Mayacamas Vineyards has a rich history of grape growing and winemaking traditions that date back to the 1880s. Our stone winery, finished in 1889, has aged wine inside it’s doors for over 130 years. Our practices today remain rooted in that history and legacy – with farmed soils and cellar walls providing for continuity of place and style.
High on the slopes of Mount Veeder, Mayacamas Vineyards has been a source of legendary California wine since 1889. Since the 1950’s the vinification and élevage of Mayacamas remains remarkably consistent and our continued commitment to employ classical techniques and tools is integral to the character of these wines. The mountain terroir at Mayacamas ranges from 1,800 to 2,400 feet in elevation and the estate spans 475 acres, only 50 of which are dedicated to vine. The region’s richly
intense, age-worthy wines reflect the independent spirit of its mountain growers and vintners, borne of rugged conditions that demand craftsmanship at the highest level.
The old stone winery is perched on the edge of a dormant volcano crater. The steep rocky slopes of our vineyards yield small crops of tiny, highly flavored grapes. In our winery, we employ traditional winemaking techniques to produce classically styled wines of great character and ageability.
The 2021 was harvested by hand from mid to late August, cluster sorted, whole cluster pressed (95%), and crush press (5%). Alcoholic fermentation occurred in oak cooperage at cool cellar temperatures. Aged 12 months sur-lie (non-Bâtannage) in oak cooperage of diverse size, age and origin – 228L French barrel (50%), 500L French Oak – (5%). Malolactic fermentation was prohibited.
The wine opens with lifted aromatics of subtle tones of jasmine and lemongrass supported by a lovely fruit set of Meyer lemon, white peach, and Bartlett pear. On the palate the wine expands, broadening the frame, bringing layers of texture and energy. Secondary flavors of bergamot, and green cardamom round out the mid-palate. The finish is long with lingering notes of orchard fruit, flint rock and salinity.
History: John Henry Fisher purchased this remote mountain property in 1889 and built the winery we still use today. He constructed the winery and nearby distillery with stones gathered from the property, planted Zinfandel vines and named the estate Fisher & Sons. He sold his wine by the barrel, sending the casks down the treacherous mountain trails to the Napa River by horse-drawn carriage and ferrying them by barge to San Francisco. The great earthquake and fire of 1906 forced Fisher’s San Francisco businesses into bankruptcy and his Mount Veeder estate was sold at auction for $5,000 on the steps of the Napa Courthouse.
Jack and Mary Taylor purchased the land in 1941 and re-christened the estate Mayacamas Vineyards. This visionary couple created the wine label and classic iconography we still use today. In addition to these lasting contributions in the realm of marketing, the vineyards and cellar bear the mark of meaningful progress throughout Taylor era. The winemaking infrastructure in use today is largely due to their efforts.
Throughout the 1950s, the Taylors erected a more modern fermentation room and expanded our inventory of large oak casks, setting the stage for the qualitative improvements of the ensuing years. Without question the most lasting legacy of the Taylor era came in the vineyards, where Jack planted the first Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon vines on the property.
In 1968, ownership of Mayacamas transferred to Bob and Eleanor Travers. At just 30 years old, Bob already possessed an unwavering commitment to traditional winemaking from his apprenticeship at Heitz Cellars. The quality of Mayacamas wines under Travers was recognized almost immediately as his 1971 vintage was selected for the famed Judgment of Paris tasting. Held in 1976, this international event conferred legitimacy on the quality of California winemaking. Bob’s approach of employing traditional methods consistently over 45 vintages—spanning six decades—resulted in a singular winemaking style as integral to the Mayacamas legend as any chapter in its history.