“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said John Komes, speaking about the 2022 harvest.
He should know, he’s been through 44 of them! That’s right, this year marked John’s 44th harvest at Flora Springs.
Here’s how he described it: “It was a unique year to say the least. In May a freak hailstorm passed through Napa Valley, part of a system that also brought lightning and even snow to regions to the north of us. A relatively cool summer was followed by an extended heat wave starting Labor Day weekend that dashed any hopes of a leisurely harvest. We brought in our white grapes as fast as we could. And then, following all that heat we had a day of rain, heavy at times but really just enough to knock the dust off the vines. By mid-September, thankfully, the weather was absolutely beautiful…foggy mornings, sunny days and cool nights. We were able to bring in our Cabernet at a nice even pace and the fruit looked fantastic. Good color, great flavors, and even with higher sugar levels, the natural acidity held the grapes’ structure intact. Mother Nature sure had a mixed bag of tricks for us this year, but I’m optimistic about the quality of our 2022 vintage.”
As our vineyard holdings grew, we hired a full-time vineyard crew to help with harvest, though we still reserved a few rows for our family. In the early 1980s, everyone in Napa Valley picked during daylight, starting after sunrise and finishing up in the afternoon.
But our family came up with a better idea: why not pick the grapes at night when it’s nice and cool, and deliver them to the winery first thing in the morning for processing? It would be more comfortable for the harvest crew, and the fruit would better retain its acid and structure.
We jerry-rigged some lighting on a tractor and gave it a try, and quickly concluded it was a better way to go. Today, of course, nearly every winery in Napa Valley harvests at night; it results in superior fruit and happier vineyard crews.
This year we’re celebrating the fact that Flora Springs was among the first to implement night picking with a one-of-a-kind label created for our 2020 All Hallows’ Eve Cabernet Franc label. I worked with comic book illustrator, graphic novelist and digital comics pioneer, Steve Ellis, who developed one of my favorite labels to date. Against the backdrop of a full harvest moon, a menacing bat hovers above the Flora Springs vineyard where the crew brings in the Cabernet Franc for this wine. As I mentioned, harvesting at night keeps the grapes and pickers cool, but it may also attract the attention of these fierce creatures of the night!
Halloween is always a cause for celebration at Flora Springs, and all year long we look forward to releasing our Halloween Wines.
For 13 years now, we’ve paid tribute to our ghostly history by producing special Halloween wine bottles for our Wine Club and Mailing List Members. Some years a favorite label is sold out upon release to the Wine Club. We enjoy giving exclusive access to wines crafted with our Napa Valley estate-grown Cabernet Franc and Malbec.
General Manager Nat Komes has done it again! This year’s one-of-a-kind Halloween-themed label is sure to delight club members and All Hallows’ Eve lovers everywhere. Nat worked with comic book illustrator, graphic novelist and digital comics pioneer, Steve Ellis, to develop a label that just might be our scariest ever. Steve is no stranger to Flora Spring’s Halloween shenanigans, as he created the label for our 2017 All Hallows’ Eve Cabernet Franc. Against the backdrop of a full harvest moon, a menacing bat hovers above the Flora Springs vineyard where the crew brings in the Cabernet Franc for this wine. Harvesting at night, a practice the Komes Garvey family pioneered in the 1980s, keeps the grapes and pickers cool, but it may also attract the attention of these fierce creatures of the night. Harvest crew beware!
This limited-production Cabernet Franc has lovely aromas of sweet hay, black cherry, boysenberry and cassis that might just send shivers down your spine! With a warm entry and flavors of plum, cherry tobacco and worn leather, the wine is swathed in soft tannins and lengthened by notes of caramel, vanilla and mocha. Lavishly flavored and lush on the palate, the wine is finely balanced with a lingering finish of brown sugar, marshmallow and sassafras.
