Wood, steel define new Napa Valley hospitality building at Seven Apart Winery
As seen on North Bay Business Journal, December 2021
Surrounded by four separate and carefully designed outdoor private tasting venues and three unique fountains, the new Seven Apart Winery hospitality building invites guests to enter through a custom steel pivot door leading into a great room furnished with casual seat groupings.
The new hospitality center’s design in the Napa Valley guides up to 80 visitors each week through a protected garden to a mezzanine overlooking the production facility — completed in February 2020 — and another private tasting room with a one-of-a-kind wall-to-wall operable window system.
This room also features a stone wall with a floor-to-ceiling window that allows for a glimpse into the custom wine display room with a large wine rack system extending upward to the ceiling showcasing the winery’s recent vintages.
The lighting, created by Vita Pehar Design, enhances the building’s architectural features. New office space and a service kitchen provide the winemaking team, led by Winemaker Andy Erickson, with a large working area away from production space and a location to prepare for events and wine tastings without impacting the guest experience.
The interior motif is defined by a palette of wood and black steel, turning the agrarian structure into a modern aesthetic designed by James Jefferies Architects and built by General Contractor Wright Contracting and Bruce Tucker Construction.
Construction began in November 2020 and was finished Sept. 24, 2021. By Oct. 1 the hospitality center was ready to host its first guests, according to General Manager Yannick.
“Supply chain delays did not stop us from opening but temporarily slowed our ability to receive additional furnishings along with imported cork, glass from China and specially designed wine shipping boxes. We are open for business and plan to continue booking wine and cheese tastings and tours throughout the year,” he said.
Seven Apart Winery, located at 4057 Silverado Trail at the intersection of Soda Canyon Road at the base of Atlas Peak, was established in 2018 by proprietor Don Dady and his business partner Jason Kyle. Seven Apart released its first wine in September 2020 — “Expedition” 2018 cabernet sauvignon — with just 60 barrels produced and available only through the brand’s allocation list.
Robert Parker Wine Advocate: 2019 Expedition
As seen on Robert Parker, October 2021
This is the second vintage from Seven Apart—a blend coming from Stag’s Ridge vineyard, located up on Atlas Peak, and Base Camp vineyard, located seven miles down the mountain (hence the name). The winemaker here is Andy Erickson, formerly at Screaming Eagle and Harlan Estate and currently also consulting winemaker at Dalla Valle (among others). The upper vineyard (Stag’s Ridge) is planted to mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, with small amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Seven miles down the road, where Soda Canyon Road meets the Silverado Trail, is the four-acre Base Camp vineyard, planted in the mid-1990s to Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Base Camp was planted in 1994 and 1998.
Opaque purple-black in color, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Expedition erupts from the glass with explosive scents of boysenberry preserves, blueberry pie and Black Forest cake, plus suggestions of molten chocolate, licorice, tar and violets, with a waft of sandalwood. The full-bodied palate is full-on rich and decadent, exuding layer upon layer of opulent black and blue fruit preserves with bags of exotic spice accents and a long, fragrant finish. Pure hedonism. It is tantalizingly delicious right now, but give it 3-4 years in bottle to blow off that puppy fat, and drink it over the next 25 years+.
VOL 13: Home Is Where the Wine Is | A Guide to Aging Wine at Home
“When preserved correctly, wine can last up to centuries, growing in value, quality, and most importantly taste.”
The Journal | Vol. 13
Why cellar wine?
For those with a treasured collection, the bottles in their cellars represent precious memories. For others, it’s about practicing patience until the right time comes to enjoy the wine at its best. Whatever your reasons, one of the pleasures of enjoying fine wine is curating a collection that suits your tastes and style over time.
If your home doesn’t come equipped with a state-of-the-art wine cellar, that doesn’t mean you can’t store your wine in it. You can still expertly age your wine from the comfort of your own home – you just need to know how.
Is My Wine Worth Aging?
First things first: not all wines are made to age! The majority of bottled wines are meant to be drunk right after bottling or at a maximum of five years after bottling. In fact, only one percent of the world’s wine is actually meant to be aged. If you want to know whether your wine is worthy of aging, it will probably come with a steep price tag. This is because significant levels of detail, cost, and care need to go into an age-worthy bottle.
