A Love Affair with Chardonnay

April 8, 2021

Flora Springs’ love affair with the Chardonnay varietal began when the winery was founded in 1978. In fact, you could say that it’s Chardonnay that put our winery on the map so many years ago! It has always been one of John Komes’ favorite wines, and since that first vintage, he’s made a Chardonnay every year we’ve been in business. We’d like to think we’ve gotten pretty good at it, always using the best fruit from our Napa Valley vineyards. To celebrate #ChardonnayDay on May 27, we thought we’d take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of our favorite Chardonnay milestones.

Pat Garvey First Harvest at Flora Springs
Vineyard Manager Pat Garvey watches as our first Chardonnay grapes are processed
Our first vintage of Napa Valley Chardonnay
Our first vintage of Napa Valley Chardonnay
Matriarch Flora Komes Overseeing Harvest
Matriarch Flora Komes oversees our first harvest

 

Our Napa Valley Chardonnay Gets the Gold!

Back in the 1970s and 80s, the highest accolade a winery could earn was a Gold Medal from a wine competition. Our 1979 Napa Valley Chardonnay won a Gold at the prestigious Los Angeles County Fair in 1980. The recognition put Flora Springs on the map, and made everyone, including ourselves, take our winemaking a little more seriously

 

Full Steam Ahead

“With that surprising win, what had begun as a hobby was becoming a business, and Flora Springs went full steam ahead with producing the very best wines possible.”

Flora Springs News Article

 

A “First Growth” Chardonnay

In 1990 Wine Spectator columnist James Laube published California’s Great Chardonnays, recognizing Flora Springs Chardonnay as one of the state’s “First Growths” for the varietal.

James Laube California's Great Chardonnay

 

A Wine for the White House

Over the years Flora Springs Chardonnays have been served at dinners at the White House and the U.S. Capitol, functions attended by heads of state, congressmen and women and government dignitaries.

White House Menu

 

The Legacy Continues

Today we make three Chardonnays, our Flora’s Legacy Chardonnay, the Family Select Chardonnay, and our Jon Nathaniel Lavender Hill Chardonnay, all sourced from our estate vineyards in Napa Valley. While they differ, each one carries the signature style for which we are known: beautiful forward fruit aromas and flavors, rich body and texture from barrel aging and lees stirring, partial malolactic fermentation, and just the right amount of acid to keep the wines fresh and perfectly balanced.

Napa Valley Chardonnay Bottles

 

Recent Press

“9 Places to Taste Excellent Napa Valley Chardonnay” by NapaValley.com
“While officially founded in 1978, grapes were first planted on this St. Helena property, located at the foot of the Mayacamas, in the late 1800s, which marked the start of Flora Springs’ fascinating history. The winery produces several different chardonnays, each with a unique flavor profile, from the juicy and tropical Family Select Chardonnay to the limited-production Flora’s Legacy Chardonnay, made from a barrel selection of the finest chardonnay of the vintage, in honor of Flora Komes, the inspiration for the winery.

Insider Tip: Flora Springs feels so strongly about the quality of their chardonnay and other white wines that the winery has been a leading proponent of the movement to introduce the #whitewineemoji.” Read the full article.


Shop now, order deadlines for delivery by Mother’s Day start April 28 and for #ChardonnayDay start May 13. See details and shipping times.

The Beginning, Middle and End: The Story of the 2018 Trilogy

February 19, 2021

by Enrico Bertoz, Winemaker

2018 Trilogy Red Blend

The 2018 Trilogy is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot, and if you’ve been keeping track, you’ll note these are the same three varieties that have comprised Trilogy since 2013, although in different percentages. The blend is not a given; each year we start from scratch, evaluating the wine lots and determining what will make the finest wine.

