Our Timeline


It was the dream of signing a record deal that brought me to California in 1978. Healdsburg became my home. Country enough for my quiet side, yet close enough to San Francisco for that record deal.

After nine years of road trips, it was my last in 1981 that brought me back to my home town of Chisholm, Maine. Brenda Lee was home for Christmas and after all those years of just friends, we fell in love.


How did I convince Brenda to come join me in California? I asked. In June of 1982 she moved in. Now with the dream of a record deal behind me, I took a job as a wine salesman for Windsor Vineyards. Brenda got a teaching job in Cloverdale.

August 6, 1983 we married in Maine, honeymooned in Mendocino, and rented a house just outside of Guerneville. It was there that we made our first wine, a Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley.

After saving every cent we could, we bought our 1st house in the heart of Alexander Valley just across the street from the famous Alexander’s Crown Vineyard. By now we both had the serious wine bug.


With some creative financing and the sale of our Jimtown home, we bought a 12.5 acre ranch and Simoneau Vineyards was born. Most of our friends thought we were crazy… but remember, I was the guy who came to California to sign a record deal. Crazy, who me?


After making wine since 1983, (Zinfandel in Guerneville, remember) I learned a few tricks and got pretty good at winemaking. In the fall of 1992 I won the Amateur Sweepstake Award at The Sonoma County Harvest Fair for my 1990 Meritage. Not exactly the record deal, but pretty close. With the publicity for the award, the local news talk radio station KSRO hired me to be their wine commentator. And I still work there today as The Sonoma County Wine Guy.

The Wine Guy thing took off and Santa Rosa Junior College asked me to teach wine classes. That led to my being asked to judge various wine competitions. In the meantime our vineyard developed a reputation and our Chardonnay and Cabernet were vineyard designated by Windsor Vineyards.


Gold medals are hard to come by, but with good grapes and the right wine making our Windsor Vineyards 1995 Cabernet Sauvignon won a gold at The Sonoma County Harvest Fair. Which made me a recipient of a grower’s award.


My amateur winemaking career peaked when I won the 2002 Amateur Sweepstake Award at Indiana International Wine Competition at Perdue University for my 2000 Merlot.

In 2004 I entered three amateur wine competitions and won 10 gold medals. Brenda finally convinced me that our wine was good enough to sell.


Simoneau Wine Company was born.  We went commercial with the 2005 Simoneau Vineyards Cabernet.