But simply spending more money on a bottle won’t guarantee that it will age well. Remember: a flawed or poor-quality wine won’t miraculously improve with age. It needs to be world-class from day one! Here are a few key characteristics to look for in cellar-worthy wines:
- High acidity: Acidity adds to a wine’s vibrant, full-bodied texture. It fades with age, so the higher the acidity to start with, the better. Red wines that have a higher acidity (a lower pH) generally last longer.
- Big tannins: Tannins act as antioxidants and help preserve freshness in red wines. Bold tannins give the wine the structure to age well.
- Quality fruit: It all starts with well-balanced fruit! While this is difficult to tell by the bottle, generally, a reliable producer with a good reputation will be a solid starting point.
When you get your hands on that special bottle that’s worth the wait, caring for it in the best way possible is vital to the drinking experience. Aging or cellaring wine refers to the process of storing a bottle of wine in a cool, dark place for several years, allowing the wine to improve as it sits untouched in the bottle.
When preserved correctly, wine can last up to centuries, growing in value, quality, and, most importantly, taste. The oldest wine in existence today is the Speyer Wine Bottle that dates back to 325-350 AD. Of course, whether it is drinkable is still to be determined.
On the other hand, poor storage can spoil even the greatest wines. That’s the last thing you want when your wine is an investment of your money and care. At Seven Apart, all our wines are made to age and need to be stored correctly for their flavors to flourish optimally.
Home Base Can Be Best
In the absence of an expensive cellar or wine storage facility, you’ll need to replicate the conditions of a wine cellar in your own home:
- Store Wine at the Proper Temperature
Wine is more fragile than you think! Of all the factors that influence the quality of stored wine, the temperature is the most important. Hot or cold temperatures are an instant way to deteriorate the wine. In general, the ideal temperature for both long-term or short-term wine storage is around 55°F but this can vary from wine to wine. For temperature recommendations about specific wines, consult the producer of the bottle to be sure.
The temperature of the room where you store your wine should be kept as stable as possible. Temperature fluctuations can cause the cork to expand and contract. This allows the wine to seep out (or air to seep in) around it, causing oxidation (something you want to avoid at all costs!).
- Store Wine Bottles Horizontally
A wine rack is a great, budget-friendly option for wine lovers. Be sure to store your corked wine bottles horizontally in a wine rack. Keep the rack away from ovens or fridges where heat is expelled! Keeping wine on its side helps keep the cork moist, which is key for long-term storage. Horizontal storage is also an efficient way to store your wines for maximum space and easy access.
- Protect Wine from Light and Vibration
Whether you’re storing it for months, weeks, or days, a dark room is wines’ best friend. UV rays from direct sunlight can damage the wine’s flavors and aromas. Wines should also be kept well away from sources of vibration. This disturbs sediments in the bottle, disrupting the process that enables the wine to age favorably. Wine and washing machines don’t mix!
- Store Wine at the Proper Humidity
Humidity extremes in the storage area can negatively impact your wine’s longevity. Aim to keep the humidity in your storage between 60 and 68% to ensure the flavors develop to their fullest potential. A simple household humidity controller should do the trick in most rooms. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of this then…
- Invest in a Wine Fridge
If you don’t have a wine storage space that’s consistently cool, dark, and moist, a wine refrigerator – also known as a wine cooler – is a good idea. Unlike a regular refrigerator that keeps your food very cold and dry, a wine fridge keeps wine between 50-60˚F and at the proper humidity. A good wine fridge should have a cooler setting for sparkling wine so you get the most use out of it. Housing your wine in a separate wine fridge also prevents cross-contamination from food odors. If cost is a concern, remember: wine is an investment, and a wine fridge is a surefire way to protect your investment down the line.
- Serve Wine at the Proper Temperature
When preparing to serve a stored bottle to fellow wine lovers, allow time for it to come to the proper serving temperature. This ensures full expression of wine aroma and flavor. Decanting your wine before serving is the best way to do this. To learn more about decanting, read through our informative post here.
Red wine should be served chilled slightly below room temperature, between 58 and 65˚F. The precise temperature is determined by the age of the wine, with older wines drinking better at 61-65˚F and younger wines on the colder end of the spectrum. White wines can and should be served colder than reds, ideally between 45-55˚F.
The right wine fridge or proper storage conditions will make serving your wines at the right temperature a quick and seamless process.
