Gallagher’s Vineyard Past, Present, Future…

For over 20 years we have made our signature Cabernet Franc from fruit grown in Gallagher’s Vineyard.  This vineyard is just barely over 1 acre in size and is located on the Silverado Trail in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley.  To us this is a very special, even sacred, piece of land.

The vineyard was planted in 1990 using cuttings from Stags Leap Wine Cellars to propagate the vineyard.  The soils are shallow and very rocky as the property sits at the base of the mountains.  This makes planting and farming extremely difficult and labor intensive, but the fruit from this rugged patch of land is quite simply amazing.  The fruit brings true varietal flavors to the wines with layers of complexity.  Gallagher’s Vineyard has a trademark dried rose petal aroma that I would consider the signature of this vineyard.  The grapes have very minimal harsh green notes, which is difficult to get away from when working with Cabernet Franc.

The one concern I have had over the years was the lack of investment into the future of the vineyard from the founding owners.  Well that is all about to change, along with the name!  New ownership of the property brings a bright future for one of my favorite vineyards in the Napa Valley.  Gallagher’s Vineyard will now be named Flinn Vineyards.

The new owner has made a considerable investment into the future of this vineyard.  There are new vines going in to fill spaces where some of the old vines stopped producing years ago.    The vineyard is being expanded to add 7 additional rows of grapes to maximize the area available.  In short, the vineyard is getting some much needed TLC.

As the vineyard manager of this property, I am relieved that this special place in the valley is getting the love it deserves.  I can only predict that the wines that will come from Flinn Vineyard in the future will take our Cabernet Franc to new limits.  Harvest cannot get here soon enough.  The first Smith Wooton Cabernet Franc, Flinn Vineyard will be the 2013.  Unfortunately, we have a long time before we get to sample the fruits of our labor, but the future is bright for Flinn Vineyard and Smith Wooton Wines!

Daniel Benton

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