ICONIC LIFE Orange County Summer 2022

Page 46

Setting Down

ROOTS Setting down roots in Napa Valley means more to the Palmaz family than a vineyard. By Elyse Glickman


apa Valley is known for idyllic conditions. It will forever be associated with rolling terrain, mild yearround temperatures and a home-grown wine and artisanal food scene with an international reputation. After years of regular visits to Napa, Julio and Amalia Palmaz purchased an old estate in Coombsville (in Napa’s southern reaches) and set down roots—in the form of vineyards—to create Palmaz Vineyards. While the estate’s 600 picturesque acres gracefully drape over Mount George, only 60 are suited for the cultivation of grapes, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon.

There’s an understanding among all members of the Palmaz family—which includes daughter Florencia, son Christian, daughter-in-law Jessica and, by extension, head winemaker Tina Mitchell, son and assistant winemaker Doug Mitchell and consulting winemaker Mia Klein—that even if the scale of production was small and carefully planned, the effort to create premium wines would be all encompassing, collaborative and greater than the sum of its proverbial parts. “It really is a family affair,” explains

Christian. “We work lockstep with each other on every detail. While not all of us have the skill to do blending, we all contribute to the process.” I focus on the physical and scientific side of winemaking, while my wife has the whole marketing thing down. Florencia and my mother are the gifted ones in the family blending the wines, sitting with Mia and Tina on most blending sessions assisting in the direction of the final products.” Then, meet FILCS “Felix,” the mothership of the whole operation, developed by Christian, a former computer engineer, which differentiates it from anything else one will see in Napa.

While function is the most dominant consideration of the winery’s design, the visual aesthetics are also striking. And the wine drinks like a beautiful day in Napa. What’s better than that? 44


Courtesy of Palmaz Winery

“Fermentation is a critical time for a wine’s development, and all characteristics developed during fermentation are the result of the creative direction of the winemaker,” says Christian, who also devised VIGOR, a system assisting workers in the vineyards alerting them to when grapes should be picked by hand.