Flora Springs Entrusts Château Smith Haut Lafitte With Stewardship of Historic Napa Valley Estate

February 20, 2020

Flora Springs Napa Valley Estate Vineyards

“We’re excited to have found Château Smith Haut Lafitte and the Cathiards, a well-known family from Bordeaux with a long history in winemaking, to take over the stewardship of this beloved property and 58 acres of vines in Rutherford, Napa Valley. We look forward to watching them nourish this land in the years to come,” says John Komes, speaking on behalf of the Komes-Garvey family. “This represents a bright new chapter for Flora Springs where our family’s next generation can be laser focused on excellent winemaking, customer service and hospitality.”

While Komes Ranch was first established in 1977 by Jerry and Flora Komes, our legacy dates back to the late 1800s when wine grapes were first planted by the Rennie Brothers. James and William, immigrants from Scotland, planted 60 acres of grapes and built a stone gravity flow winery. When Flora and Jerry came upon the property at the end of West Zinfandel Lane in St. Helena, it was Flora who saw the magic hidden behind the decades of neglect, overgrown ivy, and the shifting rock walls of the old ghost winery. They purchased the property from Louis M. Martini.

In 1978 John and Carrie Komes and Julie and Pat Garvey, along with their parents Jerry and Flora, were among Napa Valley’s first post-Prohibition pioneers as they founded Flora Springs Winery, naming it after Flora and the natural springs that run through the land.

Our family legacy in Napa Valley unfolded over the next 40 years of producing hand crafted, critically-acclaimed wines, including our flagship wines, Trilogy and Soliloquy, as well as our single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons sourced from our family’s vineyards throughout Napa Valley’s most revered sub-appellations.

The depth of this history reminds us that as stewards of this land, our family’s commitment to its health and vitality will be felt far into the future. Over the years, we have welcomed esteemed neighbors including Dana Estates, Sinegal Estate Winery, and now Cathiard Vineyard, who share our commitment to environmental stewardship.

“It was love at first sight,” Florence Cathiard told Wine Spectator, noting that visiting the estate—beautiful and rural, surrounded by forest—reminded her of when she first saw Smith-Haut-Lafitte.

Today the Komes-Garvey family remains committed to innovative sustainable and organic farming practices over our family’s 257 acres of prime Napa Valley vineyard land, exceptional winemaking, as well as customer service and hospitality at our popular Tasting Room in St. Helena. As a family that came to the wine business as farmers first, our love of the land influences everything we do. Every day we pay tribute to Flora’s love of all things living, and of ensuring that the land she loved is here for the next generation, and the next. It is an integral part of our heritage as well as the legacy we leave.

Flora Springs’ Ghost Winery Featured in San Francisco Chronicle

October 30, 2018

Note: The following article was originally written by Chris Macias and published in the San Francisco Chronicle on October 30, 2018 and can be found here.

The Napa Ghost Wineries You Can Visit

Napa Valley Ghost Winery

Trek around Wine Country, near its luxury hotels and fine-dining destinations, and you’ll find the remnants of wineries that date back to a time when Napa wasn’t so flush. These are vestiges of the Dark Ages for California wine. They’re known as ghost wineries, not because they’re haunted (though that’s up for debate in some cases), but because they serve as an important link between Napa’s early years as a wine region and the bustling destination it is now.

Napa Valley had a thriving wine industry in the 19th century, with more than 140 operating wineries opened by the final decade. But starting in the late 1880s, the region was hit with a triple blow that left the local wine industry reeling for decades. First, an outbreak of the lethal grapevine virus phylloxera crippled wine production for 20 years. Then the Great Depression arrived, which dovetailed with Prohibition from 1920 to 1933.

This half-century of setbacks left many California wineries in ruins. Although a few were able to stay in business by selling sacramental wine or grapes for home winemaking, the industry had withered to about three dozen by the time Prohibition was repealed. Many of the buildings remained vacant for decades, falling into ruin. Halloween notwithstanding, Napa’s ghost wineries are worth visiting any time of year. They’re scattered throughout the valley, offering a peek into a storied history and a spirit of perseverance that defines the area.

Here are a handful of the ghosts you can visit:

Flora Springs: This former home of the 1900 Rennie Brothers Winery in St. Helena, suffered a one-two punch at the turn of the 20th century. Not only were its vineyards hit by phylloxera, but a fire in its wine cellar decimated its production capabilities. After decades of inactivity, the property was purchased in the mid 1970s and renamed Flora Springs. The ghost winery has since been renovated and serves as a production facility, which visitors can see during tours of the Flora Springs estate. Flora Springs plays up its ghost winery heritage with Halloween releases including All Hallows’ Eve Cabernet Franc and Ghost Winery Malbec…

Read the full article.

Learn more about our Ghost Winery and our Halloween Wines.