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Napa Valley The Land, The Wine, The People

Charles O’Rear


Napa Valley The Land, The Wine, The People

Photographs

by

Charles O’Rear Text

by

Daphne Larkin


Introduction

7

Seasons & Light

13

Vines & Wines

13

Places & People

87

Celebrations & Style

199

Acknowledgments

218

Index

219


Those who make the journey to Napa Valley are quickly

geographical area approved by the federal government that

caught in its magical spell. Perhaps it’s the majestic beauty

has unique characteristics of soil, climate and history.Within

of the land, the extraordinary wines, the exceptional food

the Napa Valley Appellation, there are 14 sub-appellations

and the unique winery architecture that dots the valley floor,

with names that conjure up some of the best wines in the

rolling hills and mountains. Or maybe it’s the enchanted

world–Spring Mountain, Howell Mountain, St. Helena,

lifestyle inspired by the valley’s Mediterranean climate, a

Rutherford, Oakville,Yountville, Stag’s Leap District and

climate that covers only 2% of the earth’s surface.The reality

the Carneros. It is here in this special place one will find

is that the region’s natural beauty has captivated visitors to

45,000 acres of grapes and two to three million grapevines

America’s premier winegrowing region–one of the smallest

that provide more than 400 wineries the food of the gods–the

and most diverse in the world–for more than 150 years.

ambrosia of world-class wines.To come to Napa Valley is to

Sixty miles northeast of San Francisco, Napa Valley is designated as an American Viticultural Area (AVA), a

make a journey worth celebrating and to capture, if only momentarily, a dream realized.


Howell Mountain

Calistoga Diamond Mountain District

Chiles Valley District Spring Mountain District

St. Helena

Rutherford

Napa Valley Appellation & Sub-Appellations Atlas Peak

Oakville

Yountville

Mount Veeder

Stags Leap District

Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley Wild Horse Valley

Los Carneros

Map courtesy Napa Valley Vintners


Above: Theodore Gier (in hat) stands in the middle of his winery west of Napa, built in the 1880s. The building was restored and opened to the pubic in 1989 and is the home of Hess Collection. Right: The remains of the 1876 Franco-Swiss ghost winery east of St. Helena stands ready for renovation by entrepreneurs Richard and Leslie Mansfield.


A Legendary History The history of wine in Napa Valley has roots going back more than 150 years when the first vineyard was planted near Yountville. The Mediterranean climate, first visitors learned, was ideal for growing wine grapes. Soon Europeans arrived with knowledge of grape growing and wine making and by the mid 1880s, 175 wineries had been built. However, the root louse appeared and caused phylloxera, which soon destroyed most of the vineyards. Then a World War and Prohibition took precedent until the 1960s when the wine industry of Napa Valley began a resurgence. Soon there were nearly 40 wineries. Today, more than 400 wineries produce wine, of which some own a winery building while others simply register their label and hire wineries to “custom crush� their wine.


Below: A Spring Mountain vineyard appears to be covered in snow in this January photograph. A special infrared camera captured this scene when brilliant green grass covered the vineyard and clouds passed through a deep blue sky. The guesthouse of Terra Valentine winery appears in the distance.


Seasons & Light


Seasons of the Vine On Pritchard Hill’s eastern slopes of the valley, this chenin blanc vine displays a year’s cycle. Napa Valley’s Mediterranean climate, much like countries in southern Europe, creates the perfect grape growing conditions. At 1,800 feet above the valley floor, this Chappellet vineyard sees brief snow every few years. It’s by experiencing all seasons, from the dry heat of summer to moderate freezes in winter, that vines become dormant before starting new growth in the spring.

January


March

May

July

October


Below: Jack

Maeve Duncan run through March mustard in a vineyard in St. Helena. Wild mustard bursts forth in colors at random throughout Northern California every and

spring and signals the end of dormancy and the beginning of spring for grapevines. These

“head-pruned,� a

50-year-old

petit sirah vines are

style which has been replaced in the past few

decades with trellised vines planted more closely together.


Below: Summer fog approaches two-acre “Picnic Tree� vineyard on Spring Mountain. Cool nights and warm days during the summer growing season provide ideal weather for wine grapes. The vineyard, owned by nearby Cain Vineyard & Winery, produces merlot grapes as well as malbec and petit verdot for their Bordeaux-style blends.


Vines &Wines


Above: It’s a cooperative affair in this 100-year-old zinfandel vineyard of Alston Hayne in St. Helena as family and friends pick and prepare zinfandel grapes for delivery to a nearby winery. In Napa Valley, independent wine growers like Hayne sell their grapes to wineries though many wineries grow and harvest their own.


Above: Workers in a St. Helena vineyard silhouette against a sunrise sky before picking cabernet sauvignon grapes. Since Napa Valley’s wine industry began a resurgence 60 years ago, grape harvesting has predominantly relied on hand work though a few vineyards use harvest machines. Right: Along the highway entering the city of Napa from the south, “The Grapecrusher� statue welcomes visitors to Napa Valley. The bronze statue was erected in 1987 by artist Gino Miles and has become an icon for the valley.