Flora Springs 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Holy Smoke Vineyard Oakville Napa Valley
Dark red. Shows an expansive nose of black currant with deeper notes of loam soil and chocolate shavings that are mirrored on a deeply flavored, mouth filling palate. The texture is silky with a firm structure, juicy acidity, and an overall sense of refinement. The oak is seamlessly integrated with just a hint of toast. And the finish is persistent with moderate tannins. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from a single block planted to Clone 4 and matured 18 months in 80% French and 20% American oak.
Flora Springs 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Wild Boar Vineyard Napa Valley
The Wild Boar Cab is a supple wine with good intensity of fruit. It begins with savory, earthy aromas married to cassis fruit. The attack is soft and refined, leading to a palate of dark fruit with hints of chocolate and loam. Surprisingly accessible with round tannins and a long flavorful finish. Of all the Flora Springs single vineyard Cabernets, this is the one we would choose to drink now. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 18 months in 30% French and 70% American oak.
Flora Springs 2018 Dust & Glory Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain Napa Valley
Dark red. On the nose, gorgeous up front aromas of blackberry, cassis, and tobacco leaf. Silky smooth attack followed by a beautifully refined mouth feel and concentrated, layered flavors of dark cherry, dark berries and savory dried herbs. A youthful wine, it has a distinct stoney, chalky mineral character. Finishes with a long flavorful finish with soft round tannins. Surprisingly evolved for a mountain wine, but then 2018 was an exceptional vintage. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from one of the highest vineyard sites on the volcanic soils of Howell Mountain; matured 22 months in 94% French and 6% American oak.
Flora Springs 2019 Rutherford Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Napa Valley
On the nose, the Rutherford Hillside shows earthy, dark fruit complemented by smoky oak and cooking spice. It’s soft and silky on entry with a beautifully balanced and pure, refined character. Black currant and black raspberry show on the firmly structured and densely flavored palate, but despite its youth this wine is accessible now. Finishes long with dark fruit, cocoa dust, and earthy notes. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from a small block of vines on the northwestern edge of the Rutherford appellation aged 18 months in 90% French and 10% American oak. The Rutherford Hillside Cab has been produced as a single vineyard wine since 1994.
Flora Springs Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons
Truly elegant and powerful wines, that reflect the place from which they originate. Shop our current releases or contact us at (800) 913-1118 to inquire about other vintages.
Our Out of Sight Cabernet Sauvignon represents the best of both worlds: a wine that is wonderfully approachable in its youth, but with the capacity to age gracefully for five, ten, even fifteen years.
The secret? The wine’s tannin profile.
“The Out of Sight Cabs consistently have these lush, round tannins that make them immediately accessible early on,” says Winemaker Enrico Bertoz. “But these same tannins – which are essentially antioxidants – help the wines resist oxidation, which is what causes them to age.”
The quality of Out of Sight’s tannins is due both to its location and the vineyard’s soil profile. Situated on a gentle slope just north of the Coombsville AVA, Out of Sight is our southernmost Cabernet vineyard, and the soils are a beautiful gravelly loam. “The relatively cool microclimate combined with these perfect soils yield really small berries with a high skin to pulp ratio,” says Enrico. “This translates to very dark color and flavors that veer towards black fruit as well as those rich tannins.”
Because of the tannin profile, Enrico is able to leave the wine on its skin for up to two weeks after the primary fermentation is complete, a practice he began several years ago. This would be unthinkable with other Cabernets which have sharper, more angular tannins that need to be harnessed early on, but the technique works well with Out of Sight and contributes to its age worthiness.
Besides the single vineyard bottling, Cabernet from Out of Sight always makes it into Flora’s Legacy Cabernet and Trilogy. “It just always makes the cut,” says Enrico. No wonder it’s one of his favorites!
Planted on an oak-laden hillside between the Napa Valley AVAs of Oak Knoll and Coombsville, our Out of Sight Vineyard off the Silverado Trail is easily missed, hence its name. When we purchased the property in the late 1980s, the site’s gravelly soils and northwest exposure signaled great potential, but the tangled head-pruned vines also suggested years of neglect. After completely re-developing the property, however, our organically-farmed Out of Sight vineyard is today one of our most treasured fruit sources.
