Looking for a new wine to try or planning a trip after quarantine? Allow us to introduce you to Italics Winegrowers out of Napa Valley, CA. Their core belief is that truly great wines are grown, not made. If you visit them at the winery or meet them at one of their many On The Road Events across the country, you’ll quickly see they value the opportunity to teach you about their process over a glass or two just about as much as they do a pair of good pruning shears. Their detail oriented approach and dedication to sustainable winegrowing practices are industry-leading and their focus on providing that insight to their guests is second to none The Italics Winegrowers Estate is located in Napa’s fast rising Coombsville AVA (American Viticultural Area) which provides the grapes a uniquely longer growing season than other regions in Napa Valley. We spoke with the Managing Partner of Italics Winegrowers, Taylor Martin, who gave us more insight on what makes Italics unique and what it takes to get these hand-crafted, or hand-grown as he calls them, wines into bottle.
Q&A with Taylor Martin, Managing Partner of Italics Wine.
Quick bio of the founder/designer. Italics Winegrowers
Taylor: We are a luxury grower and producer of Bordeaux varietals and blends from Napa Valley. We employ both estate and négociant winemaking with the same goal in mind: to highlight the best of what our Estate and Napa Valley has to offer. Our objective is to pull back the curtain and give a unique insight into how great, well balanced, and stylistically distinct wines are grown. Our Estate lies on 73 acres in the foothills of the Vacas southeast of Napa in the Coombsville AVA, which we love because of it allows us to grow fruit with an impressive amount of typicity and character. It took us longer than we would have liked, but we constructed a winery, complete with 16,000 sq. ft. of caves and stunning views from almost every perch. The idea was to create an environment where guests come to visit and experience what makes us unique and our wines special. One of the most common questions we get is about the name Italics Winegrowers. We chose it because we believe the best wines are a revelation of place. That place can be as small as a vineyard block or as large as an entire AVA. If that place has something to say − a nuance you can appreciate − we will go to great lengths to draw it out. To italicize it. Our limited production, hand-crafted wines are our way of communicating that great wines are grown, not made.
What is the brand's mission?
Taylor: The best wines are a revelation of place. As winegrowers, our charge is to draw your attention to their virtues. Italics is about more than just the wine in your glass. As we see it, it is a form of community. People who like fine wine and tasteful living tend to enjoy the company of others who share their interests. That’s what led us to build our calendar of events here at the winery and out as we call it, On the Road. We host winemaker dinners, social gatherings, philanthropic events across the country– where we can all get together, congregate, and pop a few corks. It’s been a blast to see how people’s perspective on wine changes when they realize the process starts in the field months before harvest, well before the fruit hits the crush pad.
Taylor: We’ve gone digital and to the kitchen (without looking at a scale). We recognize that people are looking for an outlet and way to get out of their new daily routine. A few of these escapes we added are recipes and live cooking demonstrations with our culinary partners, live concerts with our friends in music, and national happy hours on our social media pages. Our most popular experience, however, is the “virtual tasting experience” where guests visually walk our property with us and sample our current release flight at home as if they are physically at the winery. It has been a huge success so far and we plan to continue these experiences even after things open up again. Truthfully, it has also been a huge sanity saver for us. We’re used to breaking bread and making friends over a few glasses all the time. We would have certainly gone crazy had we not come up with a way to stay in touch. We feel fortunate that folks are enjoying the experience and wines as much as we do. It tells me we’re doing a lot of things right.
If you didn't start your company, what would you be doing?
Taylor: Farming and agriculture is a way of life and unless you’ve been in it your whole life it can be kind of hard to understand the obsession. For us, life moves with the seasons and you calibrate yourself to that progression early on when you grow up in a farming family. I know it sounds strange, but it just kind of brackets everything. I don’t think I’ll ever get away from it. It’s too rewarding and always a challenge. I guess the best answer is that I’d be doing something else that involved that connection. Where and what, who knows. Right now, I’m just really glad it’s here.
Tell us a little bit about the product we're featuring. Rose and Prop Red.
Taylor: First, our 2019 Estate Rose is a showcase from our less than an acre Malbec block growing in compressed volcanic ash in close proximity to our crush pad. For this vintage, the single block harvested produced just 159 cases (only 20 cases available on Robb Vices). The wine is highlighted by strawberry, rose, red currant, and Lime. The red cherry leads to a mouth full of strawberry, peach, green mango and Meyer lemon. Not sweet in terms of the sugar level, but the essence of fresh fruit leads to an essence or palate-pleasing, smooth flavors. It was a really challenging wine to grow. I won’t get into that now though; you’ll have to come visit sometime to learn more about it…
The 2016 Proprietary Red Wine at just 728 cases is a wine designed to showcase what Coombsville and the Napa Valley is all about; layers of fruit, texture, and balance. Our approach to precision winegrowing involves creating a unique farming strategy for each of our 24 blocks. Everything from how much crop we allow the vines to carry, what cover crop we utilize to promote balanced soil nutrition, to how the vines are pruned and irrigated is tailor-made to bring out the unique character and potential of the unique rootstock and fruiting clone combinations. Our Proprietary Red is designed as a sensory introduction to our system of winegrowing with pieces of several blocks blended to give a comprehensive expression of the vintage. Enjoy this wine with roasted or grilled meats, or simply conversation with a group of wine friends!
For more information on Italics Winegrowers, please visit www.italicswinegrowers.com. Or if you’d like access to other winery exclusive wines and learn how you can receive access, call 707-258-0106 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to enjoy a truly unique experience then please call our winery and schedule an appointment to access, explore, and indulge in what the Italics Estate is all about!