A Vineyard in Napa by Doug Shafer

By Doug Shafer

At the age of forty seven, while he a profitable publishing govt and dwelling along with his spouse and 4 kids in an prosperous Chicago suburb, John Shafer made the shock statement that he had bought a winery within the Napa Valley. In 1973, he moved his kin to California and, without wisdom of winemaking, begun the adventure that might lead him, thirty years later, to possess and function what distinctive wine critic Robert M. Parker, Jr. known as “one of the world’s maximum wineries.” This ebook, narrated through Shafer’s son Doug, is a private account of ways his father became his midlife dream right into a striking luck story.

Set opposed to the backdrop of Napa Valley’s transformation from a rural backwater within the Nineteen Seventies via its emergence this day as one of many most sensible wine areas on the earth, the publication starts with the winery’s shaky commence and takes the reader during the father and son’s ongoing battles opposed to killer insects, cellar failures, neighborhood politics, altering patron tastes, and the volatility of nature itself. Doug Shafer tells the tale of his personal schooling, in addition to Shafer Vineyards’ cutting edge efforts to be environmentally sustainable, its position in spearheading the designation of a Stags jump American Viticultural region, and the way the wine has replaced within the modern period of custom-crushing and hobbyist vineyard investors.

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Looking back, I believe we were caught up in another element of that time: the “back to the land” movement. The hippie version of that was to join a commune, surround yourself with goats and naked toddlers, learn the dulcimer, and grow some pot. Others were starting the organic farm movement and creating food co-ops. 1 The Napa Valley version of that movement brought Jack and Jamie Davies from Los Angeles to Napa Valley to start Schramsberg. It brought the Brounsteins of Diamond Creek, the Trefethens, the Duckhorns, and Gary and Nancy Andrus of Pine Ridge.

A variety of factors also creates a beneficial mix of long hours of sunlight—thanks to southern and western slope exposures—and overall cooler temperatures due to the site’s location in the southern end of the Valley, which places it in the path of late-day marine breezes from the northernmost portion of San Francisco Bay, located just eighteen miles to the south. 16 / A Vineyard in Napa gauge if Dad could make a success of running a winery. “Anyone can put together numbers that make a great-looking projection,” he said.

Worse was when Dad drove the tractor pulling the discer between the rows. The spacing was unforgiving, allowing only a few inches between each side of the discer and the head-pruned vines, whose fiftyyear-old trunks were as thick as posts. More than once in less-watchful moments Dad took out an entire vine. ” Meanwhile, it came time to make a second run at grafting grapevines onto the budwood now sprouting optimistically again on the vineyard block, which was stuck with the name John’s Folly. The fence had successfully been mended, keeping out all the hungry deer.

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