Napuro is here!

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

-Walt Disney

“Just try new things. Don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar, all right?”

-Michelle Obama

Frequent readers of our blog here at Schweiger Vineyards have heard many stories by now of my Portugal adventure in 2015. I’ve discussed cork harvesting, cork sorting, and even shared photos of a chapel made out of human bones. I got to sample hundreds of new wines from different regions around the country and discovered styles and nuances of Portugal that I never knew existed. There has been one find I made in Portugal I’ve been keeping to myself…until now.

White Port.

It’s a lesser known wine, typically  from the upper slopes of the Douro Valley, often made from Arinto, Malvasia Fina, Codega, and Gouveio varieties. Traditionally it is enjoyed on its own, slightly chilled, or the recent trend is enjoying it as part of a cocktail, a “White Port and Tonic”. My good friend Michael Riel brought one to me on our second evening in Portugal and I think I enjoyed two or five of these every evening. It was an amazing way to end a day, sipping your cocktail as the sun sets on the Douro River with your feet up.

So, fast forward to the 2015 harvest. As I’m monitoring our fermentations, the aroma of our estate Chardonnay drew me back to those sunsets in Portugal. White peach, nectarine, honeysuckle, dried apricot, and a slight fig note. If I could capture this moment in time, it would make such an amazing white port.

I gave this some serious consideration in the months to come and approached my dad early in 2016 with my experiment idea. I bought some white ports to try with him. “Will it work?” he asked me. I replied, “I honestly don’t know until we try but I’m pretty confident it will work.” With that, he gave me the thumbs up to try making one barrel of this experimental wine. I purchased some extra brandy from Germain Robin, and after harvesting our estate Chardonnay in the fall of 2016, calculated the exact moment when to add the brandy.

Things went exactly according to plan and even exceeded my expectations. The mid-fermentation aromas were perfectly preserved. The sweetness of the fruit creates a lovely balance with the smooth and subtle brandy components. My daughter, Megan, loves baking and even started playing around with food pairings for this wine. Pear tarts, Fig tarts, pecan pie, and pumpkin pie all shine when accompanied bywith this wine.

So, yeah, we had to bottle it and share it with our club. Remember we gave up our rights to the Port name, so we can’t call it “White Port”. Well, one of the name submissions in our Port contest summed this project up so nicely we had to run with it. This wine is a combination of Napa fruit and Douro traditions. Napa. Douro. So thanks to Chris Chiampas of San Jose, the name “Napuro®” was born!

We only bottled 60 cases of Napuro in 375 ml bottles and will be releasing it exclusively to our club members.  There will be a three bottle maximum and orders will be handled on a first come, first served basis. You can purchase here on the website, or by calling us directly at 707-963-4882.

I plan on making Napuro in the years to come, when conditions are right, and I hope you enjoy this as a new part of your special family gatherings.



Green Drop

Quality over Quantity.

This is not your grocery store wine. Don’t get me wrong, mass produced vino has its place, and it knows its place – quantity over quality to create a less expensive product. It’s what most of us call, “every day wine”. We’ve all been to the local supermarket chain and purchased a $12 bottle of “reserve” Cabernet from a 100,000 case lot, brought it to a friend’s dinner party or paired it with a slice of pizza. Even the most snobby of wine connoisseurs have done it and there is no shame in it. What we are talking about today is one specific facet of grape growing that separates great wine from the rest of the pack – “Green Drop”.

One of the most frequent questions I get from visitors to the Napa Valley is this: “Why are the wines here so expensive?” they ask, “when I can go to the store and get a bottle at $5 – $20!”. It is a valid question and I’m always glad they ask. Now, I can’t speak for our peers, but I can speak for Schweiger Vineyards, and the reason is this: we focus on growing the highest quality wine grapes in the world and, in-fact, purposely attempt to grow less fruit. We have Mother Nature to thank for low yields with our high elevation and volcanic soils, but in addition to her gifts, we employ certain vineyard practices such as what’s called Green Drop.

Recently, our winemaker and viticulturist, Andy Schweiger, brought me to the estate Malbec vineyard where he and our vineyard crew were literally taking half of the fruit off the vines and dropping them to the ground. There, these clusters will eventually become organic matter in the soil. Green Drop is done before the process of veraison begins when the grapes change from green to red and are pumped full of sugar. This enables the vine to focus its wine-creating energy on fewer berries resulting in more intense flavor, color and tannic structure.

If we were a mass producer, we wouldn’t do this. It’s labor intensive, costly, and sure; we could use the superfluous fruit if we wanted to. But we don’t. What we want is a more complex, age worthy, full bodied wine. “Green drop” is just one of the many ways we get there.