Of course Trilogy is always centered around a strong core of Cabernet Sauvignon…that much we do know. Cabernet gives the wine its strongest, most concentrated fruit component, as well as its full body and fine tannin structure. Cabernet endows the wine with aging power. Malbec, on the other hand, gives the wine an opening, with rich, dark fruit that makes you sit up and take notice right away. Petit Verdot, in contrast, stretches the wine, leaving you with a long, satisfying finish. It adds color too, but it’s the lingering quality of Petit Verdot that I really love.

So you see, at least in 2018, and in the previous five vintages, Malbec and Petit Verdot provide the framework for Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s like a painting you’d find in a museum, where the gilded frame is the platform and the finishing touch on an otherwise beautiful portrait. Next year may bring a different blend, with other varieties. We never know until we start to taste the new lots. What we do know is that our mission with Trilogy, since the beginning, is to create the best wine possible from our estate vineyards in Napa Valley. In that we will never waver.

Learn more about this wine.

A Tasting Room for the Senses

January 28, 2021

by John Komes

It was the early 1990s and Flora Springs had been in business for just over ten years when I decided we needed to have a tasting room on Highway 29.

There wasn’t quite as much tourism in Napa Valley as there is now, and I wanted a place right on the highway where people could easily visit us. I bought a building – an old HVAC shop – just south of the old Dean & DeLuca gourmet grocery (now Gary’s Wine & Marketplace) in St. Helena. I cleaned it up, installed a circular bar, hired an artist to paint some wall murals, and opened up for tastings.

But business was slow. I kept hearing folks say they hadn’t “noticed” the tasting room, even people who stopped at Dean & DeLuca. I decided to do something about it. My wife, Carrie, and I had recently visited Barcelona and seen many of the buildings designed by renowned architect, Antoni Gaudí. I loved the flow and imagination of his structures, the fanciful nature of his designs.

You can guess what happened next.

Wine Tasting in St Helena
Wine Tasting Napa

When I returned to St. Helena I consulted with a local architect, and together we designed a new Tasting Room that echoes, in Gaudí-like fashion, the look and feel of a wine cave set into a mountainside. We used bent plywood to give the structure its curvature and painted the outside to represent geologic striations in the earth.

Inside we created separate tasting areas made to feel like private rooms in a wine cave, and installed a curved tasting bar with a modern bistro vibe. The rooftop, which has magnificent views of mountains and vineyards to the west, feels like a comfortable living room, a place where people can relax and enjoy a glass of wine.

Wine Tasting in Saint Helena

Wine Tasting in Napa

Wine Tasting in Saint Helena

Thanks to my son Nat, our Tasting Room has gotten some upgrades recently, and I’m excited about the improvements. I always wanted it to be a place where people could indulge their sense of sight as well as taste and smell. Most of all, I want the Tasting Room to inspire curiosity and delight, to be the place where people come to learn more about the legacy of Flora Springs.

Now we are thrilled to be reopening for outdoor wine tasting, by appointment. Plan your Napa Valley wine tasting adventure today.

 

Flora Springs Tasting Room
677 S. Saint Helena Highway
Saint Helena, CA 94574
(707) 967-8032

Reasons to be Grateful in 2020

December 23, 2020

Despite its many challenges, 2020 also offered new ways of interacting with you, a few “firsts,” and many reasons to be grateful. Here are just a few:

Our family presented leis to the first 100 guests at our 2017 Trilogy Party.
Trilogy Release Party

We found new ways to connect with you through virtual tastings and curbside pickups.St Helena Tasting Room

We were named “Best Hidden Gem Winery” in Napa Valley Life Magazine.Outdoor Wine Tasting in St Helena

We released the 2017 Howell Mountain Dust & Glory Cabernet Sauvignon—our first new Single Vineyard Cabernet in over two decades, with a 94 point score from James Suckling.Single Vineyard Cabernet

We celebrated John Komes’ 80th birthday.John Komes

We released our first wine in cans, the 2019 Honest Bucker Pinot Grigio from sister brand Bodacious Wines.Wine in Cans

We shipped a record amount of wine to Wine Club Members and customers; thank you for your support!