Left: More than 200 oak barrels, each averaging 60 gallons of wine, line the entry to the underground caves of Shafer Vineyards near Napa. Cave building in Napa Valley experienced a renaissance in the early 70s following a long period in which those built during the last century were abandoned or fell into disrepair. Caves provide ideal conditions of constant temperature and moisture for storing and aging wine and reduce a winery’s dependence on electricity for air conditioning. Above: Shafer Winemaker Elias Fernandez inspects Chardonnay from a barrel sample of the previous year’s wine. From harvest to fermenting to aging and then to bottling often requires more than a year before releasing to the public.


Acacia

Acha

Ackerman

Adastra

Alpha Omega

Altamura

Altus

Anselmo Vigne

Arkenstone

Artesa

August Briggs

Azur

Black Stallion

Blockheadia

Bressler

Buccella

Cade

Cakebread

Art on the Bottle More than 20 years ago, wineries discovered an artful and innovative way to showcase their wine. Until then, they had focused on the bottle itself, its color, shape, weight, and the label design to imply flavor and quality. Now the new decorating option is the wine capsule. Long a practical lead foil used to protect the cork, the wine capsule has undergone a renaissance, becoming a powerful icon for wineries. Today these gorgeous pieces of art top most wine bottles and a bottle without an eye-catching capsule feels under dressed.

Calafia

Casa Piena

Castello di Amorosa

Ceja

Chappellet

Chateau Montelena

Cimarossa

Clark-Claudon

Cliff Lede

Clos Pegase

Colgin

Conn Creek

Conn Valley

Continuum

Corison

Covenant

Crane Brothers

Crocker & Starr

Cross

Cuvaison

D R Stephens

Dalla Valle

Dana

Darioush


David Arthur

Del Dotto

DeSante

Diamond Creek

Dolce

Domaine Carneros

Domaine Chandon

Duckhorn

Dunn

Ehlers Lane

Elliot

Emerson Brown

Etude

Fairchild

Fantesca

Far Niente

Five Generations

Flora Springs

Folie a Deux

Fontanella

Foreman

Forum

Fourteen Appellations

Franciscan

Now made of tin, which provides a sleek sheen, the new capsules masterfully make as much of a statement as wine labels. Displayed on their side by wine stores, restaurants and collectors to keep the cork moist, the capsules provide the added function of identifying and branding a winery. Shown together, the capsules reveal a brilliant sea of color and design of vines, grapes, crests, animals, shapes and letters. More than 400 wineries are registered in Napa Valley and most of them are represented here on these unique works of capsule art.

