Silicon Valley icon TJ Rodgers is applying his knack for engineering to create “the New World’s” best Pinot Noir. This week he gave a handful of reporters a tour of his Clos de la Tech winery in the Santa Cruz mountains — and a taste of his wares.
Rodgers fell in love with wine after buying a mixed crate of bottles during graduate school at Stanford. Soon after, he traveled to Burgundy, France to briefly learn from the masters before returning to the United States to found chipmaker Cypress Semiconductor.
The best of Rodgers’ three vineyards produces only 100 cases a year — about four bottles for each member of his club. All of Clos de la Tech’s bottles are fittingly decorated with a microchip sealed in wax.
“The guys on my mailing list are a who’s who of Silicon Valley,” he said.
Rodgers’ vineyards are rigged with devices built by Cypress engineers to measure sugar content, liquid pressure and other critical factors in the winemaking process.