@livegoodwithmax

 

 

We completed our 42nd harvest.Napa Valley Harvest

We supported Napa Valley wildfire relief efforts with a Halloween Dinner & Wine event and other initiatives, and thanks to you, donated over $5,500 to the Napa Valley Community Foundation’s Fire Disaster Relief Fund.

@DowntownDani

 

 

 

Maximilian Riedel, 11th generation glassmaker at the world-renowned Riedel Wine Glass Company, shared his experience of opening and tasting our 1991 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with his 88,000 Instagram followers: “..what a joy. The wine has been in my cellar for a very long time…look at that color, fun. Cheers!”

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Maximilian Riedel (@maxiriedel)

As another year comes to a close, we want to take a moment and thank you for letting us be a part of your lives. We are fortunate and grateful that you choose Flora Springs to accompany your meals, toasts, celebrations and special occasions. Here’s to a healthy, happy 2021!

This Year’s Etched Holiday Wines: The Inspiration

November 10, 2020

Etched Holiday Wines

Our etched and hand-painted Holiday Bottles are one of Flora Springs’ most treasured traditions, a way for us to give you exclusive access to rare wines in festive, one-of-a-kind bottlings.

This year Nat Komes found inspiration from a vintage greeting card he uncovered in his Grandmother Flora’s attic, an illustration of a cardinal perched on a holiday wreath. Christened the “Christmas bird” for its spectacular red color, the cardinal is a symbol of the beauty and warmth of the holiday season. This brilliant bird found its way onto each of our holiday designs, our Holiday 2020 Gift Guide, and even throughout our holiday photo shoot.

Etched Holiday Wines - Flora's Cardinal

Etched Holidy Wines - Festive Fox

Etched Holiday Wines - Joyful Skater

Trilogy

See our entire collection of Holiday Wines.

John & Nat Komes Featured in Napa Valley Register

October 2, 2020

Note: The article excerpted below was originally published in the Napa Valley Register and can be found here.

John & Nat Komes

‘I’ll tell you a story,” John Komes said. He was standing in front of a colorful painting that depicts Flora Springs Winery, which he and his family launched in 1978 in a pre-Prohibition ghost winery in St. Helena.

“We decided we wanted a painting,” he said, recounting how the family invited Cynthia Fitting, an artist living in Sacramento, to come to Flora Springs to talk about a project.

“When she was leaving, her car wouldn’t start.” Fitting flagged down an employee, just leaving the winery, to ask for a jump. Too busy, the man replied, and he hurried off to a sales meeting.

Fitting got the commission and produced the vivid, charming painting, which portrays the winery and its people…”Read more.

The Places In Between

August 10, 2020

One of the many reasons Napa Valley is such a superb region for growing wine grapes is its incredible diversity. Although a mere 30 miles long and several miles wide, the valley is home to a wide range of microclimates and a vast array of soil types. Over the years, this diversity has led vintners and growers to create defined grape growing areas within Napa Valley. These areas, which reflect their regional designations, are called American Viticultural Areas, or AVAs.

Famous Napa Valley Sign

The Napa Valley is itself an AVA having received its own designation in 1981. It is California’s first recognized AVA and the second in the United States. Over time, sixteen “nested” AVAs have been designated within the Napa Valley AVA. Flora Springs owns and farms vineyards in five of these, including the St. Helena, Rutherford, Oakville, Oak Knoll and Los Carneros AVAs.

But what about the places in between, the regions in Napa Valley that are not part of a nested AVA? If you look at a Napa Valley AVA map, you can see there are several areas that lay outside of the nested AVAs, in fact, our Kairos Vineyard, home to our Out of Sight Cabernet Sauvignon, is in one such area.

Kairos is just south of the Stags Leap District, kind of wedged between the Stags Leap, Oak Knoll and Coombsville AVAs,” says General Manager Nat Komes. “So when we bottle the Out of Sight Cabernet, we use the Napa Valley appellation on the label. But that doesn’t have any bearing on the quality of the vineyard or wine.”

