Let us take you on a short, virtual journey to one of our favorite places. V. Sattui’s Henry Ranch is located in the Los Carneros appellation at the southern end of Napa Valley. It is the one appellation that is shared by both Sonoma and Napa counties.
Henry Ranch is on the Napa side of the border and it is made up 528 acres that have seen their share of history, yet have remained relatively untouched by time. When you’re there, you can close your eyes and almost hear the sounds of antique farm equipment powered by horses and humans.
Once home to Wappo Indians and then Spanish and Mexican settlers living on one of General Vallejo’s grants, the land was acquired by the Henry Family in 1850. It operated as a dairy ranch with an ingenious tram system of moving hay into the barn and taking milk out when Carneros Creek made road passage impossible during the winter months.
Dario Sattui purchased this property in 1993 from Herb Henry, one of the last living Henry family members, now in his late 80’s. Dario remains friends with him today.
“He is eccentric, almost innocent and unspoiled and a throwback to a previous generation of people who worked the land. He lived without a phone, without a TV, in a trailer and eventually in a culvert under the ground. He never drove a car to my knowledge and did the farm work with primitive equipment. I don’t know if he and his brother Ralph ever had a tractor on the farm. He even spun thread from wool and tanned hides.”
A small portion of this land, 111 acres total, has been planted to grapes. Henry Ranch’s cooling breezes from the San Pablo Bay and daytime heat on the lowlands and the hills that are part of the Mt. Veeder appellation, are the perfect mix for growing acclaimed Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Muscat Canelli, Merlot, Sangiovese, Syrah, Grenache, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Add in rolling grassy hills, old oak trees and slopes over 900 ft. with views of the Napa Valley to the north and San Francisco to the south—you see why Dario was attracted to this property. But of course, so were many developers who wanted to build homes. To keep this place intact, Dario had to buy out these developers’ options and place their escrows in his name. Since then, he’s placed 528 acres of the property including historic buildings, Carneros Creek and tributaries to the creek in the Land Trust of Napa County. Three quarters of this land will remain forever wild and undeveloped.
“It was and is such a beautiful valley I didn’t want to see it spoiled with homes. I wanted to preserve it, so it will never be built upon. We want to preserve the beauty for future generations. We have also fixed up the historic barns attempting to preserve what was. We are only custodians who must preserve the historic and wild nature of the property to pass it on as we found it for those who come later.”
We do our very best to take care of Henry Ranch with sustainable vineyard practices. We use cover-crops in the winter that attract beneficial insects that feed on harmful ones that can damage the vines. Cover-cropping also reduces soil erosion and, in the spring, we plow down the cover crop which acts as a natural fertilizer and returns valuable nitrogen to the soil. We compost our pomace (leftover skins and seeds after pressing) for a year, then use the composted material as nutrient-rich, organic fertilizer in the vineyard. To combat vertebrate pests such as birds and turkeys, we use an audio system in the vineyard with speakers that emit actual bird distress and predator calls which ward off pest birds. We’ve also continued our Fish Friendly Farming certification that protects harmful runoffs into creeks and streams and provides wildlife corridors between vineyard blocks.
At V. Sattui we believe the best grapes and the best wine comes from a land that is loved and cared for. Our Henry Ranch is a shining example of that.
We are very fortunate to often have fresh Dungeness crab, that delicate, sweet and tender crustacean found along California’s western shores. In our Deli, we offer a little mayo and some wedges of lemon to go alongside; but we also particularly like them, slightly warmed, atop a lightly dressed mound of baby greens. These are 4-ounce crab cakes. Serve one as a first course; two as a main course.
(Makes 8 four-ounce cakes)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup red bell pepper, small dice
½ cup yellow bell pepper, small dice
½ bunch scallions (green onions), green part only, cut ¼ inch
1 pound fresh Dungeness crabmeat
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cups fresh focaccia crumbs
2 quarts vegetable oil for deep fry
2 cups plain bread crumbs
In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter and cook peppers and scallions until tender. Set aside to cool.
Place crabmeat in a large bowl and check for bits of shell. Add the mayonnaise, mustard and focaccia bread crumbs and mix well. Stir in the peppers and scallions.
Heat the vegetable oil to 350 degrees F. If you do not have a fryer, use a heavy 6-quart saucepan.
Place the plain bread crumbs in a medium bowl or on a wide plate.
With a large spoon (and your hands), scoop a mound of the mixture (approximately 4 ounces) and shape a round patty.
Pass the crab patty in the bread crumbs two times, pressing the crumbs with your hands.
Fry or sauté the patties for about three minutes, until light brown.
