Putting Down Roots
In 1996 we moved to the hills above Napa Valley. We’d found a beautiful spot, virtually untouched, with a good well and the layered horizon of a Chinese landscape painting. We were planting fruit trees one day when a vineyardist friend stopped by and suggested we put in some grape vines he had on his truck, leftovers from another job. They were syrah cuttings that had come from Lee Hudson in Carneros. The idea of growing grapes in the Napa Valley didn’t seem too far fetched, but what transpired the following spring when those fledgling vines leafed out was unexpected —they took root in us as deeply as they had the hillside.
We'd come to love the Rhone wines of France, particularly those of the Southern Rhone, and explored the possibility of planting more Rhone varietals on our hillside. Research indicated they'd be a good match for our climate and the soils in our hills, so in addition to the newly planted syrah, we chose mourvedre and grenache cuttings from Tablas Creek, whose clones came from the esteemed Beaucastel Vineyard in Chateaneuf-du-Pape. And we imbibed a good deal of the Beaucastel philosophy, too: minimal intervention in winemaking to allow for maximum expression of terroir, that evocative French concept whose meaning encompasses the earth, air, water and soul of a place. From the start we were committed to sustainable farming practices-- our steep hillsides and narrow vine rows committed us to farming by hand—and under the guidance of Bob Schaeffer, co-founder of Soil Culture Consulting, the vineyard was certified organic by California’s CCOF in 2006.
We made our first wine in 2000 and have experimented over the years, testing techniques and blends, learning more about our grapes, our soil, our preferences. Each harvest has a story to tell, to be continued.
Boz and Dominique Scaggs