6 Easy Tips for the Spookiest Halloween Party

September 30, 2021

Halloween is always a cause for celebration at Flora Springs. After all, with one of the few remaining Napa Valley Ghost Wineries in Napa Valley, we are constantly reminded that there are phantoms and spirits who walked here before us. For the last decade we’ve paid tribute to our ghostly history by producing special Halloween wine bottles, which have become some of our most anticipated and highly sought after annual releases.

Whether you’re fully ready to get your spooky on with all of your friends or just looking to amp up a chill hang, we worked some magic to round up a few tips to conjure up a spooktacular Halloween.

At-Home Halloween Party Inspiration

 

1) Cast Your Spell With These Bewitching Halloween Wines
Treat yourself and your guests with our one-of-a-kind Halloween-themed labels. Order early, as these limited-edition wines sell out quickly—plus, shipping may take longer this year. See this year’s spooky selections.

“With Halloween fast approaching, treat yourself to special bottles from Flora Springs. This iconic Napa Valley winery celebrates every Halloween with flair. This collectable bottle changes annually, but for each Halloween-themed label the winery’s General Manager, Nat Komes, collaborates with a variety of artists. Marc Sasso, an artist from New York known for comics, skateboards, and album covers, designed this “witches at a party” label. The sumptuously sleek wine inside is made with Cabernet Franc (the Good Witch of red grape varieties). It showcases dark berry fruit, mineral notes, and a supple texture for a serious wine with a whimsical touch.” Read more. —Leslie Sbrocco, San Francisco Bay Times

Halloween Wines

2) Impress With Jack-o-Lantern Baked Brie by The Okayest Moms
Easy to make, fun, and delicious—the perfect appetizer! Find the recipe here.

Halloween Baked Brie Recipe

3) Serve Up Pumpkin Cacio e Pepe by My Diary of Us
A seasonally-inspired twist on a favorite pasta dish that’s cozy and hearty, find the recipe here.

Cacio Pepe Recipe

4) Decorate Sustainably and On a Budget
Look around your house and repurpose your succulents, houseplants or other decor to create a festive setting.

Halloween Decorations

5) Experiment With a Different Color Palette
Look to unique sources—like our 2019 All Hallows’ Eve Cabernet Franc label—and go beyond orange and black.

Halloween Wines

6) Make Your Photos Insta-Worthy
Wow your followers with an epic photo of your Halloween celebration featuring a surprise smoke bomb, just like @wishesandwine.

Smoke Bomb

What ideas do you have in your bag of tricks? Share your Halloween photos with us on Instagram—tag @florasprings and use #florasprings. We’ll share the best of the bunch and one lucky Flora Springs fan will win a Flora Springs prize pack.*

*Must be 21+ to enter. Void where prohibited. Wine will not be included in prize pack. Chance of winning depends on number of entries.

Flora Springs Tasting Room Featured in Napa Valley Register

September 25, 2021

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

“…Ten miles northwest is the also-eccentric tasting room for Flora Springs, which emulates the cave style of Jarvis with the asymmetry and playful nature of Quixote. Right alongside Highway 29 at the gateway to St. Helena, Flora Springs certainly grabs the attention of those driving by. A striped mound-shape, the tasting room differs significantly from the surrounding bistros and minimalist exteriors.

“We wanted the building to feel like the entrance to a wine cave built into a mountainside, so we used bent plywood to give the structure its curvature and painted the outside to represent the natural geologic striations of the earth,” said founder John Komes. “The name Flora Springs combines the name of Flora Komes, my mother and our matriarch, with the natural springs that run in the western hillsides, so we wanted to capture the natural energy of the springs as well.”

Komes has a background in construction, so he wasn’t too hung up with the building process and was sure to incorporate a laid-back meeting space outside on the backside of the facility.

“Beautiful wine caves have and always will be a draw for guests to the Napa Valley, so it’s nice to be able to offer a sense of that with our tasting room, but our outdoor patio and rooftop deck have a different sensibility,” said Komes….” Read more.