Let rest on a plate with kitchen paper or paper towels at least 5 minutes before serving.
In the next day or two, grapes are going to start coming into the winery crush pad, and the 2015 harvest will be upon us! This year is even more special as we are honored to host a unique annual tradition that officially kicks off harvest in Napa Valley, the Napa Valley Grapegrowers’ Annual Harvest STOMP.
“There is simply no event like this one in the world of wine”, Steve Moulds of Moulds Family Vineyards and President of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG). “We take the best time of year in the Valley and throw every great thing about Napa Valley into it: the vineyard setting, the wines, the food, the people, and the camaraderie that exists is unparalleled.”
This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, August 22, and tickets have already sold out. There is a wait list if you’re interested in the possibility of attending, but this blog is about sharing information on two missions that we are happy to partner with NVG through this event: to preserve and promote Napa Valley’s world-class vineyards, and to support the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation.
We are hosting STOMP at our Henry Ranch in the Los Carneros appellation at the southern end of Napa County. This 525-acre property is a shining example of preserving Napa Valley’s agricultural heritage. It was once home to the Wappo Indians and part of an original Spanish land grant. Around 1850 the land was purchased by the Henry family, who farmed and raised livestock on the ranch until Dario Sattui bought the property from Herb Henry in 1993. To date, 120 acres of sustainably-farmed vineyards have been planted and virtually all of the 525 acres of land have been protected by any further development through conservation easements and the Land Trust of Napa County, ensuring the unspoiled beauty of this ranch for future generations.
STOMP also helps support the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation. The Napa Valley is known for its world-class vineyards that produce the world's highest quality wines, but what really makes this valley so special are the people. The Napa Valley farmworker community is the heart, soul and foundation of our industry. Founded by the NVG in 2011, the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation supports and promotes Napa Valley’s vineyard workers through education and professional development. This foundation is the only one of its kind in the United States and to date has helped more than 7,500 vineyard workers and their families. Not only are the lives of Napa Valley’s vineyard workers improved, but also their families, their children, and our community-at-large.
Cheers to the 2015 harvest! May it be bountiful not only in wine grapes, but also in keeping Napa Valley a beautiful destination, and one of the best places to live.
Winter rains promote the rapid growth of wild mustard in the Napa Valley. January visitors are treated to our Valley floor being blanketed in a vibrant carpet of bright yellow mustard flowers. So it’s no accident that mustard is a favorite ingredient of so many Napa chefs—our own included. We’ve found that prawns and mustard have a natural affinity for each other. Add shallots and champagne vinegar and this dish is transcendent. No dipping here...these prawns are already sauced!
½ cup plus 2 teaspoons sea salt
3 pounds prawns, heads removed, peeled & deveined
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon ground red chili flakes
½ cup champagne vinegar
1 cup canola oil
¼ cup finely chopped shallots
¼ cup finely chopped Italian parsley
In a large pot bring 6 quarts of water to a boil, then add ½ cup of sea salt.
When water begins to boil again, add the prawns. Bring to a boil once more and cook for only a half minute (30 seconds). Drain and let the prawns cool.
While waiting for the prawns to cool, make the emulsion: In a mixer bowl, place the Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons salt, chili flakes and champagne vinegar.
Mix on medium-low for about 1-2 minutes, then add the oil very slowly (so the ingredients don’t separate) until the oil is done.
In a large bowl, place the prawns, then add the emulsion, the shallots and the parsley. Mix very well to coat the prawns. Serve chilled with a bottle of your favorite V. Sattui Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.
You've asked and we've heard you! We now offer two tours to satisfy all palates.
The casual encounter; for the lovers of spontaneity and the people who want to get to know us a little better but aren’t quite ready to commit (you know who you are).
Offered daily at 11am and Sunday-Friday at 2pm
45 minute tour
$30 per adult / $15 per child (6-20 years old)
Tasting voucher for our Main Tasting Room
Brief history of the winery
Organic practices in Vittorio's Vineyard
The growing seasons of grapevines
The intimate experience; for the lovers of planning and the people who just can’t resist our charm and want to know EVERYTHING there is to know about winemaking and V. Sattui. Ready to go all in?
Offered Sundays only at noon
1.5 hour tour including tasting
$65 per member / $75 per non-member (21 and older only)
Seated tasting paired with a selection of our own house-cured meats and artisanal cheeses
Everything above plus -
The importance barrel selection
In-depth look at the vineyards and winemaking practices
What it takes to make a great vintage
...and sample directly from the tanks!
Vice President, Operations
• Put $5 of every $100 in a savings account and never touch it. Easy to say, tough to do.
• Set goals, set a plan to achieve those goals, work your plan.
