J. Davies Estate, Diamond Mountain District, Napa Valley
The slopes making up the Schramsberg Vineyards property were the site of the first hillside vineyards within Napa Valley. Originally planted by Jacob Schram in the mid-late 1800s, the vineyards were abandoned when the property was sold in 1912. In 1965, when Schramsberg was revived by the Davies family, they planted the estate vineyards to the classic “méthode traditionelle” grape varieties, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Over time, as better cool-climate sites became available for sparkling wine production, it became apparent that the Schramsberg land was better suited to the cultivation of Cabernet Sauvignon and other red Bordeaux varietals.
In 1994, the careful replanting of the Schramsberg/J. Davies Estate vineyards began. The vineyards now total 41 acres and are laid out in three isolated pockets that range from approximately 500 to 1,000 feet in elevation. These include the original two Jacob Schram vineyard sections (Napa Valley’s first hillside vineyards) and the adjacent McEachran parcel, which was first planted by Colin McEachran in 1878. These vineyards are the southernmost in the Diamond Mountain District AVA and are flanked by two cool creek canyons (Nash Creek to the north and Ritchie Creek to the south). The vineyards are surrounded by dense coniferous and deciduous forests, and the vines produce late-ripening, richly concentrated fruit with average yields of just two tons per acre.
Davies Vineyard Sites
In 2009, the Davies started producing their first non-estate red wines under the Davies Vineyards brand. These first bottlings were harvested from Pinot Noir sites that were sought out for their uniqueness and reputation for first-class grapes.
The family’s experience with Pinot Noir dates back to 1967, when Jack and Jamie Davies first used this elegant red varietal to make their inaugural vintage of Blanc de Noirs sparkling wine. Over the decades following that first use, Schramsberg’s winemakers have built long-lasting relationships with some of the best Pinot Noir growers in the North Coast. It is from these relationships that we are able to source grapes for our single vineyard and appellation designated Pinot Noirs. Today, Davies Vineyards produces a selection of Pinot Noir wines, including vineyard designated bottlings from Ferrington Vineyards, Londer Vineyard, Nobles Vineyard and Hyde Vineyards.
With the popularity of the Pinot Noir project growing, in 2012 the winemaking team broadened their scope once again. They searched out new Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon sites for the production of additional still wines. Outstanding sites were found, and new vineyard designated Cabernet Sauvignons were added to the Davies Vineyards line. Each vineyard site provides the winemaking team unique flavor characteristics from the varietal, allowing them the opportunity to produce a wine that is strikingly different than the J. Davies Estate wine, while still delicious and singular to the vineyard from which it came. With the 2012 vintage, the family produced their first Davies Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignons, highlighting Napa Valley vineyards throughout the diverse Napa County. Since this new program began, Davies Vineyards has produce delicious single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons from Winfield Vineyards, Red Cap Vineyard and Round Pond Vineyards.