked the grapes themselves!
“For me, the wine is cool, but the people you meet are even more cool because in our wine club we have people from 21 years old to 96 years old and I would never ever get to know these people if it wasn’t for the wine. A lot of the people are almost like family now. For me, the elixir of mixing wine with people is amazing,” said Matt.
Stop by the Sutter Creek Tasting Room to say hello to the Gibson family and try their uniquely crafted wines. It’s open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 5pm.