Understanding Cabernet Sauvignon
At Seven Apart, we craft Cabernet Sauvignon wines that express the best of this deep, bold variety. In order to do so, they benefit from a little extra time to flourish. Anywhere from five to fifteen years in the bottle helps to soften astringent tannins and balance out acidity levels. This gives way to a smoother texture, allowing earthy aromas of leather and tobacco to shine through alongside its initial fruity notes. The longer the wine ages, the more substantial it will feel and the richer its mouthfeel.
We strive to bring you the most exceptional wines, and then it’s up to you to ensure the premium quality of our wine when it’s in your hands. If you’re a seasoned wine lover, it’s well worth it to invest in a space that will reward you now – and many years down the line.
VOL 12: DE-MYSTIFYING DECANTING | THE WHAT, WHEN & WHY
“Life speeds up as you get older. So when I have a great wine – a really amazing wine – I feel like the world just stops for a second.”
~ Don Dady, Seven Apart Owner
THE JOURNAL | VOL. 12
The time has come: you’ve decided to treat yourself to a world-class Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that’s been aging in your cellar for years. You’ve prepped a sumptuous meal for your wine pairing and set the table for guests – the whole nine yards. As the moment you’ve been anticipating approaches, you realize there is one thing you didn’t think to ask yourself: what do you do with the actual bottle?
The answer is simple. A surefire way to get the best drinking experience from a fine wine is to decant it before serving.
Watch our video below to learn more:
The Art of Decanting
Decanting is the process of pouring wine out of the bottle and into a glass decanter for it to ‘breathe.’ The wine is then served from the decanter or decanted back into the bottle after some time.
There are two main reasons for doing this:
1) The first is to physically separate the wine from sediment that may have formed naturally during aging. Older vintage red wine contains the most sediment, while young white wines contain the least. Though not harmful, sediment can tend to deaden the vibrant flavor of your wine. No one wants that, especially if you’ve been patiently waiting for years to enjoy your special selection! Decanting wine ensures that the sediment never makes it past the bottom of the bottle.
2) The second reason is to harness the effects of oxygen exposure, releasing certain compounds found within the bottle. A little breathing room goes a long way. Aerating the wine for even 30 minutes profoundly affects our perception of flavor, texture, and aroma by softening astringent tannins in the wine. Decanting wine allows its flavors and aromas that were dormant while bottled to expand and enhance. A simple way to think about wine is that it is a living being in a bottle: it has been hibernating for years, and when finally opened up to the world, it takes time to wake up and fully express itself.
What Wines Need Decanting?
There aren’t many rules for which wines should and should not be decanted. Some varieties will benefit more than others. Particularly young, robust red wines with more intense tannins. High-end red wines drink better after decanting because they most likely will have a more significant amount of sediment build-up due to their extended aging process.
This said, just because a Cabernet Sauvignon can be stored for years, doesn’t mean it has to be. Our Expedition Cabernet Sauvignon is a younger wine that is already drinking beautifully.
Young Cabernet Sauvignons are typically very high in tannins, intense, and can be tight or closed on the nose or palate. This is just the grape variety’s characteristics. That’s why the longer the wine spends in the bottle, the more its tannins will soften. If you’re eager to savor your Cabernet Sauvignon sooner rather than later, it will most definitely benefit from decanting to help soften the tannins and flavors. A well-made Cabernet like our Expedition should be given up to 60-minutes to allow the tannins to mellow out, and to make the ‘sharp’ aromas less detectable. Once open, be sure to elevate your experience with a juicy steak – the combination of tannins in the wine and fat in the steak will be mouthwatering.
If you have a few of the same bottles at home and are hosting some guests, test the same wine with a decanter and without and taste for yourself!
What Kind of Decanter Do I Need?
Choosing the most suitable decanter for the wine you’re drinking is important to get the best result, but it’s up to you how technical you want to get. Full-bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, a Bordeaux blend and Syrah do well in large decanters with a wide base. Medium to light-bodied reds such as Merlot, Grenache, and Pinot Noir need a medium-sized decanter that has been chilled. Many wine glass specialists produce varietal-specific decanters. A great place to start is with the experts like Riedel, Gabriel-Glas, Zalto and Spiegelau.
The only wines that should never be decanted are sparkling wines, like Champagne. These wines thrive most when they have bounce and effervescence. The aeration from decanting reduces the bubbles, much like how a soda goes flat when left out of the fridge for too long.
