How We Came to Be
Foursight Wines was founded in 2006 by Kristy Charles, Joe Webb and Bill & Nancy Charles.
Our goal is to produce 100% estate wines in the French monopole model, with our grapes sourced only from our own Charles Vineyard. Our wines are produced using traditional, old-world techniques, including 100% wild yeast fermentation and wild malolactic fermentation. Our Pinot Noirs employ partial whole cluster fermentation and are never fined or filtered.
Every grape and bottle of wine produced in our vineyard or small winery has been shepherded through the process by a member of the family, making the final product we sell direct to our wine club or through or Web site or tasting room all that much more special.
Click here for more information on how to visit us at our tasting room in Boonville, in the Anderson Valley.
Our Family History
The Charles family combines French, German and English ancestries, including a group of French Huguenots (Protestants) from Alsace, France, who fled to Germany and then the United States to escape religious persecution. Records show Charles family ancestors arrived in the United States around 1635.
After their arrival in the United States, the family migrated west, from New York to Chicago, then to the Black Hills of South Dakota. The local economy at that time mostly consisted of mining, logging, and other related industries. Members of the Charles family worked as machinists, as managers of hydroelectric plants and sawmills, and as master mechanics and chief engineers. Ultimately, it was the lumber business that brought them to California.
In 1943, Homer Albert "Twink" Charles, his wife Margaret Belle Charles, his son Homer "Norman" Charles, and his father, Homer Charles, arrived in Anderson Valley to join the Northern California lumber boom. It was war time, and even though workers were scarce, land and trees were plentiful.
Upon arriving, Twink and Homer decided to build a sawmill and operate it on rented property just west of town. Because labor was scarce, crew stealing was a popular pastime that they would soon learn to perfect. Every Sunday, mill owners in the valley would converge at the local bar. There they would entice all able workers (with more than a few drinks) to join them at their mill the following Monday morning. The next Sunday, their former employer would steal them back, and the cycle would continue.
Twink and Homer operated their mill outside the town of Boonville until 1949, when the log deck caught on fire and they were forced to carry all the machinery off of the site and move it into a field outside town. They were able to save most of their equipment and logs. However, they had begun to outgrow the site even before the fire. So, in January of 1950, they bought the piece of property that the Charles family still lives on, just east of Highway 128 in Boonville. They built a new mill building, moved in their equipment, and Charles Lumber Company was founded.
Mill cabins were built under a grove of trees on the property. Often consisting of two rooms with shared restrooms and wash rooms, the cabins were simple, sturdy structures for the workers to live in. One of these cabins still stands on the Charles property, next to one of the family homes.
In April of 1950, Twink and Homer built the house that Bill and Nancy Charles now live in. Bill Charles was born a month later. His older brother, Norman, was 12.
The early 1950s were rough, rowdy times. Fighting was a popular pastime, locals spoke Boontling (a crude language invented in the valley to exclude outsiders and women), and the valley's population was booming. There were multiple bars (including one called the Bucket of Blood), a movie theater, pharmacy and bank -- more amenities than can be found in present-day Boonville.
During this time, the Charles Lumber Company mill was up and running, and the family bought several pieces of property to source timber from. One of these pieces still remains in the family, perched on the hilltops to the west of Boonville. Another is the current site of the Boonville airport and adjacent subdivision, where many homes still have private plane hangars.
Twink was a pilot and was tired of putting his plane down in a pasture that had to be buzzed before each landing to clear the sheep from the runway. In the winter, there was no way to get to the runway at all because the creek would flood. So the family, with partners Bates and Rawles, built the airport and subdivided the adjacent land.
After the runway was built, the Anderson Valley High School instituted a flight program and bought a plane. It was through this program that Bill Charles earned his student pilot's license. (The program was later terminated and, though attempts were made, never reinstated due to insurance costs.)
Charles Lumber Company ran for 14 years, until the lumber business started to slow. Selling former timber land helped support the family afterward, until 1963, when Twink died of a heart attack. Bill Charles was just 12 years old. All the remaining assets were sold off, and only a few pieces of land remained -- land that the family still cherishes and enjoys.
In the ensuing years, most of the family managed to remain in the valley. Margaret, Norman and Bill stayed in the house built for them in 1950. Homer moved to Reno, and passed away in 1986. Margaret Charles lived in Anderson Valley until she died in 1996.
Norman Charles graduated with a degree in business from the University of California, Berkeley, and in the ensuing years lived in Sonoma County, back in Anderson Valley, and finally in Sedona, Ariz. He passed away in 1999 from stomach cancer. His wife and one of his three daughters still live in Anderson Valley.
Bill Charles graduated from Anderson Valley High School, earned a degree in physical science from Chico State University, then married Nancy Wilson and moved back to the family land in Boonville.
After their return, Bill and Nancy got very involved in agriculture and farming, as well as in wine. They also started a family of their own: Matt, Kristy and Tim were born between 1978 and 1986. All three grew up and attended school in Anderson Valley, then moved out of the area for college.
Charles Vineyard was planted in 2001 -- a marriage between the family's love of wine and agriculture. Fruit from the family vineyard is sold to wineries both inside and outside Anderson Valley, has garnered awards and accolades, and is the source of several vineyard-designate bottlings made by a high-end Sonoma County Pinot Noir producers.
In 2006, Bill, Nancy, Kristy and Joe started Foursight Wines: a small, family-owned and -operated winery founded with the goal of showcasing the best of Anderson Valley fruit and, in the process, enabling future generations of the Charles family to return to Anderson Valley and enjoy their heritage.
In 2007, Kristy Charles moved back to Anderson Valley with her husband, Joe Webb, and is currently living in the house she grew up in, with their son, Evan, born in 2015. Bill and Nancy now live in the house Bill grew up in.