2021 Featured Wineries
2021 Tête de Cuvée
Donald Olson, M.D. of Torii Mor Winery
Torii Mor Winery
Torii Mor Winery started with a vision: the pursuit of elegant, Old World style Pinot Noirs. Dr. Donald Olson moved to Oregon to pursue this vision and purchased an older vineyard in the Willamette Valley, planted in 1972, and renamed it Olson Estate Vineyard. High in the Dundee Hills, the ten acres of old vines produce high-quality Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay year after year. After the first vintage in 1993 with just 1,000 cases, Torii Mor now produces 10,000 cases annually under the direction of Burgundian winemaker Jacques Tardy.
Donald Olson, M.D. Bio
Originally from Wisconsin, Dr. Donald Olson, made the quest to Oregon in the 1980’s to acquire prime vineyard property in the emerging wine region of the Willamette Valley. He purchased an existing vineyard and Japanese garden outside the town of Dundee and officially became a vineyard owner, selling fruit to local wineries. In 1993, he decided to produce his own wine and created Torii Mor Winery. The name derives from the “torii” gate in the property’s Japanese garden and the ancient Scandinavian word for “earth”….the perfect combination of Dr. Olson’s passion and heritage.
Richard Cooksey of AXR Napa Valley
AXR Napa Valley
The AXR dream began with four friends sitting around a table sharing, dreaming, laughing, and occasionally sipping! The room was filled with an intense passion for wine and a good intention to be true to themselves and the history of Napa Valley: this is where AXR was born. By utilizing modern and innovative techniques in the cellar, we extract the unique soul of Napa Valley’s soils into wines enjoyable now, or many years to come.
Michael Baldacci of Baldacci Family Vineyards
Baldacci Family Vineyards
Found in 1998, Tom and Brenda Baldacci were entranced by the beauty of the Napa Valley and the timeless heritage of the Stags’ Leap District. The generations before had left a deep and abiding affinity for the land from which came not only their livelihood, but their legacy. The Baldacci’s felt that they could transfer that way of life to yet another generation and share this picturesque property with others who seek a refuge from the hectic pace of everyday living. The winery focuses on estate grown wines with an emphasis on Cabernet Sauvignon.
Michael Baldacci – President
Exceptional quality wine all begins with a passion. “My passion is one rooted in family,” Michael says, “a passion to produce honest wines that best embody my family’s love for great wine and the unique estate vineyards that Baldacci represents.”
Though he was born and raised in the Bay Area, Michael Baldacci spent many days as a young boy walking his family’s vineyards. Struck early on by the delicacy with which man and nature must work together to make beautiful wines, Michael returned to Napa Valley as an adult to become part of the team at Baldacci Family Vineyards. New to the business but a veteran of the land, Michael took on a managerial role at the winery after four years of undergraduate study in Los Angeles. He approached the business with the same goal his father had had nearly twelve years before: to make wines that represent the character of the land, the grapes, and the family’s traditions.
Michael can be found all around the winery, from the cellar to the tasting room, behind a desk or in the vineyards he first walked as a child. “The Stags Leap District is an iconic area of Napa,” he believes, “and our family’s wines strive to show each and every consumer why it is truly the best area in the world to grow world class Cabernet.” This desire to produce outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon wines has kept Michael in the vineyards and in the classroom. He continues to educate himself through UC Davis extension courses as well as to stay active in the industry as a board member of Next Generation and as a committee member with the Napa Valley Vintners. Michael tastes wine regularly in a variety of forums and participates in different winemaking trials that examine the effects of various harvest strategies, fermentation protocols and aging vessels. “Wine is so multi-faceted. The topics in viticulture and enology are always evolving and I participate frequently in tastings that continue to demonstrate the incredible balance between artistry and science.”
Jackie Deveny of Ballentine Vineyards
Jackie Deveny is the Direct To Consumer Sales Manager at Ballentine Vineyards. Originally from a small farming town in Montana, Jackie followed the grapes to Australia and New Zealand to learn about wine. In 2010, Jackie secured a harvest internship in Napa, California and hasn’t left. What was supposed to be a 10 week job has turned into a passion and career! Eleven years later, Jackie now finds herself working for an old school Napa winery called Ballentine Vineyards.
Now operated by third and fourth generation family, this farming family has deep roots in Napa. Fourth generation Frank Ballentine grew up working in the vineyards along side his parents and grandparents. Their family came to Napa in 1906 and has been farming grapes ever since. 80 estate acres are farmed in St. Helena and Calistoga. As stewards of our vineyards, we meticulously farm this land to represent the best of every vintage. Today, they specialize in making small production wines from these vines. Ballentine is best known for their Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. From 50 cases to 350 cases per wine, these wines are exclusive to our winery and not widely available.