How Do You Decant Wine?
Although it may appear intimidating, a decanter is a rewarding addition to any bar cart. When done correctly, decanting your wine can elevate the drinking experience remarkably. All it requires is a light hand and a little patience. Here’s how to get the optimal results:
- If your bottle of wine has been stored horizontally in your wine rack, remove it from storage and place it upright for a full day before decanting. This will allow the sediment to settle at the bottom of the bottle.
- Open your special bottle of wine with a corkscrew.
- Start by pour a small amount of wine in your wine glass. This is to make sure your wine isn’t corked! Then pour the content of your glass into the decanter and swirl. This is a handy step as it helps ‘wash’ your decanter, removing any residual alcohol or cleaning detergent from previous use.
- Gently tilt the neck of the wine bottle toward the decanter, watching the angle of the bottle carefully (45 degrees is perfect) to prevent the wine from gushing out and disturbing the sediment.
- Pour the wine into the decanter slowly and steadily while keeping an eye out for any sediment that approaches the opening.
- Stop decanting if you see any sediment approaching the neck of the bottle. Tilt the bottle upright, and then start pouring again.
- Finish pouring the wine, leaving about half an ounce in the bottle with the sediment at the bottom.
One should avoid decanting too long in advance, or else you can risk oxidation. Oxidation in wine is a chemical reaction that occurs when the oxygen in air comes into contact with the alcohol in wine. The result is a wine that is slightly brown, stale, and has a tangy, metallic smell. That’s why decanting wine can be done up to four hours maximum before drinking it, and no less than half an hour before.It’s best to re-cork your wine within 18 hours.
Patience is a Virtue
At Seven Apart, we know that one of the most joyful moments for any wine lover is finally opening up that bottle that you’ve been saving. If you’ve been storing your Seven Apart Cabernet Sauvignon for the right occasion (and we totally understand if you have), then it might need some time to open up.
To enhance your experience, remember that fine wine deserves every bit of attention to detail to heighten the moment. That’s what makes decanting wine such a magical process. It is an integral part of wine drinking and reflects our philosophy that patience is a virtue. In fact, this ritual is one of Seven Apart’s founder Don Dady’s favorite aspects about wine. He says:
“Life speeds up as you get older. So when I have a great wine – a really amazing wine – I feel like the world just stops for a second. You sit there and focus so intensely on the wine, and watch as layers of fruit and complexity unfold. It’s a beautiful process,” he shares.
Through decanting, we can slow down and take a moment to truly appreciate the craft in front of us. No wonder wine tastes all the better for it.
Vol 11: The Upper Echelon of Vineyards
“Each day I wake up with the goal to make the best wine Mother Nature affords us, and with Seven Apart, the sky’s the limit.”
~ Andy Erickson, Seven Apart Winemaker
The Journal | Vol. 11
When Seven Apart founder Don Dady first set out to locate the right piece of land to craft world-class Cabernet Sauvignon, he started with the vineyard. And not just any vineyard: but the vineyard with the best possible location in Napa Valley.
His search eventually led him to Stags Ridge Vineyard on Atlas Peak. Stags Ridge’s dense volcanic soils have a proven history of producing 100 point wines. But perhaps the most important factor about this exceptional vineyard is its prized location.
Wine lovers and critics consider high altitude vineyards to be in the upper echelon of the winemaking world. At 1,475 feet up in the air, Stags Ridge Vineyard sits at one of the highest elevations in Napa. From Austria’s Steiermark mountain-grown Chardonnay to the red wines of Sicily’s Mount Etna, it’s no secret that elevation has a significant impact on wine.
What Difference Does Altitude Make to a Wine?
You may have come across the term ‘high-altitude vineyard’ on a label and considered it just another selling point. But the truth is, when it comes to vineyards, it’s all location, location, location.
Grapes grown at higher altitudes ripen differently from their counterparts further down. Many consider that the higher the vineyard, the better the fruit. This is because a high-altitude vineyard tends to enjoy more sun exposure and ventilation on the slope during the day. At night, the cooler temperatures slow down ripening and help preserve acidity. This all has a direct impact on the wine style, ripeness, freshness, and the development of flavor. The resulting high-altitude wines tend to be more elegant with complex flavors and attractive acidity, making them particularly sought-after.
Besides height, other elements of terroir like climate, soil, drainage, ventilation, and the magic touch of the winemaker all impact the outcome of the wine.