• Life is short. Have fun, love hard, take what you do seriously—but not yourself. Laugh a lot, especially at yourself when appropriate.
"When you land your first job begin to put money away for your retirement. If you aren’t eligible to save into a retirement plan right away, then put money into a savings account that comes directly out of your paycheck. This way you will never notice any difference when you can put it to a retirement account. Attempt to put 10 percent away every paycheck, and don’t leave it in a savings account, put in a money market or something that will make your money work for you.”
Vice President of Events
“Never stop learning.”
“My best advice for a college grad is not to be discouraged if they cannot find a job in their major. They may find that some things they learned in college have a direct application in their current work or even their personal lives."
“My advice would be: Don’t be practical. Take risks. You’ll find that as you get older it gets harder to take a chance on something different. So seize the day, explore your passions and see where they take you.”
“While graduation may be an accomplishment, it is really a humble beginning to life. Learning (aggressively) can never stop. One of the best tools for learning is your Word Power and that is not just your ability to explain things to others, but to explain to yourself as well. Grammar and syntax are equally important. I cringe when I hear ‘Where are you at…???’ OR ‘I had to ran all the way’, OR ‘I have just rang it up.’ No matter how well you have mastered your discipline(s), if you have not mastered your language, you are destined for difficulties.
Wine Club Assistant
“I’ll pass along the best advice my Mom gave me-- don’t get arrested!”
Fernando chose to share a link to four of the most inspirational, life-changing TED talks for students. They’re definitely worth checking out!
We just love the photos that talented photographer Mariah Smith captured of this truly unique wedding held here at the Winery.
Some of our favorites are posted below, but check out Mariah's blog for the full story!
To be named Winery of the Year for a second time this year is truly an honor. The Critics Challenge International Wine Competition was a successful competition for us and we are proud to announce that our special, Bordeaux-style 2011 Paradiso - along with receiving a Platinum medal and a 97 point rating - was also named Wine of the Year and Best Red.
Robert Whitley, the Director and Chief Judge of Critics Challenge as well as publisher of the WineReviewOnline, wrote a glowing article summing up our winnings and calling us “the best Napa Valley winery you’ve never heard of” and lamenting that though we may be “the most medaled winery in America” and our “long record of excellence is impressive,” it is a “shame more wine lovers aren’t aware of [V. Sattui].” We rely on you, our treasured customers, to pass the word along about our brand, because we chose to sell directly to you in order to give you the best prices and ensure the best quality in our wines. So thank you for helping us, by drinking and enjoying our award-winning wines!
We would love to share with you the reviews that Robert Whitley himself wrote on some of our Platinum award winners from Critics Challenge:
Won Wine of the Year and Best Red
"Close your eyes and imagine you've just taken a sip of First Growth Bordeaux at about $1000 a bottle. Then open your eyes and realize it's the 2011 V. Sattui Paradiso, a red Bordeaux-style blend from a so-called off vintage. Paradiso price: $70. This could be the steal of the century if you were the sort of person who overspends on high-end Bordeaux. Paradiso incorporates all five of the red Bordeaux grape varieties, but Cabernet Sauvignon is dominant. This vintage exhibits aromas of cassis and ripe blackberry, with the very Bordeaux-like note of lead pencil and cedar."
- Robert Whitley, May 26, 2015
Platinum Award winner
"V. Sattui is a virtual machine when it comes to producing great Napa Valley Cabernet vintage after vintage. This 2012 Howell Mountain, from the west-facing slopes of the Napa Valley, is a blockbuster that exhibits intense black-fruit aromas, a richly layered palate, and finely integrated tannins, with a subtle wood note in the background. Sensational stuff."
- Robert Whitley, May 26, 2015
Platinum Award winner
"With soft, supple tannins and a juicy blackberry and blueberry core, this is a delightful Cabernet Sauvignon that can be enjoyed now while you wait for some of the more muscular Napa Valley Cabs from this outstanding vintage to come around."
- Robert Whitley, May 26, 2015
Platinum Award winner
"For as long as memory serves, the Morisoli Vineyard has been one of the Napa Valley's most stunning properties. The Cabernet from this vineyard follows a familiar theme vintage afer vintage, producing complex, supple Cabernet that's easy to drink when young but with the ability to age. The 2012 is just another in a long series of Morisoli Cabs that are suave and seductive. And the price is modest given the history of excellence."
- Robert Whitley, May 26, 2015
She’s the one who loves you unconditionally. She cooked for you, cleaned up your messes, took care of you when you were sick. Listened while you carried on ad nauseam. Now, she’s one of your best friends and it’s time to do something nice for her.