Andy Bartee of Barnett Vineyards
Barnett Vineyards’ first harvest was in 1989 and yielded 232 cases of Cabernet. The winery has expanded gradually since then, selecting outstanding vineyard sites for grapes in addition to those grown on the estate, and now produces approximately 8,000 total cases. Rattlesnake and Spring Mountain District wines, including Merlot and Cabernet Franc, remain the focus with total estate production varying between 5,000 and 6,000 cases annually. In addition, we produce limited amounts Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc sourced from single vineyards located in desired appellations.
Winemaking and viticulture practices at Barnett Vineyards are influenced by the artisan craft of creating wines by hand. Due to the estate’s low yielding vineyard, it is critical to hand-harvest the vineyard vine-by-vine to ensure each cluster is picked at optimal ripeness. This manual work is additionally challenging on a 35º slope that is not conducive to any normal farm equipment.
David Tate, Winemaker and General Manager
David has been the winemaker at Barnett Vineyards for twelve complete vintages, beginning with 2007. Prior to working with Barnett, David was the assistant winemaker at Ridge vineyards for five years atop Montebello in the Santa Cruz Mountains; his years with Ridge laid the groundwork for David’s commitment to quality and understanding of what it takes to produce premium, world-class wine with a sense of place.
In addition, David has worked in the Barossa Valley, Australia; Provence, France; Canterbury, New Zealand and has traveled to every fine wine region in the world. David graduated from Brock University in 2002, with an Honors Degree in Enology and Viticulture. David’s research work has been published and he is an advocate for wine education, helping to teach portions of the Wine and Spirits Education trust in his free time.
Ann and Jack Seifrick of Cast Wines
Tucked into the forest on a tranquil bench above our Grey Palm vineyard in beautiful Dry Creek Valley, Cast grows and produces wines in limited quantities highlighting the best grapes of Sonoma County. Cast makes estate Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, Bacigalupi Family Pinot Noir and Keefer Ranch Chardonnay, both from the Russian River Valley, and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Pyramid Vineyard in Alexander Valley. Our property’s spellbinding views and our seated tasting experience combine to offer an ideal setting for enjoying wines crafted by veteran winemaker Mike Gulyash. Annual production of approximately 3,500 cases began with the 2012 vintage.
Ann and Jack Seifrick, Founders
Founded in 2012 by Dallasites Ann & Jack Seifrick with the help of numerous Texas friends and family, Cast celebrates a love of wine and beautiful places. On a 2011 visit to Healdsburg during harvest, a wrong turn on a bike ride turned into a delightful talk with a local winery owner, setting off a series of intriguing thoughts along the lines of “maybe this is our path…” Within six months the Seifricks found an incredible vineyard, teamed up with veteran winemaker Mike Gulyash, and launched Cast. Now splitting time between Dallas and the winery, they enjoy sharing Cast with wine lovers near and far.
Bailey Cooksey of Cornell Vineyards
Land on a former stagecoach route in Sonoma County. Located West of Napa Valley’s Spring Mountain district, it was apparent early settlers tended to vines there once upon a time. With respect for the land foremost in his mind, Henry purchased the rugged, untamed property and returned the rolling hillsides to vineyards.
For twenty years, Henry and his wife Vanessa have accepted the challenges of doing right by the land and invested in a sustainable infrastructure that gives back more than it borrows. Fueled by a desire to leave a legacy to their five children, the Cornell’s patiently waited until their ninth harvest to produce their first commercial vintage of Cornell Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon in 2013.
With just three vintages released, Cornell Vineyards has found a seat in an elite group of vintners producing world-class Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County. Under the guidance of winemakers Francoise Peschon and Elizabeth Tangney, the wine is receiving recognition among consumers, trade, and press.
The diversity of the landscape at Cornell Vineyards and the rolling terrain led to the identification of 20 distinct blocks originally planted in 2001, and partially replanted in 2013.
With vines as with wine, there is no substitute for the passing of time when it comes to acquiring and expressing the elements of greatness; an equilibrium must be reached, roots and vine architecture established, and the need for irrigation and
fertilization minimized or eliminated.
Approaching their third decade now, the vines at Cornell Vineyards have had time to get to know the mountain – its diverse,
colorful soils, extreme terrain, and distinct seasons – and the team has had time to get to know the vines and the unique
wines they produce.
In the vineyard, the team continually seeks to deepen their understanding of the intricacies of the land in order to capture
its expression most faithfully. That knowledge comes with time, but also with a certain intimacy rooted in the love of a place.
In 2015 Henry and Vanessa Cornell invited the vineyard crew and their families to live on the property year-round, to share
the bond they feel with the land and make it their home. This has yielded a mutual commitment and deep connection to the
estate which is at once nature, farm and home.
As Cornell Vineyards enters its third decade, inspiration is drawn from the footsteps that first walked on this land. Every day, the team works in harmony with this wild land respecting the delicate balance of nature and understanding the powerful potential of human interaction. The team is led by humble intentions to honor this place sustainably.
Since 2014, Cornell Vineyards has been certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF). This validates their commitment to organic standards promoting and enhancing the unique biodiversity, biological cycles, soil fertility, and ecological harmony of the land.