A tiki bar in downtown Napa is a welcome change of pace—a vacation spot within a vacation town. Wilfred’s, which opened last year, has a strong connection to wine. Owner Nat Komes, general manager of Flora Springs Winery, got the name Wilfred from a Hawaiian relative who used to own a bar in Honolulu. The decor is fun and tiki-chic, with floral patterns, colorful murals, tiki carvings and bamboo accents. There’s ample outdoor seating and enough pirate paraphernalia to remind one of a ride at Disneyland. The food is straightforward island fare, with Spam sliders, poke, a tender Kalua pork entrée, chicken katsu and pineapple fried rice—it’s the sort of place where macaroni salad is offered as a side (and it’s a tasty selection).
Of course, most people are drawn to the exotic cocktails and vibrant nightlife. The drinks (including nonalcoholic options) are flavorful and served in playful glassware. For example, the Waikiki Wipeout (rum, guava, orange, lime, chile and passionfruit) comes in large bowl to be shared among multiple people. Several other drinks offer the option of being served in a collectible tiki mug.
967 1st St., Napa Telephone (707) 690-9957 Websitewilfredslounge.com Open Lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday Cost Moderate
Note: This article, “Live It Up in Napa Valley”, written by MaryAnn Worobiec, was originally published in Wine Spectator and can be found here.
I was sitting at the bar, sipping a coconut libation, in the midst of a tropical-feeling heat wave. All of a sudden, a rainstorm erupted, thunder crashing down. Things went dark. Then, it appeared behind me: a ghost pirate, brandishing his sword, fighting for the treasure that he felt was rightfully his.
I wasn’t on a tropical island, and I wasn’t at Disneyland. I was in the middle of downtown Napa, at Napa Valley’s only tiki bar — and I. was. transfixed.
Wilfred’s Lounge describes itself as “a twist on tradition [that has] brought together Napa and Honolulu culture like you’ve never known before.”
I have to admit: I was trying hard to keep my expectations low about Wilfred’s. Being the only tiki bar in Napa Valley (and all of Napa County) meant that the place wouldn’t have to try all that hard — simply by virtue of being the only one, it could easily be called the best.
It turns out, Wilfred’s Lounge can hold its own not just in Wine Country, but it could easily have a place in San Francisco, too. And not only because the place has some original statues from an old Trader Vic’s — the general manager Daniel “Doc” Parks was beverage director at Pagan Idol and Zombie Village in SF.
The drinks are definitely tiki, and they have a serious element of mixology to them. I sat at the bar watching the bartenders crank out libation after libation: for one, they torched a sprig of rosemary for a garnish; for another, a stencil to make a W emblazoned on the top. This one comes in a conch shell that looks like mermaid’s treasure, overflowing with fresh orchids. That one has a house-made coconut banana whip and dehydrated banana spears rising from its glass.
Wilfred’s Lounge would be a great bar anywhere, but it really works in Napa. Wine Country already has a bewitching air about it, so when I walked in, fresh from a vineyard on a sunny afternoon, the transportive nature of a tropical-themed bar with islandy music and bright colors everywhere made sense to my vacation-mode brain. (And if I’m being honest, my pineapple fried rice — with optional added kalua pork as good as what I recently enjoyed on the North Shore of Oahu — was a refreshing departure from the steak-and-red-wine-heavy menus you’ll find in most Napa restaurants.)
But on another level, the architecture just works with the landscape. The building is perched on the Napa River, and there are both downstairs and upstairs patios where you can sit by the water and take in the historic 1847 city and the hills beyond. I didn’t realize it at the time, but part of why Wilfred’s Lounge blends so beautifully into the Wine Country around it is because the restaurant has generations of wine-making history behind it.
Father and son duo John and Nat Komes opened Wilfred’s Lounge in November 2021, naming it after a family member, Wilfred, who was born in Hawaii and whose own bar was a fixture of the Honolulu cocktail scene. Wilfred’s sister Flora moved to San Francisco from Hawaii in 1929, and eventually founded Flora Springs Winery with her husband Jerry. John Komes, one of their three kids, and his son Nat now run Flora Springs and the family’s other wine labels.