Napa Valley Wine Tasting in St. Helena

We invite you to our Napa Valley Tasting Room for wine tasting while enjoying views of flourishing vineyards and the western hillsides. Plan your Napa Valley getaway and experience the Flora Springs Tasting Room, named “Best Hidden Gem Winery” in Napa Valley Life Magazine annual 2020 Best of Napa Valley Readers Choice Awards.

Wine Tasting in St Helena

In the Vineyards

July 29, 2021

With harvest just around the corner we thought we’d take you through a pictorial of the 2021 growing season so far. Though we have yet to bring our grapes in, our weather has been lovely in Napa Valley and we’re looking forward to another outstanding vintage.

February:Vines are Dormant

Vineyard in February

These neatly pruned vines in John Komes’ vineyard were dormant back in February, patiently waiting to wake up for the 2021 growing season.

March: Budbreak

Budbreak
Budbreak, when buds swell and the vines put out their first leaves, occurred right on time, rippling through our vineyards in March.

May: Fruit Set

Vineyard Flowering

Just a few weeks later in May, flower clusters destined to become grapes began to appear, a growth stage known as fruit set. Photosynthesis and vine growth sped up dramatically.

Late May: Canopy Management

Napa Vineyard Late May

Within a couple of weeks, the vines had full canopies which we managed by hand throughout the season to ensure the grapes had just the right amount of dappled sunlight.

June: Berry Clusters

Vineyard Berries

The first berries to form in June were green and hard to the touch. The clusters looked very healthy though, and we began to get a sense of how big the vineyard crop is going to be (hint: small).

July: Veraison

Veraison

In late July the fruit started to go through veraison, the period when the grapes soften and develop color. Just a few weeks from now we’ll be in harvest, and at Flora Springs we can’t wait!

How to Open a Older Bottle of Wine

July 20, 2021

Now that you have acquired an older wine, often referred to as a library wine, you might be asking, “How do I open this without making a mess of the cork?”—or—“What’s the best way to serve this wine once opened?”

How to open old wine bottles

First, the basics—it’s natural that a cork will soften with age. It’s also natural that a wine may develop some sediment as it ages. Well fear not, with the proper tools and technique, you shouldn’t have too much difficulty.

Let’s go through the steps.

1) First, store your bottle in an upright position several days prior to opening, preferably in a cool location. Doing so will allow any suspended sediment to settle at the bottom of the bottle.

2) Next, choose the cork extractor you prefer—here are our recommendations:

  • Best – The Durand is a two-pronged wine opener—also known as an “Ah-So”—but with a built-in corkscrew. This is not an inexpensive item, but if you open a lot of older wines it could be a nice addition to your cellar.
  • Good – A standard two-pronged cork puller is also known as an “Ah-So.” Gently insert the longer tip between the glass and the cork, and gently rock back and forth until it is fully inserted in the bottle. Then slowly twist—while pulling up at same time.
  • Good – A pressurized cork extractor (like Cork Pops) is a device comprised of a needle and a carbon dioxide cartridge. Center the needle in the cork and penetrate it all the way through, then press the cartridge until the cork extracts. Hint: It’s best to cover the neck of bottle with a napkin or paper towel, as sometimes a bit of wine and/or sediment can also be extracted when under pressure.
  • OK – A corkscrew with a long, grooved shaft will make extracting an older, soft cork easier than using a shorter corkscrew without the grooving. Make sure it is centered directly in the cork, then twist it well into the cork. Be sure to pull up slowly.
  • If none of these methods work for you, as a last, last resort, find a blunt instrument that is narrower that the cork. Put the bottle in a sink and then place a plastic bag (or something similar) over the bottle neck. Then slowly and carefully push the cork down until it is no longer blocking the neck of the bottle. Hint: You definitely want something covering the opening of the bottle—as the wine will have a tendency to push upwards and out as the cork is pushed down.

Trilogy Library Wines

3) Now that you have the cork out, you are ready to serve your wine.

  • Best – Carefully and slowly pour the wine into a decanter. Once you start to see sediment, stop pouring.
  • OK – If you don’t have a decanter, line up your wine glasses on a counter. Take a glass in one hand, and carefully pour the wine with the other hand. Be sure to keep the neck of the bottle in the same position, and fill the next glass…and so on. Hint: You want to minimize turning the bottle upright as doing so will disturb the sediment that has settled into the bottom of the bottle.