Cornell Vineyards is also certified fish friendly farming by the California Land Stewardship Institute for their work to restore natural habitat conditions for the endangered Steelhead trout, Chinook and Coho salmon species.
Bailey manages the hospitality program and brand operations for Cornell Vineyards. Her role is the connector between Cornell’s loyal followers and the wines they collect and enjoy so ardently. Her individualized approach rests on the relationships she cultivates with mailing list members. Bailey brings ten years of experience with family-owned Cabernet producers to Cornell.
Philippe Blanck of Domaine Paul BLANCK
Domaine Paul BLANCK
In 1610, Hans Blanck, the family’s Austrian ancestor, acquired the first vines in Alsace. Jacques Philippe Blanck obtained a medal for his work as a winemaker in 1846, and in 1927 found Paul Blanck and a handful of other winemakers being recognized as the driving force behind turning the site of Schlossberg into a pilot site for a future grand cru.
In 1975, with the creation of the grand cru appellation in Alsace, Bernard and Marcel Blanck, the sons, played a determining role. Schlossberg was the first to be assigned this appellation. A new generation of winemakers—Frédéric and Philippe—entered the scene in 1985. Their main preoccupation is respecting the vines and the soil upon which they are planted.
The domain has increased its surface area from 24 to 36 hectares with five grand crus accounting for more than a third.
The Blanck Family
A dynasty of winemakers A dynasty of winemakers:
In 1610 , Hans Blanck, the family’s Austrian ancestor, acquired the first vines in Alsace.
In 1846 , Jacques Philippe Blanck obtained a medal for his work as a winemaker.
In 1927 , Paul Blanck and a handful of other winemakers were recognized as the driving force behind turning the site of Schlossberg into a pilot site for a future grand cru.
In 1975 , with the creation of the grand cru appellation in Alsace, Bernard and Marcel Blanck, the sons, played a determining role. Schlossberg was the first to be assigned this appellation.
In 1985 came a new generation of winemakers: Frédéric and Philippe.
Their main preoccupation is respecting the vines and the soil upon which they are planted. The Domain has increased its surface area from 24 to 36 hectares with five grands crus accounting for more than a third.
This is a reality for the Blancks. The proof is that two generations of Blancks work hand in hand. The sons, Frédéric and Philippe work incessantly under the supervision of Bernard and Marcel to improve their wines and move in new directions.
“Our main objective is to create authentic wines of pure pleasure for food and wine-lovers throughout the world.”
Bernard, Marcel, Frédéric and Philippe Blanck (Owners)
Dating to the 17th century, Domain Paul Blanck represents an exemplary synthesis of history and tradition flawlessly combined with innovation. The net result of which in an invitingly diverse range of stylish and lively wines.
The Blanck are Environment Conscious. The 36 hectares of the Domain are farmed with traditional cupper and sulphur treatment, and no fertilizer. All the vineyards are ploughed several times in the year. Indigene grass is growing to develop the biodiversity of the fauna.
The Blanck’s main objective is to create wines of pure pleasure for food and wine-lovers throughout the World.
The thirty different wines from the property can be separated into three main types:
- Fruit-driven wines: which enable the wine-lover to discover the aromatic finesse of the Alsace grape varieties ;
- “Terroir” wines: with stony characteristics from the single vineyard’s wines and Grand Crus which express the plenitude of limestone, the sweetness and firmness of clay, the harmony of manganese an the racy bouquet and power coming from silica ;
- Nectars wines: Late Harvested and “Grains Nobles” wines, issued from over ripe grapes which are mysterious, opulent, complex and exhuberant.
Our wines come only from our own vineyards and are made in our own cellars.
Grape varieties: Chasselas, Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Auxerrois, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Muscat, Gewurztraminer.
The Classic grape varieties of Alsace and Cremant d’Alsace,
The “Crus” Wines:
Altenbourg, Patergarten, Rosenbourg,
The “Grands Crus” Wines:
Schlossberg, Furstentum, Mambourg, Sommerberg, Wineck-Schlossberg.
Bob Egelhoff of Egelhoff Wines
Chad Nazum of HALL Winery & WALT Wines
HALL Winery and WALT Wines
A rich history spanning 150 years, HALL St. Helena’s location was once the home of the Napa Valley Co-Op, producing 40% of Napa Valley’s wines. Today, the Hall family has meticulously restored the 1885 Bergfeld Winery and merged history and innovation with the completion of California’s first LEED® Gold Certified winery, in addition to a stunning new visitors’ center and state of-the-art gravity-flow winemaking facility. The Tasting Room & Winery at HALL St. Helena goes above and beyond the tasting experience of any winery currently in Napa. Featuring floor to ceiling glass windows that offer a unique sense of place in the valley, the Tasting Room, designed by local Napa architect Jarrod Denton of Signum Architecture, offers entertaining education, unique wine experiences, includes a fully-equipped demo kitchen and incredible art immersed throughout the property.