This new venture honors the family’s Hawaii roots and wine-making legacy. They’ve even displayed the trunk Flora brought over to California from Hawaii, and have some of her and Jerry’s furniture in the restaurant. There’s real family history in the place, which gives it some heart underneath all the bamboo.
And if the place has some elements of magic to it, there’s a reason for that, too. (See the aforementioned ghost pirate, who appears through a porthole and on a screen that alternates between an idyllic beach and his ghastly underwater realm, and the sudden change of climate indoors from a soft summer night to a sudden rainstorm.)
Wilfred’s was designed by the same man who designed (and owns) High Roller Tiki Lounge in Solvang. It’s an island-meets-Disney tiki bar in Santa Ynez Valley wine country that has elements of owner Michael Cobb’s past life running the food and beverage program at Disneyland’s exclusive Club 33. (Look closely in that place and among the Trader Sam’s-style decor, you’ll find hidden Mickeys and nods to Walt himself.)
Downstairs at Wilfred’s is what you might expect from a tiki bar: bamboo and seagrass offset by intricate wooden carvings by artist Billy Crud and hanging lanterns. Upstairs, I’m just going to be blunt: It’s a pirate ship. It’s an actual, entire interior of a pirate ship constructed inside the upper level of the building, and it is extremely cool — especially since you walk out the ship’s doors (made of sea creatures, of course) and onto a patio overlooking the river.
When you consider the ghost pirate downstairs, Wilfred’s Lounge might draw some inspiration from Pirates of the Caribbean, but there are also other Disney-ish hints inside: The upstairs displays a map of the Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island amid its rum bottles and antique pistols and ropes hanging overhead.
Soon after dinner, I hit the road — but I left Napa with some treasure of my own: a first-edition Wilfred’s tiki coconut, now proudly displayed on my bar among the bottles of wine I brought home from my trip. It feels right there. They make sense together.
Note: This article, “Wilfred’s Lounge, Napa’s only tiki bar, is designed like a pirate ship, complete with ghosts”, written by Julie Tremaine, was originally published in SFGATE and can be found here.
Once upon a foggy day, the trade winds blew a warm streak of tropical sunshine across the San Francisco Bay and dropped it right in the heart of Downtown Napa. Like wind on a sail, the spirit of Wilfred arrived among the vines with his trusty ukulele and a little Tiki spirit.
Many moons ago, Wilfred’s big sister Flora found a Spring and cultivated some very special wines in St. Helena. Wilfred was home in Honolulu, welcoming guests to his bar where the drinks were strong, the company was charming, and there was always “just one more” story to tell.
As we celebrate our legendary Uncle Wilfred and his epic hospitality, we invite you to experience a little aloha and escape to our corner of the world. We’ve taken the best parts of Napa Valley Wine Country, gave it a shake and a dash of Hawaiian culture to bring you Wilfred’s Lounge; our family’s take on a modern Tiki bar. Swing by to try something new that embraces old traditions too. You’ll find our Island-inspired menu will take you on a journey somewhere totally unexpected.
If you listen close when happy hour strikes, you might hear a few strums of Wilfred on his uke, his little akua (spirit) humming a tropical tune.
The 2019 Trilogy marks the 35th vintage of our flagship red wine, a bottling that dates back to 1984 when our family decided to make the finest wine possible by selecting fruit from the highest quality blocks from our estate vineyards in Napa Valley.
Back then it was one of Napa Valley’s first proprietary red wines, and we named it for the three Bordeaux varietals which made up the blend. Ever since, Trilogy has consistently earned more than 90 points from wine critics and is admired by fans both for its approachability and ability to age.
The 2019 is a classic Bordeaux blend of estate-grown varietals dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon with a supporting cast of Malbec, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Ripe and succulent, the wine sports flavors of cassis, currant and black plum shaded with notes of vanilla crème, black licorice, cola and sweet earth. Open textured with smooth tannins and a juicy, inviting finish, this Trilogy will reward cellaring for at least 15 years.