In fact, there are plenty of properties renowned for high quality grapes and wines that do not lie within a nested AVA. Examples include sites that are between the St. Helena and Howell Mountain AVAs as well as vineyards found east of Oakville in the mountainous area known as Pritchard Hill.

For now, says Nat, “The Kairos Vineyard is a perfect example of the quality that can come from areas outside the nested AVA system.” For proof, look no further than Flora Springs Out of Sight Cabernet Sauvignon.

Out of Sight Cabernet Sauvignon

Presenting Dust & Glory

July 8, 2020

We are so pleased to introduce our first new Single Vineyard Cabernet in over two decades. John and Nat have been working on this project for years, tasting wines from all over the appellation to find just the right flavor and tannin profile. As they explored and experimented, they finally identified a wine from one of the highest elevation sites in the AVA that met their criteria, a beautifully expressive mountain Cabernet, distinct from our other Single Vineyards but no less prized. Why Dust & Glory?

2017 Howell Mountain Dust & Glory Cabernet Sauvignon

Presenting the 2019 Soliloquy: A Singular Wine

June 15, 2020

By General Manager Nat Komes

Soliloquy is named for Flora Springs’ proprietary Sauvignon Blanc clone, a singular clone entirely unique to us.

It nearly went extinct when the vines became diseased a couple decades ago, but through various heroic measures we were able to preserve the clone in our Crossroads Vineyard. Recently I decided to re-create Soliloquy, relying on my early memory of the wine to produce what I think could be the finest white wine we’ve ever made.

It was a long process, three years of countless blending trials, but today I’m proud to say that the 2019 Soliloquy has earned its place as Flora Springs’ flagship white wine, a fitting companion to our flagship red, Trilogy. I could not be more excited to introduce this singular white wine. Watch our newest video and learn more about its fascinating history.

Learn more about this wine.

Vineyard Update from Winemaker Paul Steinauer

June 20, 2019

In Napa Valley this time of year, you’re likely to see vineyard crews scattered amongst the vines. “What are they doing,” you ask? They are Shoot Thinning and Leaf Pulling.

Shoot thinning and leaf pulling are part of overall vineyard canopy management, as seen here in Sauvignon Blanc vines at our Soliloquy Vineyard. Learn how our Soliloquy Vineyard is entirely unique to Flora Springs and distinct from more common Sauvignon Blanc vineyards in Napa Valley.

Winery with vineyard views

Shoot thinning is a process in which any unnecessary shoots are removed—typically those in the lower regions of the vine. Removing select shoots allows the vines’ energy to be directed towards the primary shoots, which will ultimately bear fruit.

Leaf thinning is conducted for a variety of reasons, particularly in wet years like this one when the canopy tends to be vigorous. Too much vigor can lead to vegetative characteristics—which we don’t want! Removing the leaves curtails this issue. Leaf thinning also opens up the canopy, allowing increased air flow and quicker drying in the event of morning dew or rain, and to prevent mildew in humid conditions. This opening of the canopy also increases light penetration—which is needed for photosynthesis. Sunlight exposure improves grape quality, protects the berry, and also elevates the phenols and polyphenols that are responsible for the color, taste, and flavor of the wine.

Napa Valley Vineyards

While this work is being done, the crews are also positioning the shoots. The shoots may be 24”–36” at this point. If we are working in a vineyard that has a vertical trellis system, there will be a series of horizontal wires running from one end of the row to the other. As the vine grows, the shoots will be tucked into the wire trellis to allow for what is commonly referred to as VSP, or vertical shoot positioning. This allows further opening of the canopy. There are other types of trellises, but VSP is the primary system implemented in most Flora Springs vineyard blocks.

Napa Valley Vineyards

After the initial thinning pass, each block will be monitored in the weeks to come to determine when/if additional passes are to be made.

Menu