• HALL Wines is a family-owned, critically acclaimed premier Napa Valley vineyard and winery with five estate vineyards of classic Bordeaux varietals
• The Winery & Tasting Room is located on the historic Bergfeld Vineyard at the base of the Mayacama Mountains and just north of Mt. Saint Helena
• The Winery boasts a collection of over 30 pieces of both commissioned and collected 21st century modern art
• HALL’s highly rated wines have included the 2008 ‘Kathryn Hall’ Cabernet Sauvignon selected as Wine Spectator’s #2 wine in the world in 2011, the 2010 ‘Exzellenz’ which received 100 points from Robert Parker in 2013, and the 2006 ‘Exzellenz’ selected as Wine Enthusiast’s #1 wine in the world in 2009.
• HALL’s Napa Valley estate vineyards are Certified Organic and employ cutting-edge vineyard technology to yield the highest quality grapes
• Established in 2005, HALL Wines remains a privately held, boutique company that employees over 100 people
WALT is dedicated to the production of premier Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Pacific Coast’s most distinctive vineyard sites, spanning nearly 1000 miles and including Sta. Rita Hills, Los Carneros, Sonoma County, Anderson Valley, and the Willamette Valley. Our philosophy is that of precision, non-interventionist winemaking, thereby allowing the wines to naturally and honestly express the character of the site where the wines are grown. Under the artisanship of Director of Winemaking Steve Leveque and Winemaker Megan Gunderson Paredes, WALT Wines will continue to evolve and develop.
Chad Nuzum joined HALL in August 2012 and is our Central Regional Manager based in Dallas, TX and his territory includes nine states. Prior to joining the HALL team, Chad worked for four years on the distributor side with Glazer’s. During his time there he had experience selling Diageo, LVMH, Constellation, and Gallo to retail accounts in Houston. Chad joined Glazer’s fine wine division and became a key account representative handling high profile restaurant and retail accounts. He moved to Dallas in 2012 and continued working within the fine wine division before joining HALL. Chad received his bachelor’s degree in Business Management with an Entrepreneur focus from Louisiana State University.
Debbie Leal of Knights Bridge Winery
Knights Bridge Winery
Luis brings nearly 30 years of sales and hospitality experience to the position, most recently as Director of Sales, Southeast Region and National Accounts for Domaine Serene Vineyards and Winery in Williamette Valley, Oregon. Prior to that, he served as Sales Director, Latin America and Caribbean as well as Southeast Regional Director for Jackson Family Wines.
Luis Reyneri is a Certified Wine Educator and Advanced Sommelier, and his background includes extensive, large-scale staff training, serving as Adjunct Professor at the University of Las Vegas, NV, head judge for the Miami International Wine Fair, and serving as sommelier at prestigious wine events such as the Naples Winter Wine Festival, Napa Valley Wine Auction, Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival and the Wine Spectator Grand Tastings.
Luis resides in Hobe Sound, FL with his wife Jen, and their two sons. He is joining Knights Bridge Winery during a time of exciting growth as we look ahead to new vineyard plantings and the anticipated construction of our estate winery. He brings with him a broad understanding of the wine business as well as the requisite hospitality and brand building expertise that will greatly benefit our organization.
JP Havens of Macauley Vineyard
The MACAULEY VINEYARD label was originally established in St. Helena in the early 1980s by Ann Macauley Watson and for several years produced a very well received late harvest Sauvignon Blanc with help from renowned winemaker, Ric Forman. In the late summer of 2000, Ann’s son Mac went to work for Rudd Estate in Oakville. After several months of winery work and education he was inspired to revive the family label, and, working with winemaker and childhood friend Kirk Venge, crushed his first grapes in October 2001. Mac and Kirk have one goal: to source the highest quality fruit in Napa Valley and make wines of extraordinary depth and personality. The grapes they choose showcase the terroir of the vineyards and create a remarkable wine-drinking experience.
Kirk Venge – Winemaker
Second-generation winemaker Kirk Venge grew up in the Napa Valley. At his father’s side, he learned about farming and winemaking, feeling at home in the cellar at an early age. While pursuing his enology degree at the University of California at Davis, Venge worked at Mumm Napa Valley for five years in their experimental division. Upon graduation, Venge sought to expand his winemaking knowledge by traveling to New Zealand and working harvest in the southern hemisphere. Equipped with a broader sense of viticultural techniques, Venge returned to Napa to partner with his father in the creation of Venge Vineyards. Today, Venge brings his skill and passion to Macauley Vineyard. Those who know Kirk Venge will attest to his acute palate. His wines reflect balance and finesse. Because Kirk believes that wines are made in the vineyard, he is relentless in his quest to find the very best vineyard locations and sources of fruit.
