Ken, born and raised in Ontario, Canada, is robust and passionate about his vineyards and wineries. Ken and his wife Diane started buying land in western Dry Creek Valley in the early 1980s, planting their first vines in 1988. Establishing himself further as a grower of quality wine grapes, Ken continued to acquire and plant more fruit in the 1990s.
Ken Wilson said he and Diane were interested in making wine early on, but they didn’t start until 1993, when they bought the historic Fredson Winery from the retiring Chris Fredson. “It was an intriguing old bulk wine facility in what was really a barn,” Wilson said. “It was 100 years old, and still contained the original redwood vats and tanks.” He and Diane, who has a background in biochemistry, then began fulfilling their dream: making their own wine. The first was a 1994 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Getting county permits and restoring the old barn took a few more years. By 1998, the complete winemaking operation was housed in what is now Wilson Winery. Slowly it grew to include additional varietals, and the annual production is now about 3,000 cases.