Our Napa story started with our wedding in April 1989 when we were married at Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford. As we looked out over the beautiful, romantic vineyard countryside, we fell in love – not just with each other but also with the beauty of the area. At that very moment, we vowed that, someday, we would find a way to live in the Napa Valley. That day came just five years later, in 1994, when Bob was looking to purchase a horse as a gift for Lauren, an avid rider. It just so happened that the horse he found was located on a beautiful 16-acre vineyard property in the eastern hills of southern Napa (now known as Coombsville) that happened to also be for sale. Karma being what it is, Bob bought the house and vineyard and the horse became part of the deal – at that moment, our dream of living in the Napa Valley became a reality.
The Vineyard Lifestyle
We have learned a lot about grape growing since we bought the property that fortuitous year of 1994. We spent the first two or three years just getting to know the vineyard and what it needed to thrive. We learned that living on a vineyard meant workers coming and going at all hours of the day (and sometimes at night). We learned to mend fences to keep marauding deer at bay or, at times, how to herd them off the property via a posse of ATVs. We walked the vineyard to check irrigation lines, straighten posts or sample the fruit as harvest got closer. Our vineyard lifestyle took some adjustments, but each step was a new discovery and a deepening passion for the winemaking process that grew with each season.
Over time, as we learned what the vineyard needed, we began to fine-tune it through new trellising, pruning, and replanting. We replanted the entire vineyard with a drought-resistant rootstock and changed the trellis system to open the canopy, exposing the fruit to more sunlight in our more temperate region of Napa. We began to farm sustainably, using cover crops and compost, while also installing hawk boxes to keep rodents out. Eventually, we started farming organically and became a California Certified Organic Farm (CCOF) – a label we are very proud of.
It Was Time….
Initially, we sold most of our grapes to local wineries and kept enough to make a couple barrels of wine (named “Stonehaven”) for ourselves, family, friends and a few of our favorite restaurants. Finally, after nine years of learning our vineyard’s attributes, we decided to produce our first commercial vintage – a decision made easier by the feedback we received from various vintner friends who simultaneously said “it was time.” Our first release was our 2003 vintage of 100% cabernet sauvignon in October of 2007. Since then, we have continued the tradition of releasing each new vintage every October.
As we learned about our vineyard over time, we also learned about the style of wine it likes to produce -- balanced, smooth, deep berry flavors with a hint of spice and lower alcohol levels (13.2% to 14.5%) that blends well with food -- not competing with it. After more than 18 years of producing wines from our corner of Napa Valley, we know our wines can be enjoyed now or fifteen years from now – they only get better with age.