The early part of the 2019 growing season was defined by heavy rainfall which replenished reservoirs and gave the soils plenty of moisture. A long, warm summer featured few extreme heat events, and the typically foggy mornings set the stage for vibrant and expressive wines. Harvest was long and relatively mild, helping to preserve freshness and finesse in the fruit with extended hang time teasing out great color, structure and soft tannins. Crop volume was average to a little less than average. In the end, it was another amazing vintage yielding exceptional fruit with bright acidity and ample flavor and texture.
91 points, Wine Spectator “A plush fruit bomb, with waves of plum sauce, warmed cassis and cherry puree cruising through, laced with vanilla and ending with a creamy finish. For the hedonist crowd.”Read more.
94 points, James Suckling “Sweetly spiced nose of cherries, spiced plums, strawberries, vanilla and lavender. Full-bodied with firm, supple tannins and fresh acidity. Juicy, fruity and delicious with pretty spice and floral undertones on the long finish.”
94 points, James the Wine Guy “…comes across nicely and handsomely…this is an absolutely luminous, beautiful wine…” Watch the video tasting notes.
93 points, International Wine Review “This is the 35th vintage of this highly successful, flagship wine. A blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 7% Malbec, it displays a deep garnet-purple color and offers up aromas of cassis, blackberries, and dark red cherries with hints of herbs, vanilla, and baking spices. It is full-bodied and fleshy with bold flavors and excellent concentration. Velvet-like on the palate, it has round firm tannins and a long finish. This wine will have a long life.”Read more.
Grade: A & Score: 93, IntoWine “Trilogy is one of the more famous blends made in Napa and this represents the 35th vintage! This vintage is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 7% Malbec. Deep garnet in color, mostly opaque and bright. The nose has black cherries, cassis, char, and slight milk chocolate and spices. Medium to full bodied. Medium plus tannins. Tingly acidity. On the palate, raspberries, cassis and some underlying char. Long finish with some chocolate notes. This is still young but should be good drinking over the next fifteen to twenty years. Nice on its own, this will work well with all but the lightest foods or seafood. Steak off the grill is a nice choice.”Read more.
Flagship Wines from Flora Springs Appetite for Wine “Opaque, inky garnet, almost black. Aromas of ripe blackberry, black cherry, plum, and toasty oak. On the palate, big, juicy blackberry and cherry, with vanilla, caramel, and hints of leather and oak. Rich, full body. Tannins are soft and smooth, with medium acidity. This is a big, bold wine that wants a grilled steak or lamb chops. The finish is smooth, with ripe blackberry jam, plum, and milk chocolate notes.”Read more.
A-, 1WineDude.com “A showy, flamboyant and tasty Guilty Pleasure pick.”Read more.
When you live in California, you understand deep down that water is a precious resource. Periodic droughts have been a fact of life here for decades if not centuries, and even in years when winter storms are plentiful, our Mediterranean climate means we get very little – if any – rain from May through September.
That’s actually good for grape growing, since wine grapes don’t require as much water as many other crops. But grapevines do need some water, and as farmers we’re always looking for ways to irrigate as judiciously as possible. It begins by studying our soils.
One vineyard or even one block can have several types of soils; Napa Valley has more than 100 soil variations. We know that soils heavy in clay need less water than sandy soils, which drain more easily. So we adjust our irrigation regimes to match these different soil types.
For example, at the Komes Ranch, we have six irrigation zones within one 15-acre block. Once we’ve “mapped” the soils, we use several different technologies to measure vine stress during the growing season. These include aerial images (known as Normalized Dierence Vegetation Index or NDVI) that help us understand which sections of our vineyards are undergoing heat stress. We also use fancy sounding evapotranspiration sensors, sap flow meters and soil sensors that measure the water content of our soils and stress of the vines.