Frank Family

Gamble

Gemstone

Grace Family

Grassi

Green and Red

Gridley

Groth

Hagafen

Harlan

Hartwell

Hendry

Hess

Hollywood & Vine

Honig

Hourglass

Hunnicutt

Husic


Acacia

Acha

Ackerman

Adastra

Alpha Omega

Altamura

Altus

Anselmo Vigne

Arkenstone

Artesa

August Briggs

Azur

Black Stallion

Blockheadia

Bressler

Buccella

Cade

Cakebread

Calafia

Casa Piena

Castello di Amorosa

J Davies

Kenzo

Larkmead

Ceja

Chappellet

Chateau Montelena

Levy & McClellan

Long Meadow Ranch

Chateau Montelena

Cimarossa

Clark-Claudon

Cliff Lede

Clos Pegase

Colgin

Conn Creek

Conn Valley

Continuum

Corison

Covenant

Crane Brothers

Crocker & Starr

Cross

Cuvaison

D R Stephens

Dalla Valle

Dana

Darioush


David Arthur

Del Dotto

DeSante

Diamond Creek

Dolce

Domaine Carneros

Domaine Chandon

Duckhorn

Dunn

Ehlers Lane

Elliot

Emerson Brown

Etude

Fairchild

Fantesca

Far Niente

Five Generations

Flora Springs

Markham

Merryvale

Mumm

Folie a Deux

Fontanella

Foreman

Nickle & Nickle

Opus One

Ovid

Forum

Fourteen Appellations

Franciscan

Frank Family

Gamble

Gemstone

Grace Family

Grassi

Green and Red

Gridley

Groth

Hagafen

Harlan

Hartwell

Hendry

Hess

Hollywood & Vine

Honig

Hourglass

Hunnicutt

Husic


Acacia

Acha

Ackerman

Adastra

Alpha Omega

Altamura

Altus

Anselmo Vigne

Arkenstone

Artesa

August Briggs

Azur

Black Stallion

Blockheadia

Bressler

Buccella

Cade

Cakebread

Calafia

Casa Piena

Castello di Amorosa

J Davies

Kenzo

Larkmead

Ceja

Chappellet

Chateau Montelena

Levy & McClellan

Long Meadow Ranch

Chateau Montelena

Cimarossa

Clark-Claudon

Cliff Lede

Clos Pegase

Colgin

Conn Creek

Conn Valley

Continuum

Corison

Covenant

Crane Brothers

Crocker & Starr

Cross

Cuvaison

D R Stephens

Dalla Valle

Dana

Darioush


David Arthur

Del Dotto

DeSante

Diamond Creek

Dolce

Domaine Carneros

Domaine Chandon

Duckhorn

Dunn

Ehlers Lane

Elliot

Emerson Brown

Etude

Fairchild

Fantesca

Far Niente

Five Generations

Flora Springs

Markham

Merryvale

Mumm

Folie a Deux

Fontanella

Foreman

Nickle & Nickle

Opus One

Ovid

Forum

Fourteen Appellations

Franciscan

Frank Family

Gamble

Gemstone

Grace Family

Grassi

Green and Red

Gridley

Groth

Hagafen

Harlan

Hartwell

Hendry

Hess

Hollywood & Vine

Honig

Hourglass

Hunnicutt

Husic


Below: In the 140-year-old caves of Schramsberg Vineyards near Calistoga, Jesus Calderon turns or “riddles” as many as 40,000 bottles of sparkling wine a day, a fraction of the 2.7 million bottles aging here. Sparkling wine, called Champagne in France, is often created by the “methode traditionnelle,” which originated in Champagne, France over three centuries ago. Schramsberg was founded in 1862 by Jacob Schram, a German immigrant.


Above: A cluster of cabernet sauvignon completes the process of maturing; Mumm Napa fills their bottles of sparkling wine.

Above: Bottles of sparkling wine are heavier than bottles of still wine to contain fermentation pressure building up.


Above: Wines arrive to the consumer in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.

Above: Sparkling wine welcomes visitors at a party at Schramsberg Vineyards; a traditional corkscrew becomes a piece of art.


Below: Bill and Jane Ballentine stand on the balcony of their restored “ghost winery� north of St. Helena. Built in 1873 and closed during Prohibition in 1920, the Balletines reopened the winery in 2004 as William Cole Vineyards.


Places &People


Vanity takes center stage in many places around Napa Valley, but none so obvious as the license plates on cars, trucks and motorcycles. Nowhere in America can a region boast its prowess in the way it’s done here with plates that display words such as Vine, Wine, Merlot, Zin and Cab.


The mystique of wine and the lure of the Mediterranean climate attract those who want to experience the joy and beauty of the place. California established vanity plates in 1970, and since then these special plates can be ordered with proceeds going to various non-profit agencies in the state.


Below: The busy harbor of Napa, circa 1900, is reflected in this painting shown on a wall along Main Street in downtown. Artists Steve Della Maggiora and Susan Clifford captured this scene in 1996.


Napa Corner

Robert Mondavi

Spring Mountain Stained Glass

Flora Springs

Napa Valley Olive Oil Mfg.

Beringer Stained Glass

Edgehill Winery

Napa Theater

Round Pond

Clos Pegase

Abreu Gate


Sterling

Napa Rainbow

Stags Leap Stained Glass

Hess Collection

Beringer

Mustards Restaurant

Bistro Jaunty

Napa Church


Above: Using the architecture of his Iranian birthplace, Darioush Khaledi opened Darioush winery along the valley’s Silverado Trail. Khaledi’s Persian heritage inspired him to evoke the ancient capital of Persepolis. Sixteen 18-foot columns greet visitors to the winery.


Above: A “bud� ready for grafting to a grapevine rootstock. A picker sharpens his knife and a grower shows the bounty of his harvest.

Above: A home winemaker presses zinfandel grapes into a press.


Above: Intern Yannick Durand from France displays stained hands during harvest at Cain Vineyard & Winery on Spring Mountain.

Above: Hands of 90-year-old winegrower Grant Cairns; pickers’ hands at harvest; an artist paints a bottle at Etched Images in Napa.


Below: Dusk falls over Ovid winery in the hills east of Oakville as fog begins to settle across Napa Valley 1,400 feet below. Mark Nelson and Dana Johnson carved 15 acres of vineyard out of rocky soil to create their wine estate in 2000.


Above: Howard and Lyndal Walker enjoy guests in their zinfandel vineyard near St. Helena. The valley’s warm days, cool nights and dry air inspire locals to take advantage of a vineyard’s beauty to entertain.


Celebrations &Style


Above: Dolores Cakebread holds a bounty of vegetables grown at her family winery in Rutherford.

Above: In the kitchen at Bistro Don Giovanni in Napa; guests taste at Alpha Omega winery; a balloon rises above Yountville vineyards.


Above: Graduates at the Culinary Institute of America; a wedding party plays croquet at Meadowood Resort; a tasting at Swanson Vineyards.

Above: Visitors crush grapes the old fashioned way during a harvest party underway at Peju Province Winery in Rutherford.

Napa Valley book preview  

A preview of Napa Valley photography book due out in April 2011

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