The push for effective branding has led to more adventurous, even hip, packaging. "We're doing a label called Elevation Peaks & Valleys. The Elevation goes who knows where -- Vons, Costco. It's a screwcap wine with a topographic map silk-screened onto the bottle showing where the majority of grapes came from for the wine. The Merlot has a map of Wild Horse Peak, while the Sauvignon Blanc has got Temecula Valley." "Elevation" runs up the side of the bottle in all caps; together with the topo map, it makes for a standout design, great for stopping the eye as it scans a supermarket shelf.
"I've got about 1400 gallons of this Syrah in oak," says McPherson as he pours me a taste from a stainless steel tank. "We're going to keep part of it for South Coast and blend the rest of it into our Elevation Peaks & Valleys. They're nice wines," he says of the latter. "They're not going to bastardize the name of South Coast."