By using these measurements, we are able to precisely target the areas of our vineyards that need irrigation. Over the last few years these technologies have resulted in water savings of approximately 50%. What’s more, we’ve found that being more precise in our irrigation practices results in higher quality grapes, a win/win for us and the planet!
With estate properties stretching from the cool, rolling hills of Carneros to the famed sub-appellations of Oakville, Rutherford and St. Helena, Flora Springs produces varietal wines ranging from Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay to Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and other red Bordeaux varietals. Each year the family selects a small percentage of the yield for their own wines, selling the remaining fruit to neighboring Napa Valley wineries. This selection puts the focus on quality, not quantity, resulting in hand-crafted wines that meet the family’s exacting standards. Learn more about our Napa Valley vineyards.
As a family that came to the wine business as farmers first, our love of the land influences everything we do. Our environmental stewardship led us to embrace sustainable and organic farming early on. Our search for superior vineyards sites led us to acquire land in some of Napa Valley’s finest appellations, including Rutherford, Oakville, St. Helena and Carneros. Over the years, as we’ve planted and replanted this land to vines, we’ve experimented with rootstocks, clones, trellising systems and a variety of viticultural techniques, always striving to produce the best possible quality.
Note: The article excerpted below was originally published in the Napa Valley Life Magazine and can be found here.
“Napa Valley is synonymous with Cabernet Sauvignon, so why do producers craft wines from varietals that seem “out of place” for the region? Although Napa Valley has hung its hat—for good reason—on Cabernet, the region’s diverse terroir is what allows for the wide range of varietals that successfully grow in the right microclimates. Add that to passion and talent, and a great viticulturist can team up with an experienced winemaker to turn a non-Cabernet varietal into a truly fantastic Napa Valley wine.
Enter Sangiovese. This thin-skinned grape variety can be tricky to grow, but select Napa Valley producers have mastered the art of crafting this finicky grape into spectacular wine…”
At Flora Springs Winery, General Manager Nat Komes admits that they have “found the southern part of the valley to be a good area for Sangiovese.” Komes stands by the cool breezes in southern Napa Valley blowing up from the San Pablo Bay as one of the main factors for helping their Sangiovese retain the quintessential acidity for which the grape is known. Much like Laura and Brian from 601 Cellars, Komes’ family has a “fell in love” with Sangiovese memory from a trip to Tuscany. “Our Napa Valley Sangiovese stands out primarily because it is becoming so rare,” Komes stated. The estate’s 2019 Sangiovese is a member’s only wine packed with cherry, pomegranate, and red plum—it’s well worth signing up to get your hands on this bottle…” Read more.
Sangiovese is the grape most commonly found in the famed Chianti region of Italy, and this version, from a south Napa Valley vineyard cooled by the San Pablo Bay, benefits during the growing season from a consistent weather pattern of cool, foggy mornings that melt into warm, sunny afternoons. Bursting with fresh fruit flavors of Bing cherry, pomegranate and red plum, this fleshy, mouthfilling red shows accents of mocha, warm spice and licorice. Despite a dense profile, fresh acidity keeps this one bright and focused through to a lingering finish. A crowd-pleasing wine, take this one to your next family dinner. Learn more about the 2019 Sangiovese.
May 1 is Lei Day, a celebration of Hawaiian culture – or the aloha spirit.
The first Lei Day was celebrated May 1, 1927 in downtown Honolulu. Over time, the holiday grew in popularity as more and more people began to wear lei on May 1. Now “May Day is Lei Day in Hawai’i” is highly anticipated each year by the people of Hawaii and visitors who plan their entire trip around the festivities.
Our matriarch, Flora, left Hawaii for San Francisco in 1929, so she was there for the beginning of Lei Day in Hawaii!
Flora Komes always described her life as beautiful, and so it was, starting with her roots in Honolulu, Hawaii where she was born on November 7, 1911. Of Portuguese descent, Flora loved collecting shells, hula dancing and baking bread, a hobby that won her several blue ribbons at the local fair. Flora was also a born nurturer, whether it was tending a bird with a broken wing, a small, struggling plant, or a scraped knee. Read Flora’s story.