On Top of the World
Due to the tricky territory, traditionally high-altitude wines tend to cost more for wine drinkers. This is because it’s expensive to farm when accessibility is limited. Vineyards on steep hills cannot be cultivated by machine. Take, for example, Calmont vineyard located along the Mosel Valley in Germany. At a sharp 65 degree incline, Calmont is the steepest recorded vineyard in the world. A sightseeing landmark, the slope provides an ideal angle of solar radiation for the growth of Riesling. Harvesting here is no small feat. It takes up to 1,800 hours of manual work per hectare!
Conditions at high altitudes can also be challenging to work in. For example in Elqui, Chile, the vineyard is 6,500 feet above sea level! Not only are the vines isolated, but labor is hard to come by, and the sharp changes in temperature between day and night can be dangerous. The weather can quickly turn from a sunny day to an icy winter night.
Sicily’s Mount Etna is a wine-producing region that stretches to an elevation of around 4,000 feet, featuring some of Italy’s highest vineyards. It is also one of Italy’s tallest mountains and Europe’s largest active volcano. So active that in February 2021, the volcano erupted twice in one week! This proved great news for local vintners, who consider it good luck. After all, the volcanic soils are part of the reason for the region’s vinous success. The red wines from this area are so prized that they have been given their own term: ‘Etna Rosso/Red’.
All this said, despite dizzying inclines, extreme weather conditions, or the risk of volcanic eruptions, winemakers around the world continue to push winemaking to its extremes.
1,475 Feet Up in the Air
Our Stags Ridge Vineyard provides extreme mountain-grown Cabernet Sauvignon. The vines are above the fog line, meaning the vineyard gets morning sun. It also faces the Pritchard Gap where every afternoon, the vines enjoy a cool breeze that helps balance the sugar levels and acidity of the grapes. Perhaps most importantly, the drainage of the vineyard site is fantastic. In a special area like Atlas Peak, the rocky soils whisk rainfall away from grape roots. This means that the mountain fruit can’t easily access water, resulting in smaller berries with tight, concentrated flavor. The vines are also forced to grow deep into the earth in search for water and nutrients, creating an intricate and dense network of underground roots. Photos of Stags Ridge reveal the vineyards are lined with what looks like cobblestone alleys:
“There are giant rocks scattered throughout – some so large that we couldn’t install trellising into the ground!” shares founder Don Dady.
These strenuous growing circumstances reduce the overall yield of the grapes, but improve the overall quality of the fruit. Each surviving berry enjoys more character and is of a higher quality. Don describes the fruit as having “big, round tannins and a deep concentration of flavor.”
In 2013, Stags Ridge Vineyard produced the elusive unicorn that is the 100-point winning wine. With this knowledge, Don knew he was taking a calculated leap of faith when he purchased the vineyard in 2018.
It was this very vineyard’s exclusive location that also attracted winemaker Andy Erickson to come onboard, who shares:
“Seven Apart is a dream come true due to its unparalleled Stags Ridge Vineyard and the brand-new winemaking facility. Each day I wake up with the goal to make the best wine Mother Nature affords us, and with Seven Apart, the sky’s the limit. I was drawn to the team’s commitment to push the vineyard to its limits and to allow the grapes to shine.”
At Seven Apart, our high-altitude Stags Ridge vineyard offers us the perfect combination of low soil nutrients, extreme temperature variation, and harsh sunlight to result in grapes with darker skins, incredible structure, and bright acidity. We believe that we get out the work we put in, and this is the most elevated form of our expression.
Vol 9: A Solid Base | The Story of Base Camp Vineyard
“Base Camp is where everything starts – and it goes all the way up to the very summit.“
~ Yannick Girardo, General Manager
The Journal | Vol. 9
The thing about great wine is that it necessitates constant innovation and tenacity. Seven Apart knows how to balance traditional winemaking with a penchant for innovation.
Nowhere is this philosophy more evident than in the story of our Base Camp Vineyard – the second property alongside our esteemed Stags Ridge Vineyard. Base Camp Vineyard thrives in the majestic, rolling foothills where Silverado Trail meets Soda Canyon Road in Napa Valley.
In our ongoing efforts to achieve the best expression of our terroir, one of Seven Apart’s most recent undertakings has been replanting the vines grown in Base Camp. Currently underway, this is a demanding project that requires meticulous attention to detail and good timing.
