Our Vineyard and Winemaker
Our small, family owned vineyard is located on the east side of the Silverado Trail, just north of the town of St. Helena in California's Napa Valley. The half-acre vineyard was planted by Dave Abreu in 1990 with over 1,200 cabernet sauvignon vines that are Spottswoode clones grafted on 5C rootstock. The vines are tightly spaced four feet in row by five feet between rows on sloping land with rocky, clay-loam soil studded with obsidian. The vines have been trained as bilateral cordons with spur pruning on a vertically shoot positioned trellis. The vines grow vigorously with the northeast-southwest row orientation reducing afternoon exposure of grape clusters that can result in sunburn.
In our continuing efforts to enhance grape quality, we have reduced irrigation and established a no-till cover crop of clovers and native grass between the vineyard rows to conserve moisture, improve soil structure, attract beneficial insects and suppress vigorous weeds. In 2004, we are proud to have had our vineyard enrolled under the Napa Green Certified Land Program by the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service, CA Department of Fish and Game, Napa County Agricultural Commissioner and Regional Water Quality Control Board (you would expect no less from a retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee!). We completed a farm conservation plan for the vineyard which includes environmentally beneficial management practices that help protect and enhance fish and wildlife and their habitats.
Between vineyard practices and Mother Nature, our harvest averages three tons of grapes. Since 1997, our friend and vineyard manager, Paul Saviez, has done a terrific job with our grapes and has the patience of a saint dealing with Stephen, a worried vineyard owner!
We are proud to have had Andy Schweiger as our winemaker. He is also the winemaker for Schweiger Vineyards and Winery where our grapes were crushed and our wine was made. We were glad to have Andy and his family as part of the Parry Cellars family. Andy also attended our alma mater, UC Davis, where he received a degree in Viticulture and Enology. His previous experience includes work at a number of wineries, including Chateau St. Jean, ZD, and Cain. He made our cabernet (with help but hopefully not interference from us!) in open-top fermenters that were punched down by hand in Schweiger's newly built tank room. From these fermenters, the juice flowed by gravity into French oak barrels (both new and used) in the barrel room below. Thanks to Andy's talents and careful attention, we produced a fabulous cabernet!