Amizetta Estate Vineyards – Howell Mountain, Napa
Established in 1979 when Amizetta and Spencer Clark moved from Texas, the vineyards were planted in the early 1980’s on an extremely steep, rocky, and porous terrain, making for arduous grape growing with limited yields. Combined with intensive hillside water stress conditions and vast southern exposure, these vineyards have historically brought forth spectacular grapes. Beginning with the 2002 harvest, only estate grapes have been used in the making of Amizetta estate wines, and the present releases may be the Clarks’ best. Three red wines are produced here; Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve (approx 300 cases - 100% Cabernet), Cabernet Sauvignon (approx 500 cases - 100% Cabernet), and Complexity (approx 500 cases – a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc blend). The wines at Amizetta are about elegance and finesse a style they have never wavered from.
Behrens Family Winery / Erna Schein – Spring Mountain, Napa
a boutique winery in the truest sense. Owned by Les Behrens and Lisa Drinkward, who’ve made wine under the Behrens & Hitchcock label since 1993, Erna Schein produces small lots of six or seven wines a year at its winery perched high on top of Spring Mountain in Napa Valley. Each wine is a low tech labor of love: crushed into one-ton T-bins, punched down by hand, gently transferred to barrel, and bottled unfined and unfiltered. One only has to look at Les and Lisa’s hands during harvest to know their wines are truly “hand-crafted.” The couple also gravitates toward small, interesting and low-yielding vineyard sites, primarily in Napa Valley and Mendocino County, working with growers who they know, like and trust, and who are as obsessive about quality as they are. For Les and Lisa, it’s all about letting the vineyards steal the show, and allowing the wines to speak for themselves.
David Arthur Vineyards – Pritchard Hill, Napa
The history of David Arthur Vineyards and the Long Family in the Napa Valley reaches back a half-century to the 1950s. At that time, Donald Long began steadily investing in land on Pritchard Hill. He owned a small grocery business in Menlo Park, and had long been interested in and drawn to the California wine industry. His vision and commitment to build a legacy and business for his family led to the acquisition of nearly 1,000 acres. Nearly two decades later, in the late 1970s, that vision came to fruition when his son David began planting vines on the property. Today, two generations work together to continue the family tradition at David Arthur Vineyards.
The winery and estate vineyards of David Arthur are situated high above the northeastern end of the Napa Valley, on Pritchard Hill. At elevations between 1,000-1,200 feet, Pritchard Hill boasts rocky volcanic soils, and a unique microclimate of very warm days and cool nights. The rough terrain stresses the vines, limiting grape production to tiny berries that may be small in stature, but provide immense, concentrated flavors in the wines. David Arthur’s location and use of estate grown fruit is integral to the full-bodied, complex wines associated with the label. In 2008, Nile Zacherle joined David Arthur Vineyards as winemaker.
Relic Wines – Soda Canyon, Napa
Relic Wines is the shared dream of husband and wife Mike Hirby and Schatzi Throckmorton. He was Assistant Winemaker at Behrens & Hitchcock Winery from 2000-2002 and left to make wine for Relic and other Napa Valley wineries including Realm Cellars, Rockledge Vineyards, Sherwin Family Vineyards, St. Helena Road Winery, and Winter. Schatzi's love for wine came as a surprise upon moving to the Napa Valley after college on a whim. She found her way quickly to Behrens & Hitchcock Winery, beginning work there in 2000 along with Mike, and now serves as the General Manager for both Behrens & Hitchcock Winery and Erna Schein.