Brown Uzoechi of Merry Edwards Winery
Merry Edwards Winery
One of California’s first woman winemakers, Merry Edwards began her career at Mount Eden Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1974. She went on to become the founding winemaker at Matanzas Creek in 1977 and remained there until 1984. For the next decade, Merry consulted for numerous wineries, large and small, in Oregon and many diverse appellations of California.
In 1997, family and friends joined Merry to found Merry Edwards Winery, with a focus on producing Pinot Noirs with a sense of place from Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast. In 2008, she and her husband, Ken Coopersmith, completed their winery on the site of Coopersmith Vineyard. It was then expanded in 2010. In this venue, tastings are hosted to educate visitors about Merry’s handcrafted wines and site-specific viticulture.
Along with two regional blends, six vineyard-designated Pinot Noirs are bottled. In 2001, a barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc was added to the portfolio. Merry is also now making a single-vineyard designate Chardonnay from the venerable Olivet Lane, as well as an occasional late harvest Sauvignon Blanc and late-disgorged-style of sparkling wine.
In 2013, Merry’s 40th year as a winemaker, she was not only inducted into the Culinary Institute of America’s Vintners Hall of Fame, she also won the coveted James Beard Award for Best Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional in the United States, just the fourth woman to be so honored. This past year, Merry’s winery was ranked the No. 2 top-selling brand in America’s finest restaurants in Wine & Spirits Magazine’s annual poll, as well as No. 1 selling Pinot Noir.
Jason Moore of Modus Operandi Cellars
Modus Operandi Cellars
Growing up in Dallas, as a 24 year old kid, winemaker wasn’t exactly the most obvious career path that springs to mind, but after working as a waiter in several of the city’s finest restaurants, acquiring a love for all things wine, getting the go-ahead from his bride to be, and selling everything that they owned, Jason Moore was off to California where yes, he had the lofty aspiration and dream of becoming a Winemaker.
Completely self-taught thru diligent self-study and the utilization of winemaking mentors, he knew that true learning when it comes to such a stylistically artistic yet mind blowingly organic and mystifying thing such as winemaking can ONLY be accomplished through hands on experience MAKING WINE. There is absolutely no substitute. Jason honed his craft in the garage of an elderly vineyard owner in Napa. He grew the grapes, made the wine, and they split the product on bottling day.
In 2004 at the age of 26, Jason officially started his professional career by launching Modus Operandi Cellars with 200 cases of Napa Cabernet. 2006 brought a new chapter where he was hired to manage the custom crush winery where I made Modus. Here Jason was responsible for over 1000 tons of grapes and literally hundreds of fermentations, working closely with 14 of the winery’s clients… a perfect crash course for the current chapter of my life. Now, he is currently the Consulting Winemaker for 5 small wine brands spanning Napa, Sonoma, Monterey, Sierra Foothills, and the Agoura Hills of Malibu.
It has been Jason’s great honor to have his wine poured at a historical State Dinner at the White House. Author Michael Connely has also written Modus Operandi into the bestselling novel The Black Box. This wine was hand selected to be paired with food prepared by Celebrity Chef Tom Coliccio at the 2013 Aspen Food and Wine festival.
Jason is so thankful to God that at such a young age, he found his passion and was fortunate enough to be able to enjoy it as a career. He believes that winemaking is an art that is supported by science however a solid conceptual understanding of the science is also necessary.
Katie & Austin Pitzer of Noblemen Wines
Noblemen Wines, founded in 2019 by husband and wife duo Austin and Katie Pitzer, is a quality-focused Texas wine brand with an emphasis on producing Mourvedre wines. We source old school, heritage varietals that originated throughout southern Europe, and today, those vines thrive in the Texas climate.
During our search throughout Texas’s wine regions for premium Mourvedre, we often discover other incredible varietals in the same old school vein, such as a zesty Piqupol Blanc or a full bodied Tannat. We developed our Outlier program to showcase those special grapes in limited quantities and share them alongside our flagship Noblemen Wines Mourvedre.
The name, Noblemen, pays tribute to the ‘Noblemen of Texas,’ a group of German nobility that led an emigration effort to the state in the 1840’s. These ‘Noblemen’ eventually founded the town of Fredericksburg, which is now the center of wine tourism in Texas. Included in this group were some of Austin’s family members, making it that much more significant to recognize their contributions to this region.
Together with winemaker John Rivenberg, we carry on the pioneering spirit of the ‘Noblemen of Texas’ by consistently searching for these specific historical varietals, and by doing so, are bridging the gap between past and present. Between Texas’s history and the state’s modern-day winemaking efforts. Based in Kerrville, Texas, the portfolio celebrates the character of each vintage and the terroir from where they originate. We are so excited to welcome you into our journey.
