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Yountville, California, United States
Stag's Leap Wine Cellars is a winery established by Warren Winiarski in 1970 and based in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley, California. The winery was sold to a joint venture by Chateau Ste. Michelle of Woodinville, Washington, and Marchesi Antinori Srl of Italy for $185 million in August 2007.
Warren Winiarski was introduced to wine while on a year-long trip to Italy studying the work of Niccolò Machiavelli. After returning to Chicago, he found an interest in wine and in the early 1960s began to experiment with making his own wine at home. He moved to the Napa Valley with his wife and children in 1964, and took up a job with Chateau Souverain. Following this, he moved to work at the newly started Robert Mondavi Winery.
The "S.L.V" (Stag's Leap Vineyard) was the initial vineyard owned by the estate. It consists of 35 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and 1 acre of Merlot. This vineyard was the source of the grapes that produced the wine that won the 1976 Judgment of Paris. The "Fay" vineyard was purchased in 1986. This was the vineyard that originally inspired Winiarski to make wine in this area. It is the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard in the area and consists of 66 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and half an acre of Petit Verdot. Arcadia is a 128 acre vineyard near Mount George in the Napa Valley. The vineyard was purchased in 1996 from Mike Grgich. It was retained by the Winiarski family after the sale of the estate in 2007. It still provides grapes for the estate on a contract basis.
The flagship red wine is named "Cask 23" and this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon fruit from the SLV and Fay vineyards. The first vintage of this wine was produced in 1974, after Winiarski noticed that a specific cask, numbered 23, stood out from the other casks produced that year. It is not produced every vintage, but only in years that are viewed by the winemaking team as producing excellent quality fruit.
Other wines in the top level "Estate & Single-Vineyard Collection" include two Cabernet Sauvignon single vineyard wines, from the "S.L.V" and "Fay" vineyards, as well as a Chardonnay from the "Arcadia" vineyard. Stag's Leap Wine Cellars produces a mid-level range under the designation "Napa Valley Collection". These wines are made from estate owned vineyards as well as purchased grapes from other vineyards in the Napa Valley. Wines in this range include a "Artemis" Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, "Karia" Chardonnay and a Sauvignon Blanc.