A Winemaking Expedition Begins
Inspired by the rigorous journey of winemaking, Base Camp refers to where our winemaking expedition starts and honors the unique geology of this prime vineyard’s location. Located in the sought-after Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, the vineyard consists of sand, silt, clay, and gravel soils. It is almost 8 acres in total, with 5.25 acres currently planted under the vine. At present, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and some Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Semillon are grown here at an elevation ranging between 55 and 75 feet.
General Manager Yannick Girardo explains the story of Base Camp:
“For us, Base Camp is where everything starts – and it goes all the way up to the very summit. The name is a testament to our tireless dedication to achieving the highest potential from our wine.”
A Fresh Start
In keeping with the vineyard’s promise of new beginnings, the vine replanting project heralds a new era for the land. A key reason for this initiative was the keen desire to streamline the growth and production of fruit, ensuring that the land was being utilized most effectively to achieve our goals. Historically, the vineyard has been home to varieties such as Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Sémillon but Seven Apart has chosen to focus exclusively on Cabernet Sauvignon as its champion varietal. The team saw the opportunity to harness the space with more intention.
After the purchase of Seven Apart in 2018, the property began to be reinvigorated. This includes altering the vineyards and adding a new structure for an onsite tasting room.
“When starting this process, we thought deeply about what we wanted to achieve from it to make the best wine possible. Ultimately, we want to make sure we can have a fresh start,” says Yannick.
The Circle of Vines
Ushering in this fresh start is by no means an easy process. The first step involves removing existing wiring in place for each vine’s canopy and all existing irrigation connections. Once this is completed, the vine itself is reaped out and subsequently burned.
For a vineyard of this scale, this arduous operation is undoubtedly a lengthy undertaking, and timing is crucial. There is a brief window every year from mid-October until April when vine burning occurs while strictly regulated by a county permit. This window also falls over the area’s rainy season, adding even more time pressure to the project. By the end of April, all fires in the area must cease, ostensibly to avoid the risk of summer wildfires.
The health of the root and, eventually, the fruit is paramount. Yannick explains:
“You have to make sure you have everything in place on a set timeline. Once you start heading towards the dryer months, it gets scorching. You also don’t want to plant a rootstalk in dry dirt and risk it not taking over, and then possibly make the mistake of overwatering to offset that error. It’s very time-sensitive and requires extensive oversight.”
After this, the real work begins. A vineyard management team of up to 40 people works around the clock on this project, including a range of highly specialized experts to consult along the way. Several geologists are brought on-site to analyze the nature and quality of the soil and advise on what type of roots would be most suited to being planted per block. They took samples from 3 to 5 feet below the soil surface.
Yannick describes the invaluable contribution of the geologists, saying:
“They provide us with the recommended coordinates for the best position to plant the vines so we can harness everything that Mother Nature has to offer. Right now, we’re looking at the 50° north positioning of the property. This effectively dictates all of the work that needs to be implemented for us to reap those vines and then replant them, and is essential to determine the optimal row positioning of each vine.”
It is valuable to note that as much effort is given to the vines, the soil is equally as important. After all – your plant is only as good as the soil. Therefore, our team rotates the soil (a process called tilling) to remove any excess roots that may be left behind from the uprooted vineyard. Then we compost and make any amendments necessary prior to marking the positioning for future rows.
Finally, after much consideration and no small amount of hard labor, the process comes full circle. Once the correct row positioning has been established, stakes, wiring, and irrigation connections are constructed so that the rootstalk can be planted, and a new vine canopy can eventually flourish.
The timing of this replanting could not be more perfect. It coincides with the introduction of producing wines made from grapes that are organically farmed at both Base Camp and Stags Ridge Vineyards and also sees Seven Apart introducing Sauvignon Blanc.
“We are planting primarily Cabernet Sauvignon. There will be a little bit of Merlot and about half an acre of Sauvignon Blanc as well since we don’t have any white wine but want to introduce an exceptional, light offering for guests that visit our winery,” confirms Yannick.
Though the vineyard is currently closed as replanting operations are underway, the team is excited to welcome visitors with a renewed sense of vigor and hospitality.
“There is something to be said for the taste of wine from a younger vine,” shares Yannick. “ You can’t expect the same extractions from differently aged vines. Older vines have a heavier fruit characteristic, yet younger vines are more innovative and take the drinker in a new direction.”