Shawn Lutwak of Palmaz Vineyards
Originally from the Chicago area a die-hard Cubs fan, Shawn Lutwak was born in 1971 and graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1994. Shawn has been part of the Napa Valley culture for nearly 28 years dating back to 1993 when he began doing cellar work at Cosentino Winery. A steady climb from the cellar to V.P. of sales transpired over the next 14 years where he further gained knowledge about Napa Valley Wines and the distribution network. In May of 2007 he joined the Palmaz Family, a boutique family owned winery specializing in estate grown, gravity fed and cave aged limited production wines. Shawn’s passions revolve around his dogs, football, food and wine. Shawn currently lives in California where he remains close to the Napa Valley when he is not traveling the country sharing his knowledge on Napa Valley and the Palmaz Wines.
Palmaz Vineyards’ winemaking takes place in a flawlessly engineered maze of tunnels and domes carved into rock at the base of Napa’s Mount George.
The winery is built into an 18-story cavern in the flank of Mount George, providing it with not only all the benefits of gravity-flow winemaking but also the natural temperature control of a cave. By eliminating mechanical pumps from the winemaking process, gravity-flow design minimizes the turbulence that damages wines’ molecular structure.
At the heart of the winery sits the fermentation dome, lined with 24 fermentation tanks that can accommodate grapes from individual vineyards across the estate. The sophisticated monitoring systems for each tank allow winery team members to project a broad range of data (including thermal imaging) onto the ceiling of the dome.
The World Underground
Palmaz Vineyards’ gravity-flow and gravity-finish subterranean winery, the Cave, is a remarkable feat of engineering, harmoniously fusing tradition and technology to produce world-class vintages. Take a step-by-step tour of this unique underground world.
Lisa Peju of PEJU Winery
Peju Province Winery, founded in 1982 by Tony and Herta Peju, is a family-owned boutique winery located in the Rutherford Appellation in the heart of the Napa Valley. Peju’s organically farmed Rutherford Estate Vineyard is home to 30 acres planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc and is ideally situated between Highway 29 and the west bank of the Napa River. Peju also produces wines from its sustainably farmed Persephone Vineyard (Pope Valley) and planting is underway at the Wappo Vineyard (Dutch Henry Canyon).
Visitors are welcomed into a magnificent 50-foot tasting room tower to sample Peju’s award-winning wines, including its flagship HB Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Provence, a proprietary blend of red and white varietals. Peju visitors can also enjoy pristine gardens, art exhibits and a full-working kitchen that hosts a variety of events and classes, all part of what earned Peju Wine & Spirits Magazine’s Top Artisan Winery of the Year.
There’s no such thing as a typical day for Lisa Peju. The oldest Peju daughter is always on the go, sometimes traveling to three different states during a week’s time to represent the winery at winemaker dinners, trade and consumer events and to meet with retailers.
The Peju’s Rutherford estate has been home to Lisa since she was six years old. It was then that she moved with her parents from Southern California to wine country to begin a life devoted to growing grapes, producing high-quality wines and finding new and innovative ways to market the family brand.
Lisa spent her childhood attending Napa Valley schools during the day and tending to the vineyard in the evenings and on weekends. It wasn’t uncommon to see Lisa and her sister Ariana driving the family four-wheeler along the property’s dirt paths with piles of grapes in the back bed.
After graduating from St. Helena High School, Lisa attended Marymount College in Palos Verdes and then U.C. Santa Barbara to study marketing and graphic design with plans of becoming a computer animator. But a summer trip to Paris in 1999 to study French at Sorbonne University with Ariana planted the seeds for another calling. In 2001, the French language came in handy as Herta took her daughters to VIN EXPO in Bordeaux, the largest wine Exposition in the World. Lisa enjoyed promoting Peju’s wines so much that she decided to change career paths and join the family business as a marketing and public relations ambassador.
Since joining Peju in 2001, Lisa has traveled throughout Europe and Asia, including Japan, Korea and Hong Kong, representing Peju. In the United States, Lisa has covered the map and led the charge to reach younger customers : Peju’s consumers of the future.
Alan Ramey of Ramey Wine Cellars
Alan, along with his sister Claire, is Co-Owner and Co-President of Ramey Wine Cellars. Having worked throughout most areas the winery, he now coordinates decisions throughout the business, and participates in the winemaking sessions with his father, sister, and the winemaking team.
Alan was able to taste wine at the family dinner table from a young age. Early on, he worked harvests at Veramonte, in Casablanca, Chile and then at the renowned Domaine Méo-Camuzet in the village of Vosne-Romanée in the Côte de Nuits of Burgundy.
Outside of work, Alan is completing his certificate in winemaking from UC Davis, he sits on the New Gen Committee of the Sonoma County Vintners, he’s an alternate on the board of the Wine Institute and he is involved in several blind tasting groups.
Sam Dungan of Revana Family Vineyard
Revana Family Vineyard
Founded in 1997, Revana Family Vineyards is a portfolio of wine growing estates with a single purpose – to produce site-specific wines from exceptional vineyards. With estates in California’s Napa Valley, Oregon’s Willamette Valley and Argentina’s Uco Valley, each wine conveys a distinct sense of time and place. The vision of Dr. Madaiah Revana, his Revana Wine Portfolio is comprised of three remarkable brands: Revana, Alexana and Corazon del Sol. Working with the world’s top vineyard managers & winemakers, Dr. Revana provides the guiding philosophy of quality as his paramount goal and that winemaking begins in the vineyard.