4) Maybe you didn’t have time to let the bottle sit upright for a few days, or perhaps you see pieces of cork floating in the bottle. As a last, last resort, you can pour the wine through a fine screen or coffee filter to a decanter, or even a pitcher. If you don’t want to serve from that vessel, you can always rinse out the wine bottle well, and pour the now-filtered wine back into it.

5) Remember, most older wines only require decanting to ensure that the wine is clear—not to allow the wine to “open up” or “breathe.” Library wines do not need more oxygen at this point.

6) Also, we recommend you serve and drink the wine soon after opening. The older the bottle, the sooner you will want to drink it to retain as much fruit expression as possible.

Cheers!

How to open a library wine

A Ground Breaking Innovation: Rutherford Hillside Reserve Single Vineyard Cabernet

June 3, 2021

We’re often asked which of our Single Vineyard Cabernets is our favorite, and the answer is always the same: we love them all! But our Rutherford Hillside Reserve does hold a special place in our hearts, as it was the first Single Vineyard Cabernet we produced.

It was 1994, and in Napa Valley, wines bottled exclusively from one vineyard were still somewhat rare. But John Komes recognized there was something special about a group of vines located on the slope leading up to the northwestern edge of our estate in the Rutherford appellation. He kept the wine from this block separate, and bottled less than 50 cases on its own, dubbing it the Rutherford Hillside Reserve. John’s instinct proved prescient: when our first Rutherford Hillside Reserve Cabernet was released in 1997 the Wine Spectator awarded it 96 points.

John Komes brings in Cabernet Sauvignon destined for our Rutherford Hillside Reserve
John Komes brings in grapes from the Komes Ranch in Rutherford

 

Five Years Earlier

1994 wasn’t the first time this block was bottled on its own. Beginning in 1989, Flora Springs produced a Rutherford Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from the same vines. In fact, the 1991 Flora Springs Rutherford Reserve Cabernet earned 97 points and the #3 spot on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list in 1994.

Library Vintage of Flora Springs Single Vineyard Wines

Flora Springs’ Rutherford Reserve was the predecessor to our Rutherford Hillside Reserve. In 1994 John added “Hillside” to the name, creating the first vineyard-designated wine from Flora Springs.

2008 Rutherford Hillside Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

The label has changed over the years, but our Rutherford Hillside Reserve is still grown on our estate vineyard in Rutherford.

Rutherford Dust

The Rutherford AVA is arguably one of the finest places to grow Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley, and the location of our Rutherford Hillside Reserve vineyard, on the western slopes of the AVA on what is often called the Rutherford Bench, is one of the most coveted in the appellation. Our vineyard lies on a gentle incline leading up toward the Mayacamas Mountains. Here the soils rest on a gravelly bed deposited by an old stream, providing excellent drainage. The climate, moderately warm with occasional morning fog and frequent afternoon breezes, is ideally suited to Cabernet. The combination of soil and climate results in a unique flavor profile referred to as “Rutherford Dust,” often described as powdery-soft dusty tannins with notes of fine cocoa powder.

Looking east to the Napa Valley floor from our vines on the Rutherford Bench
Looking east to the Napa Valley floor from our vines on the Rutherford Bench
New plantings for the Rutherford Hillside Reserve
New plantings for the Rutherford Hillside Reserve

 

2018: A Vintage for the Ages

2018 brought a long, steady and near-ideal growing season to Napa Valley, yielding wines of intensity, concentration and balance. Our 2018 Hillside Reserve, aged in French and American oak for 18 months, offers pure Cabernet fruit centered on currant, blackberry and black cherry, with ancillary notes of brown spice, dark chocolate and espresso. It is a complex, full-bodied wine that finishes with ripe, chewy tannins. This is the Cabernet you bring out when you want to impress. It will age beautifully for at least another 15 years.