White Rock Vineyards – Sona Canyon, Napa
In 1977, Henri & Claire Vandendriessche set out to revive White Rock Vineyards where a vineyard and winery had been established in 1870 by Dr. J Pettingill. The original stone winery still stands after being converted into their residence in the 1920's. A family affair, son’s Michael is vineyard manager and Christopher is the winemaker. The wines are made in an underground cave, dug in 1988 from the same white volcanic rock that characterizes the vineyards. This part of Napa Valley is well known as Cabernet country. 16 acres in Cabernet Sauvignon and five acres in Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot, on three terraced hillsides with northern and western exposures were planted in 1979. The 15 acre Chardonnay vineyard is planted in the lowest sector of the valley where Cabernet is less suitable. In its protected position in the Napa foothills, our 36-acre vineyard enjoys a micro-climate cooler than the valley floor. From the beginning, watering and fertilization was done sparingly, and pesticides have never used. Total production ranges from 1,000 to 1400 cases depending on vintage conditions.
The Cabernet Sauvignon and Claret are blends of several lots of Cabernet Sauvignon as well as Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. These are fermented separately and blended together over the first year as the character of the vintage develops. After two years of aging in 60 gallon French oak barrels, these varieties combine to produce Bordeaux-styled wines with rich and varied flavors, as well as a mineral character due to our special soils. The Chardonnay grapes, hand-picked into small boxes, are hand-sorted to retain only the best berries; they are then transferred directly into the press. In order to preserve the delicate fruit flavors and to extract only the most desirable juice, they do not use the crusher-stemmer which can save time but extracts the harsher tannins of crushed stems and seeds. The juice is then fermented and aged on the lees in French oak barrels. Regular stirring of these lees allows for a minimum use of sulfites and imparts a creaminess that balances our Chardonnay’s natural acidity and citrus fruit. Only partial malolactic fermentation is done so as to not mask the fruity and floral aromas of Chardonnay.
Wing Canyon Vineyard â€“ Mount Veeder, Napa
Wing Canyon Vineyard is a very small and remote bonded winery on steep hillside vineyards located near the top of Mt. Veeder. Access to the home and winery is a winding gravel road down a canyon, over a creek and through the redwoods (4 wheel drive recommended). Ten of 160 acres were cleared, terraced and planted with cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot and chardonnay. The soil is Felton gravelly loam with an average slope of 20%, west facing exposure and an elevation of 1200 feet. No irrigation is used after the young vines are established. The average rainfall on Mt Veeder is 60 inches. The vineyard has always been tended within the guidelines of organic, sustainable farming. Cover crops such as mustard, rose and crimson clovers provide home for many beneficial insects while improving soil quality. The vines are dry farmed which reduces yields but produces intense concentrated wines. Production here is minuscule with approximately 450 cases of Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and 250 cases of Merlot each year.
Meadowcroft Family Wines: Meadowcroft / Magito / Thomas Henry â€“ Sebasapol, Sonoma
Thomas Meadowcroftâ€™s passion for wines comes from his experiences growing up, working and traveling in Europe and the United States. Early in life, Tom started his journey in winemaking by working the harvest of 1979 in Bordeaux. Later in life, he worked at wineries in Washington and Napa, attended UC Davis and Napa College, and then became a vineyard manager focused on sustainable farming and environmental advocacy. Managing dozens of properties for the top wineries in Napa and Sonoma taught him the principles of winegrowing and gave me a vision for the kinds of wines that I make today.
Porter Creek Vineyards â€“ Russian River Valley (New Jersey and Pennsylvania only)
1997 was Alex Davis' first vintage as winemaker after working and studying in Burgundy for several years with Gugial, Bernard Michelot and Roumier, as well as working with his father at Porter Creek, on and off, since his childhood. Porter Creek is the last winery on Westside as you leave Healdsburg. Climatically they are just a bit cooler than the Rochioli vineyard because the coastal influence increases as you follow the Russian River downstream.
Porter Creek makes vineyard designated Pinot Noirs and an unfiltered Chardonnay coming exclusively from their estate vineyards. The vineyards were all planted between 1977 and 1983 and they are grown mostly on hillside ground with yields ranging from 1.5 tons to 4 tons per acre. For 1997, Porter Creek started buying a small amount of Syrah from a new hillside vineyard a few more miles down Westside Rd. The total production is about 2,000 cases per year.