Revana Family Vineyard | Napa Valley | Est. 1997
Vineyard | The Revana Estate is a meticulously farmed 9-acre parcel planted in 1998 from virgin ground. Located on the valley floor in the heart of the St. Helena AVA where deep, well-drained alluvial soils pair with warm days and cool nights providing optimum conditions for growing world-class Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
Winemaker | Thomas Rivers Brown’s artfully restrained approach to winemaking allows for the purest expression of the Revana Estate. Utilizing native yeasts, gentle maceration and attention to every detail – Thomas crafts wines of depth, character and elegance.
Alexana Winery | Willamette Valley | Est. 2005
Vineyard | The Alexana Estate is a geologically diverse 80-acre parcel consisting of 18 different soil types that are within one single area. Located between 320-650 feet elevation in the pristine Dundee Hills AVA where sustainable farming methods are used to cultivate premium Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling & Pinot Gris.
Winemaker | Bryan Weil’s minimalist approach to winemaking allows each vintage to tell the vineyard’s story of the growing season. Using only small lot fermentations and native yeasts, Bryan creates texture driven wines of complexity, sophistication and balance.
Corazon Del Sol | Uco Valley | Est. 2008
Vineyard |The Corazon Del Sol Estate is a 17-acre parcel planted in an ancient stone covered riverbed at the eastern base of the Andes Mountains in Argentina. Located near the Los Sauces village at 3600 feet elevation, where the UV Index is intense and the air is thinner & cooler. Extreme shifts in temperature allow for the longest ripening window in the region and enables
us to grow Bordeaux and Rhone Varietals of the highest caliber.
Winemaker | Santiago Achaval’s methodical, purist philosophy respects and passes on what the vines have given the fruit with very little intervention. His caretaker like approach employs gentle extraction and co-fermentation techniques that allow him to craft wines of power, density and finesse.
Heather Kormos of Saint Helena Winery
Saint Helena Winery
Saint Helena Winery is a small, private winery specializing in estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignons. Winemakers Aaron Pott and Associate Winemaker Lindsey Wallingford guide the creation of their wines, the total wine production is less than 1,500 cases annually.
The winery was founded with the 2000 vintage of Sympa Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, with one barrel only made by famed winemaker Mark Herold. For many years they sold fruit to notable neighbors Opus One, Merus and Quintessa. The estate is not open to the public, rather by invitation only.
CONSULTING WINEMAKER – AARON POTT
Aaron Pott studied enology at the University of California-Davis and became assistant winemaker at Newton under John Kongsgaard, a winemaker he credits as his first great mentor. With a desire to make wine in France and with encouragement from international oenologist Michel Rolland, Aaron became winemaker at Chateau Troplong Mondot, a Premier Grand Cru Classe, and later at Chateau La Tour Figeac, a Grand Cru Classe from Saint-Émilion.
ASSOCIATE WINEMAKER & VINEYARD MANAGER – LINDSEY WALLINGFORD
Lindsey brings 10 years of wine industry expertise earned from holding various positions in winemaking regions across the U.S., Australia and New Zealand. Her Napa Valley winemaking and viticulture experience includes Bryant Family Vineyard and Screaming Eagle, two of Napa Valley’s most respected Cabernet Sauvignon producers.
Please join Heather Kormos, Manager of Consumer Relations at Saint Helena Winery, for a specially curated wine tasting. With over fifteen years of experience working in the wine industry, Heather has worked with luminary vintners including the Wagner Family Caymus Vineyards and Heidi Peterson Barrett before joining Saint Helena Winery in 2011. Heather is responsible for all private events and wine member relations – in short she is the person to know at Saint Helena Winery!
Weston Eldson of Silver Ghost Cellars
Winemaker Weston Eidson has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and a devotion to quality. His great-grandfather, John Montagu, was a pioneer in the emerging automobile industry at the turn of the 20th century. As a British Lord and Member of Parliament, he was an instrumental figure in early automotive legislation. Montagu had a close relationship with Charles Rolls and Henry Royce, an d suggested that his secretary serve as a model for the Rolls-Royce hood ornament, the Spirit of Ecstasy, which we still see on Rolls-Royce cars to this day. As a tribute to his family’s illustrious past, Weston adopted the name of his great-grand father’s favorite car – the 1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost.
Nearly a hundred years later, while attending graduate school in the UK, Weston traveled around the world visiting as many wine regions as he could, from Chile and South Africa to Bordeaux, Alsace and the Veneto. Weston’s adventures eventually took him to Napa Valley where he met Jason Moore of Modus Operandi Cellars. Under Moore’s guidance, Weston worked the 2012 harvest and quickly garnered invaluable winemaking skills. Weston has since learned from mentor Russell Bevan and developed a conviction for making rich wine with minimal intervention – allowing the fruit to express its full potential while crafting wine that naturally reflects its distinct terroir. Weston’s Silver Ghost Napa Cabernet is a result of passion, hard work and an appreciation for fine wine. Family get-togethers and celebrations were never complete without it.
