Almost 20 years ago, we began to look for a rural setting as a retreat from the hustle and bustle of city and careers when we came across a small home and piece of land in the Napa Valley. We planted our first Chardonnay vineyard in the Oak Knoll district, north of Napa.
We used a new Dijon clone and also broke Napa tradition by close-row planting, which required that the vineyard be entirely hand tended. In other words, no tractors. Randy Lewis, an ultra-premium winemaker in the valley, showed immediate interest. Every year, the Chardonnay he has made using that fruit has received stratospheric scores.
Taking the next step, we acquired a much larger vineyard about a mile from the first one. After substantial improvements to drainage and vine care, we were rewarded with excellent Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Pinot Noir. We have planted more Chardonnay as well.
Initially, we sold all of our fruit to top wineries like Lewis Cellars and Mumm. Now we have certain rows or blocks that we retain to make wine for our "LOBO" label. Annually, we produce about 100 tons of grapes.
In 2007, we found our dream property on Atlas Peak, 42 acres on the eastern ridge of the Napa Valley. In addition to indescribable views, the 1350 foot elevation along with rocky, volcanic soil and southwestern sun exposure make ideal conditions for superlative Cabernet Sauvignon.
The LOBO wines now include Chardonnay, a Rose of Pinot Noir, a proprietary Red Blend called "HOWL," Pinot Noir and two Cabs--one from the valley floor and one from Atlas Peak. Randy Lewis makes the Chardonnay for LOBO and rising star, Victoria Coleman, makes the rest.
We are also now part-owners of a wonderful winery--The Caves At Soda Canyon--with 20,000 square feet bored into the mountaintop overlooking Napa's Stags Leap appellation. It's a great place to tour and taste.