2018 Rutherford Hillside Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Our 2018 Rutherford Hillside Reserve is a showstopper

 

Your Cellar Will Thank You

The Rutherford Hillside Reserve is one of Flora Springs’ most age worthy Cabernets, a wine that will provide enjoyment for ten, fifteen or even twenty years when properly cellared. Each year we make a certain amount of the previous and/or older vintages available on a limited basis. Be sure to check the store on our website for these periodic library releases.

Wine Weirdos on the 2018 Trilogy

May 26, 2021

“…decadent and lush, this is really a hedonistic Cabernet Sauvignon, really terroir driven as well, good acid and absolutely brilliant finish. I want to pair this with grilled meat – of any sort…I just want to keep savoring this wine…”

What It Takes To Be a Flora Springs Single Vineyard Cabernet

April 29, 2021

Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

It takes a special Cabernet Sauvignon to be designated a Flora Springs “Single Vineyard.” Along with Trilogy and Flora’s Legacy Cabernet, these are the crown jewels in our portfolio. We asked General Manager Nat Komes how he and the winemaking team decides what makes the cut.

How do you determine when a vineyard is good enough to be bottled on its own?
To become a Single Vineyard a wine must convey a unique sense of place and individuality; in its aromas and flavors it must clearly express the characteristics of a particular site. Of course, the wine must be of extremely high quality. It’s gotta taste good!

How do you get complexity in a Single Vineyard wine?
The complexity comes from the site itself and in the way we blend different blocks together. Our viticultural practices are tailored to each block, allowing us to tease out the differences and distinctive characteristics of each one. That, coupled with the singularities each vintage brings, gives each of our Single Vineyard wines dimension and layers of complexity.

What winemaking techniques do you employ with the Single Vineyard Cabernets?
Our vinification is aimed at obtaining purity of fruit and the structure that makes for extended aging. We carefully hand sort the grapes upon receipt, give them a three- to four-day period of cold soaking prior to fermentation, and carefully manage the extraction of tannins during and after fermentation. Then we age the wines for about 18 months on average in French and/or American oak, depending on the wine.

What makes the Wild Boar Cabernet Sauvignon stands out as a Single Vineyard wine?
Wild Boar has always been a revelation to me in the sense that I consider it to be an “all-American” wine. By that I mean it has a bit of a wild west character to it, yet it can also be polished and refined. Kind of like a well-dressed cowboy. We age Wild Boar in 70-75% American oak, which frames it in sweet, vanilla-like tannins. Although big, Wild Boar is never clumsy, but rather manages to walk the fine line between rich, ripe fruit and structural elegance.

Single Vineyard Cabernets

Truly elegant and powerful wines, that reflect the place from which they originate, learn more.

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.

Trilogy: Present & Future, a Note from Nat Komes

February 3, 2021

This coming weekend would have been the 34th annual Trilogy Release Party—which is the highlight of my year. I’m going to miss the festivities…my favorite food pairings, live music, dancing, the wine of course, but mostly I will miss seeing all of our faithful Trilogy Release Party guests. I extend my deepest apologies to the Trilogy Fez gang. Please know that I, along with my mom and dad, Anne and the rest of our team will raise a glass to you, toasting the friendships we’ve made over the years.

I invite you to look back at past parties—enjoy this video compilation of some of our favorite moments.

A Look Ahead

Although we cannot host the big party this year, we will still be releasing the 2018 Trilogy on February 6 and you can be the first to taste the new vintage. We also look ahead to continuing the legacy of Trilogy, the reviews for the 2018 vintage are already rolling in.

93 points, Jeb Dunnuck
“…a seamless, elegant texture that just glides across the palate. Giving up lots of red and black currants, flowery incense, medium to full-bodied richness, no hard edges, and a juicy, seamless, impossible to resist personality, it’s ideal for drinking over the coming 10-12 years.”

92 points, James Suckling
“Rich aromas of blackcurrant jam, cloves, dried herbs and orange peel on the nose. It’s medium-to full-bodied with round, sleek tannins. Spiced and juicy with lifting freshness on the finish.”

Save the Date: February 5, 2022

Mark your calendar now for the 2019 Trilogy Release Party. We look forward to delighting you with all new experiences next year. Stay tuned!

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