Three to four day cold soak for the Pinot Noirs and a fairly long fermentation using only indigenous yeasts, pressing the day after fermentation has ended. The grapes are picked fairly early in order to protect the acidity levels. The use of new oak averages about 30%. Certified Organic/Biodynamic!
Wellington Vineyards â€“ Glen Ellen, Sonoma
Wellington Vineyards is owned by the father and son team of John and Peter Wellington. John purchased the winery site in 1986. At the time, it consisted of 20 acres of old vines and a few decrepit old fruit and nut trees. Replanting of part of the old vineyard and orchard started in 1988. The winery was completed in time for the 1989 crush. They grow approximately half the grapes used and purchase the remainder, primarily from small, unique vineyards. The estate vineyards consist of 21 acres, 8 of which are 85 to 117 years old. There are 24 different varieties in the old vineyard, with the most common being Zinfandel, Carignan, Alicante Bouschet, Grenache and Syrah. In addition, there are 10 acres of eleven to sixteen year old vines that consist of Merlot, Chardonnay, Marsanne, and Syrah, Zinfandel and Grenache.
In the vineyard we practice sustainable agriculture. Wellington uses a blend of organic and traditional farming practices that promote healthy vines and a healthy environment. New, irrigated vineyard blocks have permanent cover crops in order to help replenish the soil and to provide habitat for beneficial insects and spiders. The old, dry-farmed blocks are still cultivated, in order to retain soil moisture. Sulfur dust, used for millennia to control powdery mildew, is the only thing that we ever put on the vines; fortunately they have never needed insecticides.
Winemaking is custom tailored to each small lot of grapes (typical lot size is less than four tons). There are no standard practices other than utilization of the utmost care in handling grapes and wine. All wines are aged in small oak barrels, clarified by racking and are bottled either unfiltered or with minimal filtration. The oak regimen is currently 90% French, 10% American. 100% solar!
Coleman Vineyards â€“ McMinnville, Oregon
Coleman Vineyard wine is estate grown and produced by co-vintners Randy and Kim Coleman. Along with mother nature, they have complete control over the winery and vineyard site from the time the vines first bloom in the spring until the cork is placed in the bottle. They strive to express the terroir in the wines, a reflection of our unique site and climate, with gentle, minimal winemaking techniques. Winemaker Randy Coleman manages the crush and winemaking process along with overseeing the vineyard and crews through the growing season. He manages to balance out Kim's obssesiveness in the winemaking process. Randy and Kim studied viticulture and winemaking through the continuing education program at University of California at Davis.
The vineyard consists of 13.5 acres of Pinot Noir, along with 9 acres of Pinot Gris. The site is 300-500 feet elevation with silty clay loams on a fractured volcanic basalt base. The vineyard is close to the Van Duzer corridor, an opening through the Coast Range mountains to the Oregon coast, providing hot summer days with afternoon winds cooling the evening temperatures significantly. The area is 40 million years old, formed from oceanic volcanic uprisings followed by deposits of lava from the Cascade Mountain volcanic eruptions known as 'basalt tufts'. The grapes are cropped each year to approximately 2 tons/acre and dry farmed for ripening and intensity of the wine.
The Estate Pinot Noir is fermented using native yeast along with four selected yeast strains and 25% new French oak. The wine is sur lie aged and stirred in barrel. The hint of spice is complemented by 10 months of French oak barrel aging. The Estate Pinot Gris is stainless steel fermented with three selected yeast strains to maintain a crisp, fruity style.
Kim and Randy Coleman are devoted to expressing the beauty, soil, and maritime-influenced climate of their vineyards in the Coastal Foothills of the Willamette Valley Oregon, Their critically acclaimed Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris wines are estate grown and produced. Coleman Vineyard is in the McMinnville AVA.