We’re excited to release our first wine from the 2017 vintage, our 2017 Napa Valley Pinot Grigio. 2017 was a momentous year in Napa Valley, and we know there will be a lot of curiosity about the vintage. Following is our take on the growing season and vintage, including the wildfires that affected so many in our community. Despite many challenges, we think that 2017 will go down in history not only for the wildfires but for the high quality of the 2017 vintage and wines.
2017 began with winter rain, and lots of it, enough to fill reservoirs, replenish groundwater and bring a five year drought in California to an end. Our spring weather was mild, and due to the abundance of water the vines experienced vigorous growth. We were vigilant about canopy management, going through our vineyards and removing excess leaves to ensure the developing grapes had adequate sunlight and air flow. With just a few summer heat spikes, it first appeared that harvest would proceed at a normal pace, but a heat wave over Labor Day weekend hastened picking during the first two weeks of September. Cooler temperatures arrived in mid-September, giving our red fruit extra time on the vine. Overall though, harvest was early in 2017; the last of Flora Springs’ grapes were harvested on Saturday, October 7.
Of course it’s impossible to look back at the 2017 harvest without remarking on the tragic wildfires that affected Napa Valley and neighboring growing regions. At Flora Springs we are enormously grateful to the first responders, law enforcement, community leaders, organizations and volunteers who worked tirelessly to keep our communities safe. We are also incredibly blessed, or perhaps lucky, that our grapes had all been picked prior to the start of the fires on October 8. We were not alone in this good fortune. Damage to Napa Valley wineries and vineyards was not widespread, as the fires burned predominantly in the forested hillsides. The Napa Valley floor between Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail – where our estate winery and vineyards are located – saw little to no impact. In fact, less than 10 percent of Napa Valley’s wineries and less than 8 percent of vineyards experienced direct damage from the fires, and it’s estimated that 90 percent of the total grape tonnage was picked before the fires started.
Still, we know that wine enthusiasts will have lingering questions about the effect of the fires on the grape harvest, and particularly about what is known as smoke taint. A brief explanation: a wine with smoke taint will have a distinct, unpleasant taste that is often compared to a campfire or ashtray. Unlike “smoky aromatics” that might arise from a wine’s contact with an oak barrel, smoke taint is strong and acrid, dominating the sensory characteristics of the wine. Smoke taint can occur when un-picked grapes come into contact with wildfire smoke; the smoke penetrates the grape skins and its compounds can be activated upon fermentation. In this way, even grapes that do not smell or taste smoky can yield a smoke-tainted wine. Rest assured that the few Napa Valley vintners who harvested fruit after the fires were hyper-aware of the possibility of smoke taint and have done everything possible to ensure only the highest quality 2017 wines go to market.
Now back to the quality of the 2017 vintage: for the vast majority of vintners who harvested their grapes prior to the fires there’s a shared sense of excitement about the wines from 2017, most of which are still in barrel. Says Winemaker Paul Steinauer, “Although our yields were somewhat smaller, the 2017 wines are already showing concentration and richness. The whites have bright, fresh flavors and the reds are saturated in color with powerful fruit flavors. There’s no reason to believe this vintage will not rank among the finest of the decade.”
Looking back, the 2017 wildfires challenged our community in innumerable ways, but also demonstrated our shared spirit of strength and resilience. At Flora Springs, in addition to being humbled by our good fortune and the outpouring of generosity from our friends around the world, we’re excited to open the chapter on the 2017 vintage.
It’s no secret that the Flora Spring’s Annual Trilogy Release Party is considered one of the most anticipated Napa Valley wine festivals of the year. Happening each year on the first weekend of February, our guests can expect to partake in first-class entertainment, high-end food and excellent wines all while basking in the beautiful vistas from our family’s Napa Valley Estate. February weather, however, can be spotty at best, and that is why we have decided to share our wine country fashion recommendations to help you to prepare for the day’s fête.
While most people know what the typical attire expectations are for Cocktail, Black Tie and Business Casual dress codes, sometimes we hear more confusion around what we commonly ask for in Napa Valley: Wine Country Casual.
We recently met with the stylish Anne Komes for her thoughts on what Wine Country Casual means to her and her must-have pieces for the Trilogy party.
Living in Napa Valley, what is your personal definition of Wine Country Casual? “To me, Wine Country Casual is anything appropriate for a vineyard tour or outdoor dining. It’s easy to dress up Wine Country Casual with a cute boot or accessories like a pretty scarf or hat.”
What is your favorite accessory to bring to the Trilogy party? “For the Trilogy party, I like to wear comfortable shoes because of the dancing! I prefer boots but I know my husband Nat likes to dance so I wear comfortable shoes and jeans.”
What is one thing you never leave home without? “My favorite accessory is my husband.”
What should you be prepared for at the Trilogy party? “I am preparing for a Trilogy party full of fun, great conversation and meeting new friends.”
