Antica Terra Wines By Maggie Harrison

A wine that came out of an unlikely career

Maggie Harrison's career path is best described as a zigzag.

After earning a degree in international relations, supporting travels across the globe by stints at restaurants and spending eight years at one of the nation's finest wineries, Sine Qua Non, Harrison has settled in Oregon. There, she bottles superb wines under the name Antica Terra.

The vineyard is named after the granite boulders transported to that section of the Willamette Valley by glaciers 15,000 years ago. All five of Antica Terra's wines–a Chardonnay, a rosé and three Pinot Noirs–are intriguing, reflecting not only the unusual terroir but also Harrison's quirky personality. She is part earth mother and part single-minded entrepreneur.

Harrison's first entirely estate-grown Pinot is due this month, but production is limited. If you can't snag a bottle, opt for the 2009 Antica Terra Pinot Noir ($54; click here to buy) instead. A complex, velvety wine redolent of cherries and warming spices, it's a wonderful alternative at half the price.

It seems that the conflict between Harrison's heart and mind has been resolved.