William (Bill) Charles was born in Boonville, Calif. in 1950, to Margaret and Homer Charles, transplants from South Dakota and owners of Charles Lumber Company. Bill was one of two children: his older brother, Norman, was 12 when he was born.
Bill was raised on the family property during a booming time in Anderson Valley. He recalls waiting for the local school bus with 30 other kids who lived on the property -- all children of mill workers. Life was rough and rowdy; fighting was a normal, everyday activity around the lumber mills and the valley, and the valley's population was at an all-time high.
Bill graduated from Anderson Valley Senior High School in 1968, then moved to Santa Rosa, Calif., where he attended Santa Rosa Junior College. In 1970, he transferred to Chico State University, where he majored in physical science and was a member of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. It was also in Chico where he met his future wife, Nancy, a nursing student at the university (they would be married in 1974).
After college, Bill and Nancy moved back to Anderson Valley. For 15 years, Bill owned and operated William Charles Construction, designing and building custom homes in Mendocino and Sonoma counties. He was also involved in commercial real estate, as well as sustainable logging operations on his timber ranch in the valley.
His future as a grape grower was inevitable given his love of agriculture. From 1974 on, Bill and Nancy grew hay, raised cattle, harvested fresh eggs from their chicken coops, and tended a large garden and orchard. They also helped their children raise horses, sheep, rabbits, and one pig. To this day, Bill and Nancy still own McNab Shepherds: dogs originally bred in inland Mendocino County to be excellent livestock and all-around farm dogs. It was also around this time that Bill's brother, Norman, started collecting wine. A resident of Healdsburg, Calif., Norman would often enjoy his acquisitions with his brother and sister-in-law. This was the beginning of the Charles family's life-long love of good wine.
In 2001, Bill and Nancy planted Charles Vineyard -- 15 acres of Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon just east of the town of Boonville. Their grapes find a home with high-end Pinot Noir producers in Napa, Sonoma and Anderson Valley, not to mention their own label, Foursight Wines.
Bill can always be found making, fixing, or doing something around the property -- in fact, he designed and built the Foursight Wines tasting room and winemaking facility himself. Each year, however, he finds the time to do a little traveling during the winter off-season, and he enjoys cooking, crossword puzzles, reading and camping and four-wheeling with his family.