Quivira Vineyards winemaker Hugh Chappelle joins California Wine Country with Steve Jaxon, Dan Berger and Harry Duke. Barry Herbst, the wine buyer at Bottle Barn, is also in the studio today.
Holly and Henry Wendt founded Quivira Vineyards in 1981 and their first wines were released in 1983. They are located in the Dry Creek Valley. The new owners took over in about 2006.
The 140-year-old Fig
There is a 140-year-old fig tree on the property which has become a landmark of the vineyard. That tree is the namesake of their Sauvignon Blanc.
Dan Berger describes the hillside property and gorgeous views. There are several hundred acres with about 82-84 under vine.
Hugh entered the wine industry by answering a help wanted ad off a 3×5 card, at UC Santa Cruz, Nicasio Vineyards. That is where he learned about wine. He was a Chemistry major at first. Having caught the wine bug, he decided to make it a career. He started the UC Davis graduate program in 1989. Before Quivira he worked at Linmar Estates, 2004-2009 vintage. He was at Flowers for 4 vintages before that.
There is a Coho and Steelhead Salmon spawning river called Wine Creek on the property. The owners have dedicated themselves to restoration of the creek, in collaboration with state and private agencies.
There is a special garden at the winery. There are 110 raised beds where they cultivate anything that grows in Dry Creek Valley, fruits, vegetables, cut flowers, culinary and medicinal herbs, olive trees and more. Quivira started practicing organic farming in the late 1990s. They are biodynamic certified, which is a difficult process.
They are tasting a Rosé, which is very dry, spectacular, says Dan. It was bottled about a month ago, a is single vineyard estate grown, a blend of Grenache (59%), Counois, Mourvedre, Petit Syrah and Primitivo. This wine is inspired by Provençal Rosés, but done in Dry Creek. Because they pick these grapes early, they have more freedom in the winery to take care of the grapes, since it comes in before the rest of the harvest rush.
Next there is a Sauvignon Blanc to taste. It is actually a 75-25 blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. It’s an alter ego to their well-known Fig Tree Vineyard SV.
Quivira Vineyards offers tastings, in their Healdsburg location.