Wheeler Farms' original concept was to create a collaboration of winemakers to join us in producing their own ultra-premium wines at our winery. Our winery staff performs all the labor in making the wines, but they follow detailed instructions given them by each winemaker. In choosing our partners, and in their choosing Wheeler Farms, we looked for common values of integrity, excellence, professionalism and camaraderie. Together, we are all striving to produce great wines. Below you will find these outstanding wine producers.
We have always said our best wine has yet to be made. This was our philosophy as the proprietors of Araujo Estate and stewards of the historic Eisele Vineyard, and it is our guiding principle today with Accendo Cellars, the Napa Valley winegrowing venture we found in 2013. Inspired by the revolutionary Napa Valley wines of the 1950s, '60s and '70s, Accendo pays homage to an earlier era and marks a beginning of a promising new paradigm: to source grapes from some of the finest vineyard sites and terroir in Napa Valley; to make a wine of balance and restraint in the style of Napa Valley's past wines; and to produce this wine with the commitment, energy and meticulous attention to detail that have characterized our past efforts.
- Bart & Daphne Araujo
Arrow & Branch was chosen as the name for Steve and Seanne Contursi's wine as a subtle reference to numismatics, the study and collection of coins. Steve became enamored with coins at seven years of age, when, as a paperboy, he was often paid in coins. He built his childhood pastime into one of America's most respected and renowned dealerships and now owns Rare Coin Wholesalers and RCW Financial.
A professional numismatist since 1975, and armed with a Cum Laude degree in physics, Contursi has bought and sold more than $1 billion worth of United States rare coins, and helps both collectors and other dealers acquire the finest quality, historically significant, museum quality coins. Found on the reverse of most United States coinage is an eagle holding an olive branch and arrows in its talons. The Arrow & Branch name is both a nod to Contursi's success in the rare coin business, as well as paying homage to both US coinage and Americana. The olive branch signifies the United States as a peace-loving nation, while the arrow portrays the country's ability to defend itself if that peace or freedom should ever be compromised.
Kinsman Wine is the maiden wine project of Shae and Nigel Kinsman, producing classically proportioned, articulate cabernet sauvignons that stand in deference to their origins.
With a career spanning three continents, Nigel turned to winemaking after devoting years to the study of double bass solo performance. His passion for cabernet, ignited in Margaret River under the tutelage of visionary Vanya Cullen, drew him first to Tuscany to work alongside Michel Rolland, then ultimately to Napa Valley where he was mentored by Françoise Peschon. As winemaker at Araujo Estate Wines, Nigel was inspired by the iconic Eisele Vineyard’s singular expression of cabernet, compelling him to pursue his own site-driven project in 2016.
Crafting small-lot, single-vineyard expressions from three stellar vineyards – in the Calistoga, Diamond Mountain District and Yountville AVAs – the Kinsmans’ mindful farming and restrained winemaking chart the course. Striving to let the fruit lead the way at all times, theirs is a pursuit of authentic character rather than perfection. (www.kinsmanwine.com)
Tor Kenward, a prominent Napa Valley vintner for four decades, is legend. This status comes with surviving those 40 years as a well-traveled and observant ambassador for Napa Valley wines. TOR Wines is the culmination of his dream – to simply make wines that are the essence of historic and iconic Napa Valley vineyards. Tor along with Winemaker Jeff Ames make very limited production wines from select blocks in Beckstoffer To Kalon, Vine Hill Ranch and Tierra Roja – all in Oakville. Melanson on Pritchard Hill and Cimarossa on Howell Mountain are TOR's two higher elevation vineyards in the single vineyard Bordeaux varietal program, driven by Cabernet Sauvignon. This single vineyard, very small production focus also extends to critically acclaimed Chardonnay from select blocks in Hyde, Durell and Beresini Vineyards. Tor and Jeff, like their mentor Don Quixote, chase windmills – making minuscule amounts of a single vineyard old vine Petite Sirah and Grenache. Add it all together and you have a world class playground for seasoned winemakers to call home. We are blessed.
Founded by Patrice Breton in 2003 with the mission to craft extremely fine and distinctive Cabernet Sauvignon wines, Vice Versa Wines sources from some of Napa Valley’s most exceptional vineyards such as Beckstoffer To Kalon, Beckstoffer Dr. Crane, Beckstoffer Las Piedras, Houyi, Sleeping Lady and Steltzner. Draconian practices are employed in both viticulture and winemaking to produce coveted small lot wines. Patrice and his wife, Samantha, work closely with world- renowned winemaking team including Philippe Melka and Maayan Koschitzky. Things are kept simple and focused at every level. Balance, as the name suggests, is what guides the philosophy, which is founded on the essence of what’s inside, not the noise of what’s outside. Vice Versa has become a beacon for those who are masters of their craft, people who don’t burn out working at this level because they are provoked by passion.