Silver Ghost Cellars
Silver Ghost founder Weston Eidson’s great-grandfather, John Montagu, was an automobile pioneer at the turn of the last century. Being a British Lord and in Parliament, he was instrumental in much of the early automotive legislation and even gave the future Edward VII his first car ride (as seen in this photo). He was friends with Charles Rolls and Henry Royce, and his assistant served as the model for the Rolls-Royce hood ornament, the Spirit of Ecstasy, which we still see on Rolls-Royce cars today. Silver Ghost derives its name from John Montagu’s favorite car, the 1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost. And like its name, the wine itself is filled with layers of richness, culture and authenticity.
Maral Papakhian of Three Sticks Wines
Three Sticks Wine
Three Sticks Wines is a boutique, family-owned winery led by veteran Director of Winemaking, Bob Cabral. Cabral’s commitment to crafting small-lot, artisanal wines from exceptional Sonoma Coast vineyards, includ- ing estate vineyards, Durell, Gap’s Crown, and Walala, drives the winery’s focus of creating site-specific wines. Founded in 2002, the winery is named for owner William S. Price III’s surfing nickname, “Billy Three Sticks,” given to him in his youth as reference to the Roman numerals that follow his name. Three Sticks has a down to earth approach to growing and winemaking, believing in table fellowship as the power of wine to bring people together.
Bill and Eva Price are lovers of Sonoma’s grapes and rich history. The Vallejo-Casteñada Adobe (built in 1842) was built by Captain Salvador Vallejo, brother of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, the Commandant of the northern territory of Mexico (modern day Sonoma). The Prices purchased the property in 2012 and embarked on a two-year preservation project. The Three Sticks team worked with Sonoma historians and the Sonoma League for Historic Preservation to restore and protect the fabric of the property. They commissioned San Francisco-based designer, Ken Fulk and his team, to design the ambience of the Adobe, as it is known locally. The historic landmark in downtown Sonoma is now home to the hospitality of Three Sticks.
John Linklater of W. & J. Graham’s Port, Featured Port
John Linklater – Director of National Accounts On-Premise/South Central Regional Manager for Premium Port Wines
John found a passion early on for wine while working in the restaurant business in Houston with such groups as the Pappas Rest Group, Charley’s 517 and Sfuzzi’s.
John’s 28 plus years of experience in the wine business started with a National Wholesaler and moved to working with various suppliers including Paterno Imports, Billington Imports/ Winebow and his newest adventure, Premium Port Wines. These experiences allowed him the ability to visit major wine regions including Europe, South America and California allowing him the opportunity to educate himself with their wines, food and culture.
Throughout his career he has found that his real enjoyment has been learning about the marriage of food and wine; and the ability for these components to come together enhancing ones experience and understanding of both.
W. & J. Graham’s Port, 2021 Featured Port
Graham’s was founded in 1820, and now has earned an unmatched reputation as the leading producer of premium Port wines. The company has been owned by just two families in its entire history; originally founded by the Graham’s, it was acquired by the Symington family in 1970.
The Symingtons can trace their ancestors as Port wine producers back four generations to Andrew James Symington who came to Oporto in 1882, but back thirteen generations through their great grandmother, Beatrice Atkinson, to Walter Maynard who shipped 39 pipes of Port in 1652. A unique record in the history of Port.
Today, five members of the Symington family work in the company —Paul, Johnny, Dominic, Rupert and Charles. The family personally manages all aspects of wine making from the vineyard to the final bottling of the wine.
Graham’s owns five vineyard properties. Quinta dos Malvedos, Graham’s flagship property, has always been the heart of Graham’s Vintage Port, where most of the grapes are sourced. Quinta da Vila Velha and Quinta do Vale de Malhadas (both privately owned by a member of the Symington family), as well as Quinta das Lages, have contributed to the Graham’s unique style. The latest acquisition, Quinta do Tua, perfectly complements Malvedos and adds a further dimension to Graham’s Port wines. John Linklater works with Premium Port Wines. He represents Symington Family Estate brands such as Graham’s, Dow’s and Cockburn’s.
Mark Porembski of Zeitgeist Cellars
Mark Porembski – Owner/Principal/Winemaker
Mark was drawn to wine years ago thanks to the relaxed underage drinking policies of waiters in Boston’s North End. With a poetry degree in hand and a budding interest in wine, Mark moved to California in 2000. The idea of helping around some cellars eventually turned into a career. He has worked in many small Napa Valley wineries and has also made wine in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. Mark is also the winemaker at Anomaly Vineyards and Unwritten as well as founder of Band of Vintners.