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A former Kendall Jackson winemaker raises over $1 million for independent winemaking project

Published 16 April 2014

Scott Peterson, former Kendall Jackson winemaker and veteran wine consultant, announced the launch of an independent range of wines under his own label.

Peterson worked two and a half years at Kendall Jackson, one of the largest super-premium wineries in the US. He was heavily influenced by mentor Andre Tchelistcheff, the Father of Californian wine, and Jediah Steele, a CH master and founding winemaker at KJ while working on the 60,000 case production at Conn Creek and Villa Mt Eden in Napa. He also consulted for the flagship Argentinian producer Catena where he was involved with a production of over 100,000 cases high altitude luxury wines. But his independent project will start with a meager 2,500 cases.

"I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunities I've had to work with the bigger outfits in Napa, Sonoma and around the world," says Peterson. "At the time, these large production companies were the only ones with the resources and distribution network to have a chance in the marketplace."

Peterson's new project relies on much smaller backers for support -- 200,000 smaller backers. He is using NakedWines.com -- a crowd-funding platform designed specifically for winemakers and wine drinkers. Peterson secured over $1 million in funding through the platform's customers, an investment large enough to bank roll a range of eight wines over at least three vintages.

Peterson has used the money to secure fruit from prominent vineyards throughout Northern California, oak barrels from French coopers, and to cover a slew of other winemaking costs. His first release, ROX 2012 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, is a rich barrel-fermented Chardonnay available exclusively to his investors at NakedWines.com

"We're incredibly excited to taste this Chardonnay that has been over a year in the making," says Tracy Davis, one of Peterson's Angel investors. "He's an incredible winemaker with an outstanding pedigree, and now I get to see what he can do with the combined freedom of a small independent producer and the backing of a major wine investment."

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