Published: 1 years 198 days ago
Heritage is important to Bill Pauli. Born and raised in Potter Valley, he has been a Mendocino County farmer all his life. He grew up working in his father’s pear orchards, and he raised a few eyebrows around the region when he began growing winegrapes in 1971.
“Back then all the old-timers thought we were crazy to grow winegrapes,” Pauli said with a shrewd grin. “In those days, pears were king in Mendocino County.” He still farms 25 acres of pears, unwilling to let go of his roots completely.
By fall of 2007, Pauli’s newest venture, Yokayo Wine Company, will begin operation in Ukiah. He’ll crush his own Mendocino County grapes and provide custom crushing for several clients in Northern California. Magnificent fir trees shade the winery, which backs up to vineyards, oak-lined creeks, and rolling hills to the west.
The name Yokayo has Spanish roots, roughly meaning high valley. “This was a land grant, and we wanted to reflect the heritage,” Pauli said. “Eventually we want to build a modest office and tasting room here at Yokayo.” He has designed a building that will borrow from the craftsman style, incorporating local materials to reflect the surroundings. “It’s all about the land, wood, stone, trees, soil, vines, water, and sky,” Pauli said. “The winery will be a montage of all those elements. The key is how you blend the native resources to reflect the special nature of Mendocino County and the North Coast.”
A father of five grown children, he’s proud to have their participation in the new wine company. “It sure is great to have the kids involved,” he said, watching his sons Hal, Frost, and Jake pour concrete. After eight years as president of the California Farm Bureau Federation, Pauli is happy to have the time to stay home and work with his family. He also enjoys the occasional trip to Canada where he pursues a deep passion for fly fishing.