What is your perfect Trilogy outfit? “I like to wear a hat because it is good, rain or shine! The party happens in February so comfortable but warm clothes because your body needs to move and you don’t want to be restricted with layers!”
For the men out there, what advice would you give them with regards to Trilogy party attire? “Men should feel comfortable to wear whatever makes them comfortable. To some, it may be a t-shirt and for others, it could be a suit. The only rules for a party should be proper behavior, otherwise, relax, it’s a party!”
Check out the full Trilogy Release Party experience:
“Everyone who knows me knows I have an affinity for wild boars. That’s why we named one of our Single Vineyard Cabernets Wild Boar. My first encounter with this animal happened back in the mid-1970s, when my dad retired from Bechtel. He was looking for land to invest his money in. At the time, land in Napa Valley cost $25,000 an acre, and Dad wasn’t ready to pay that much. But in Pope Valley land was ‘cheap’ – only $1,000 an acre. He found 100 acres that had a lake, walnut trees, etc. The owner said he’d sell it, and my Dad thought he had a deal. Then he read somewhere that Louis Martini had bought it. Apparently the owner wanted to sell to a ‘local.’
So, my dad bought a place next door, 500 acres, 60 of them planted. There was an old house on the property with nine bedrooms and eight bathrooms but no living room. (One can only surmise what that house was used for!) My dad asked me if I could build him a living room – I was still a contractor at the time.
So I hired some guys, and one of them was up on a scaffold doing some plastering and he saw a wild boar grazing nearby. He called me and said ‘John, there’s a wild boar on your property. Can I shoot him?’ I said ‘Why don’t you call the game warden?’ He said ‘John, a wild boar is a varmint; all I need is your permission.’ I said ‘Ok, as long as you give me the hind quarter.’ So he got his gun, and he shot it. A few minutes later I get a call from my dad: ‘John, John! One of your guys just shot the neighbor’s pig!’”
Addendum: “I did finish that house, and we put it up for sale, along with 20 acres. A woman who was the ex-mayor of Coronado wanted to buy it, said she wanted to live in the country. But she didn’t know if she could manage 20 acres…could we make it 10 for the same price? Done!”
We are so grateful for the continued support of you, our Wine Club members. We have a lot of exciting things planned for members in 2018, including new exclusive events, special offers, and more. We so pleased you are joining us for another great year!
Please remember that this schedule is subject to change, but we will always keep you updated.
Artist Ruth Harper and her Flora Springs Dashaway Chardonnay label art.
In the spirit of Flora Springs’ annual tradition of producing special holiday-themed releases. This year we have decided to complement our Etched Holiday red wine offerings with a festive 2015 Dashaway Chardonnay offering. Our charmingly-illustrated Dashaway label features reindeer flying over Napa Valley vineyards on Christmas Eve. Created by illustrator Ruth Harper, who is best known for her work in many New York Times #1 best-selling children’s picture books, she captures a light-hearted whimsy that is reminiscent of the joy and excitement this time of year brings. Flora Springs wishes you, our friends a very happy holiday!
The 2015 Dashaway Chardonnay shows off rich, ripe, caramelized fruit, hints of warm apple pie and notes of Bosc pear and almond paste. Twice-weekly lees stirring and 30% malolactic fermentation give the wine a creamy, open texture, and the long finish coats the mouth in delicious vanilla custard. This is ideal as an aperitif, and also works well with roast turkey with all the fixings.
Left to Right: Anne & Nat Komes, Lindsay & Sean Garvey with their children Sabine & Graham,
and Julie & Pat Garvey SNAPPED WITH LOVE PHOTOGRAPHY SNAPPED WITH LOVE PHOTOGRAPHY
SNAPPED WITH LOVE PHOTOGRAPHY SNAPPED WITH LOVE PHOTOGRAPHY SNAPPED WITH LOVE PHOTOGRAPHY
On Sunday, October 29th Flora Springs held a Napa Valley Fire Relief Benefit Music Festival at The Room and generated a total of fifteen thousand dollars for the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund! The festival was pulled together in record time by Flora Springs family, staff, musicians, and sponsors to support victims of the recent wildfires that blew through the valley earlier this month. Five San Francisco Bay Area bands which included Fellow Vessel, Mr. Kind, Miss Moonshine, Serf & James and Sean Garvey headlined the afternoon and admission was complimentary to the community. Flora Springs wines by the glass and by the bottle were poured with delicious bites from acclaimed purveyors including Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, Market St. Helena, Sorenson Catering, Tre Posti, ZuZu, Lulu Cookies and Ines Biscottito during the fête. “On behalf of my family, I’d like to thank our community for their support in fundraising for this important cause. It warms my heart to see such generosity from our friends and neighbors on behalf of each other.” reflects John Komes, Proprietor of Flora Springs.