Plume founding partners Dan Zepponi (l) and Tony Stewart, Tim Pawsey photo
Hailing from California, Zepponi
had come to Quails Gateâ€™s hilltop neighbour on a two year contract to restructure the companyâ€™s operations. (He proudly reports that during his
tenure Mission Hill experienced more growth than any other Canadian winery.) Zepponi
has the wine biz in his
family co-founded ZD boutique winery; and his
career eventually led him to become V-P of Production forÂ Beringer Estates and its stable of premium Napa wineries.
Stewart and Zepponi are the partners behind Plume Winery, and this week unveiled its inaugural release:
explains that long standing Napa connections and his
role with Beringer Estates
(where he managed 4,000 acres of vineyard) allow him access to a wide variety of fruit from different and contrasting parts of the region.
This wine (which includes some Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot and Merlot) has components from â€˜sites from north of Calistoga to to Rutherford and south to Atlas Peak and Oak Knollâ€™.
â€œWe think we have a really nice wine at an approachable priceâ€, he
saysâ€"and we'd agree.
The 2009 has been helped along by an ideal vintage compared to some but also by a determination â€œnot to make a wine over extracted or too ripe.â€
(who in his
varied experience once ran a coffee roasting company) quips:
The wine was made at St. Helenaâ€™s The Ranch custom crush, although Zepponi
says the company is close to finalizing the purchase of an existing property, which for obvious reasons he
also wonâ€™t yet reveal who the consultant was on this wineâ€"although he
did much of the work himself.
did happen to mention that his
â€œcell mateâ€ at The Ranch is Tim Mondavi; and that the winemaker who lent a guiding hand is a â€˜high-profile Napa Valleyâ€™ individual and a long-time friend since childhood.
and Stewart say their intention is to make wines that speak strongly to origin.
â€œItâ€™s really very much all about a sense of place,â€ says Zepponi
, who adds,