The average lifespan of a Napa Valley vineyard is typically 17 to 20 years. Seven Apart is working on extending that lifespan by another 15 to 20 years. This is an ambitious undertaking, but one that is possible provided that the vines are appropriately cared for, and the risk of disease is mitigated effectively.
In keeping with Seven Apart’s initiative for farming organic grapes, the team has implemented diligent vineyard management practices to ensure the continued excellence and world-class quality of their wines. This includes keeping a tight handle on trellising and pruning to ensure that the fruit remains as perfect as possible.
Protecting the integrity of the vine is also of the utmost importance, and Seven Apart is certainly not averse to the labor that this requires. “There is undoubtedly a lot more labor implementation involved, but the impact on the vine is phenomenal,” enthuses Yannick.
This strenuous, detail-driven endeavor illustrates Seven Apart’s commitment to excellence and exceptional quality wine. Though it requires tireless dedication and some risk, it is a bold move that pays off in multitudes. Come and taste it for yourself.
Exploring The Cabernet Sauvignon Of Napa Valley, Part Five: Mountain Wines
Published May 2021 on forbes.com
Written by Brian Freedman
Seven Apart “Shale” 2018 Stags Ridge Vineyard Atlas Peak
This is rich, generous, powerful, and opulent without sacrificing purity, elegance, and detail. Aromas of black raspberries, cassis, and blueberry compote dance with pencil shavings and incense, and set the stage for a palate of sweet ripe fruit—blackberries, huckleberries, crème de cassis—and cobbler shell, the caramelized top of a vanilla crème brûlée, and then candied violets, cedar, and crunchy minerality. Kirsch-filled dark chocolate ganache rises to the surface, and the ripe tannins are remarkably elegant. Drink this now or hold onto it for the next 25 years.
‘The Stars Aligned’: Partnership brings to life Seven Apart winery
Published October 2020 on entertainermag.com
Written by Brandie Bosworth
Scottsdale businessman Don Dady grew up in the Sonoma Valley and spent his childhood passing the vineyards, hoping to one day call one his own.
Fast forward to Dady as an adult, when he and his business partner Jason Kyle, a Tempe native and former 2009 NFL Super Bowl long snapper, were looking to enter the wine business.
The pair were touring the Beau Vigne vineyard in Napa Valley, just over the hill from Sonoma, when Dady says they began identifying unique aspects of the vineyard.
A Paradise Valley resident, Dady recalled one of his favorite professors’ teachings on how to research and evaluate investments. The professor told his students to find seven things that set the investment apart, and if they could identify seven items, it was a good opportunity.
Fulfilling his lifelong dream, Dady says the stars aligned when they acquired the vineyard and their winery Seven Apart came to fruition. The pair teamed up with winemaker Andy Erickson and are launching their first wine, the 2018 Expedition cabernet sauvignon, this September.
As for the seven reasons Dady found to purchase the vineyard, one was the location—the top of Atlas Peak. The soil is volcanic and rocky, which Dady describes almost like walking on cobblestone—another reason to invest. The next was the fog line, where the vineyard rested 1,400 feet above. Additionally, its placement would catch cool San Francisco breezes. Other deciding factors were the equipment and the established permit to make wine. Lastly, when Erickson agreed to take on the project, his first in four years, the deal was sealed.
A former ASU student, Kyle is a co-owner of Press Coffee, so Dady says the duo had his beverage industry experience heading into their wine venture.
“(Kyle) has a lot of insight into the retail beverage world,” Dady says. “I thought it would be great to leverage those contacts.”
It was through a mutual friend that Kyle and Dady got a breakfast meeting on the calendar with Erickson. Dady, a self-proclaimed fan of Erickson, says the meeting took place just two weeks before harvest.
“Pretty soon, this brunch coffee meeting we had with Andy turned into an all-day meeting,” Dady says.
It began with a discussion over coffee before Erickson had to leave for another commitment. However, he asked to return later in the afternoon to tour the vineyard. The three men spent the rest of the day walking the vineyard and sharing their visions, Dady says. The next day, Erickson said he would love to be involved with Seven Apart.
“He’s really taken on a lot of personal pride in what’s going on out there,” Dady says. “We are extremely excited to have Andy on our team.”
