Ampère, A Signature Wine from Pine Mountain Vineyards

The Ampère Story

Like any real life story, Ampère wines owe their existence to a convergence of many independent threads. Here, we would like to mention the following two stories, which became intertwined through apparent serendipity and made possible the implausible story of Ampère wines.

Personal Journey: Hien Nguyen

Hien was introduced to wine at an early age in Lyon, France, where he attended Lycee Ampère, a local secondary school. As is the tradition in France, wine was served at school lunches, starting in the 6th grade. The French are justly proud of their abilities to produce elegant meals out of limited resources, and school lunches were no exception.



A typical school lunch menu for the week of April 15, 2013 is displayed at left. Thus, beside the benefit of a good education, Hien had the good fortune to be introduced to great food accompanied by wine and taught to appreciate what ingenuity and determination can accomplish.


Hien’s professional goals led him to Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, then across the Atlantic to complete a PhD in Mathematics at MIT, and finally to Montana where he joined the faculty of the University of Montana and later founded a software development company.

Pine Mountain was a revelation for Hien during his first visit. His attachment to the region has only deepened with time. Of particular excitement was the discovery that the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from a few selected blocks are truly special and capable of defining the highest quality standard for the new Pine Mountain – Cloverdale Peak AVA. Along with a dream team of experts, Hien has dedicated himself to taking the quality of the fruit grown on Pine Mountain Vineyards to its full potential and achieving the highest level of excellence in winemaking.

For Hien, wine has always been associated with memorable meals, stimulating conversations with teachers and friends, and with all the important events celebrated with family. Pine Mountain has afforded him the opportunity to share his appreciation of the pleasure wine has brought to his life and honor his lifelong adoption of the tradition of sharing good food and good wine. Our signature wine pays tribute to the origins of his story at Lycee Ampère.

The Winemaker: Thomas Rivers Brown

Thomas is one of the most celebrated winemakers in California, as evidenced by the extraordinary ratings, awards and accolades he has received from industry luminaries. The story that we would like to share is how Thomas came to be involved with a fledgling vineyard in an obscure locale, far from the usual prestigious wine regions of California. In Thomas’s own words:


“Pine Mountain Vineyards was one of the great revelations for harvest 2009. Every year, I take fruit from a few new vineyards to try and find something new and exciting for my various programs. After taking a ride to the edge of Alexander Valley, Pine Mountain looked like a vineyard with great potential. It was only after harvesting the fruit and midway through fermentation that we realized just how special this site is. Incredibly dark and super perfumey, the 2009 already exhibits great balance and structure to balance its red and black fruit core. The 2009 looks to be one of the stars of the vintage and I have no doubt we will do even better in the coming years.”

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