May we suggest an Italian-style brunch? Made by you (with help from us of course!), and not some generic dish thrown together by a chef in a kitchen who is slammed on one of the busiest restaurant days of the year. You pick out the ingredients, you put in the work, make it with love, and you reap the rewards of knowing you’ve done something really special for the woman who changed your diapers.
Start with the right wine. Our 2012 Cuvée Rouge is a bubbly, easy-to-drink sparkler perfect for beginning her day. She will delight in the beautiful vibrant pink color when you pour it into her champagne flute (yes—you need to do it right, and break out the fancy flutes!).
Next, get ready to serve Mom a yummy, hearty breakfast made with great, fresh, local ingredients. The Frittata recipe below is a gift from Stefano Masanti, a Michelin Star Chef from the Italian Alps who happens to be a friend of ours. Currently he is spending his off-season at V. Sattui, enjoying the abundant produce available in our area, cooking food at our winery and sharing fantastic recipes like this one.
The spices and saltiness in the Italian sausage and the richness of the eggs are a nice foil to the fruity flavors of the Cuvée Rouge. Also, the Frittata could be made ahead of time - right before she arrives. Serve it at room temperature with a fruit or green salad.
We hope you’ll spend time with your Mom on Mother’s Day, or whenever it works for both of you. Enjoy her. Listen to her. Woo her.
She’s worth it!
Serves 4 people
½ pound Salsiccia sausage, or substitute sweet Italian sausage
1 baked and mashed russet potato
16 asparagus spears, blanched, cut in 1/2” pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons V. Sattui Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or other high quality Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Slice sausage links to the size of small coins. Heat a 10-inch frying pan, or cast iron skillet (a pan that can go into the oven) until hot and grill the sausage slices on each side until brown. Remove from hot pan and drain on a paper towel.
In a large bowl, wisk the eggs until fluffy. Add the potatoes, asparagus, and the cooked sausage. Season with salt and pepper and stir the mixture to combine and evenly distribute the ingredients.
Drizzle 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in the pan you cooked the sausages in. Add the frittata mixture and cook in the oven for 8 minutes or until the eggs are set. Let the frittata cool for 2 minutes, then cut into slices and serve.
Happy Earth Day! Although it is a nationally recognized day for celebrating “green” practices, at V. Sattui we focus on this every day.
Sustainability has been a core value at V. Sattui since it was founded in 1976. As a California Certified Sustainable winery, V. Sattui's commitment to taking care of the land is present in our winemaking practices from the soil, to the vine, and to the bottle.
The viticulture team is constantly evaluating the environmental impact of our farming practices. Certified through the Fish-Friendly Farming program, V. Sattui introduces beneficial predators and organisms in the vineyards to reduce the need for use of damaging pesticides or herbicides, in line with its commitment to preserving natural wildlife habitats. In this very dry chapter of California agriculture, we are also closely monitoring our water use and have tilled many of our cover crops early, so they aren’t competing with vines for water. This dedication extends beyond the winery to a family of private grape growers who tend their vineyards with the same care and concern required to make the distinctive wines for which V. Sattui is known.
This is the original estate vineyard property of V. Sattui Winery, adjacent to the winery itself. It is 34 acres that are planted to seven varieties, most of them Cabernet Sauvignon. As of the 2012 vintage, Vittorio's Vineyard is USDA Certified Organic, and so our Vittorio's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, which will be released later this year.
"We've always tried to take a proactive role in preserving the health of the lands we have," explains vineyard consultant Larry Bradley. "Vittorio's Vineyard has actually been organic for the past five seasons, but the process of certification takes a while." What this means is that no chemicals or inorganic fertilizers are used that could leach into the groundwater. "This of course is more costly," says Larry, "but we believe we're doing the right thing and that the resulting wines will be more flavorful."
The spacing between vines in Vittorio’s Vineyard have been planted with all organic cover crops, mostly bell beans and other legumes and grasses. "Green manures," as Larry describes them. "We want lean soils," he says, "and we supplement the weaker areas with fish emulsions and other organic composts."
At just over 2400 feet, Howell Mountain is among the highest vineyards in all of Napa Valley. The unique climate of this vineyard produces wines with a firm structure, intense fruit flavors, earthy spice, and round acidity. The ashy, iron-laden soils are perfectly suited for growing full-bodied, peppery Zinfandel that have inspired a dedicated following from many V. Sattui fans. The Black-Sears family is committed to caring for the land they call home, farming organically and biodynamically in the vineyard and in their orchards and gardens. Wine lovers who have enjoyed the fruit and the wines of the Black-Sears vines will testify: "there's just something special about that vineyard."