Erickson turned the winery organic and took a hands-on approach with the farming. He cares about the environment and made changes on how they were watering the land to make it better.
The location was best known for its cabernet sauvignon, so Dady says the businessmen took an already amazing vineyard and built their winery on top for production control using state-of-the-art machinery.
“We bought automated pumps, optical sorters, all the best equipment we could find,” Dady says.
As a detail-oriented person, he says every aspect of their wine matters to him. From the growing process to the flavor, the bottle design and even the cork.
Seven Apart’s cabernet is characterized by a black-purple color with a toffee, graphite and black cherry aroma. Cacao, cedar and star anise layers lay in the drinker’s glass with flavors of black plum, blackberry cobbler and hints of vanilla left on their palate.
Those who sign up for Seven Apart’s allocation list can purchase a bottle of cabernet.
“There’s a thousand decisions that have to be made throughout the growing season and ultimately before that bottle of wine ends up in your glass,” Dady says. “Making a great wine is about making a thousand good decisions.”
Famed Winemaker Behind Napa’s Legendary Wines Is at It Again
Published April 2020 on wineindustryadvisor.com
Overlooking Napa Valley at 1,400 feet atop Atlas Peak, the new powerhouse label, Seven Apart, has entered the Napa Cabernet fray. Legendary winemaker Andy Erickson has joined Seven Apart to launch his first project in over four years. In addition to bringing on Andy, Seven Apart has constructed a world-class winery at the base of Atlas Peak at the intersection of Silverado Trail and Soda Canyon Road. The base-level winery sits seven miles away from the label’s prized Stags Ridge Vineyard, which has a prolific history of producing award-winning wines.
For 25 years, Erickson has crafted lauded California wines. His expertise and nuanced approach have transformed wines from some of the most well-known wineries, including Screaming Eagle, Harlan Estate, Staglin Family Vineyard, Ovid, Spottswoode, and Dalla Valle. Erickson’s goal is to highlight the character of each site where he works. Though he has not taken on a new project in years, he could not resist the opportunity to join Seven Apart.
“Seven Apart is a dream come true due to its unparalleled Stags Ridge Vineyard and the brand-new winemaking facility,” said Erickson. “Each day I wake up with the goal to make the best wine Mother Nature affords us and with Seven Apart, the sky’s the limit. I was drawn to the team’s commitment to push the vineyard to its limits and to allow the grapes to shine.
The new winery is outfitted with the most advanced equipment and is prepared to craft beautiful wines Napa Cabernet wines. The Seven Apart team will begin construction on a hospitality building later this year and aims to start welcoming guests in 2021.
Erickson now oversees the famed Stags Ridge Vineyard. This vineyard was the primary source of fruit for Beau Vigne, a boutique label which Arizona businessman Don Dady acquired in 2018. Don, partnering with his longtime friend Jason Kyle, knew this property was a hidden jewel given its perfect blend of natural elements for growing Cabernet Sauvignon. By combining this already phenomenal wine with the right winemaker, a brand-new winery and great equipment, the team knew that they could build one of Napa Valley’s finest labels.
The Stags Ridge Vineyard sits on a volcanic plateau composed of shale, gravel and boulders found below the topsoil. The vineyard’s elevation reaches that which only few of Napa’s elite vineyards reap the benefits of. Stretching above the fog line, the vineyard enjoys the early morning sun and a refreshing breeze coming off of the San Francisco Bay in the afternoon. Undoubtedly, Mother Nature has blessed this site with the optimal conditions for growing Cabernet Sauvignon. Producing small berries rich in color and tannins, Seven Apart generates wines that are both intense and full of character.
For those looking to be the first to savor Erickson’s newest wines, Seven Apart will selectively release its first vintage this fall. Names “Expedition,” this 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon will be available through the label’s allocation list. With only 96 barrels produced, the wine offers a small taste of the exciting bottlings soon to come from Seven Apart.
“We are beyond excited to finally unveil our first wine as we set out on this journey,” said Seven Apart proprietor Don Dady. “Andy has done an outstanding job blending and crafting this vintage and developing our signature style of wine. We look forward to our future releases and building upon the legacy of the Stags Ridge Vineyard.”
Those interested in bringing home the first release from Seven Apart can join the allocation list on the website www.sevenapart.com. Quantities will be limited per person to accommodate the already wide demand for Erickson’s newest hit.