VOLKER EISELE, Chiles Valley, Napa

Volker Eisele Family Estate was established in 1974 on 400 acres in one of Napa’s cooler sub-appellations.  The winery building dates to the 1870s.

Volker was a renowned grape grower and a political force — he was the architect of a visionary farmland protection policy in Napa (Measure J) — and a president of both the Napa Valley Farm Bureau and the Napa Valley Grape Growers.  From the time he and his wife Liesel purchased the estate, they farmed organically.  Liesel is a landscape architect, bringing a completely different and beautiful dimension to the property.  60 acres of vineyard, at 900-100 feet, are planted to a complex mix of Bordeaux varietals, both white and red, including 7 clones of Cabernet Sauvignon.  This diversity, in combination with the cooler microclimate, contribute to remarkably complex, highly aromatic wines.  Of course, the vineyard is certified organic.

Until 1991, all the grapes were sold to other wineries, and while the fruit remains in high demand, some of it now goes to their own 4 estate-bottled wines.  About 3,000 cases are produced annually.  Volker & Liesel’s son Alexander manages the estate, while winemakers are Molly Lyman and John McKay.