I moved to Napa Valley in 1984 to help my mother organize her affairs after my fathers death in June of 1983. I had closed my vegetable farming operation in the Imperial Valley in 1980 due to labor strife, a faltering economy, a recent divorce and a restless spirit. I had decided to help my mother out while I looked for the next opportunity. My parents had purchased a forty acre former chicken ranch, near Calistoga on Diamond Mountain, as a vacation retreat. Within a month of my arrival my mother collapsed in her kitchen from undiagnosed lung cancer. Now what do I do? Everyone else was starting vineyards and wineries, or so it seemed, so why shouldn't make that my next adventure. I had inherited a half interest in one of the most beautiful properties in one of the most desirable Regions. My brother didn't want to participate in a winery but allowed as how I could use the property to start a winery - vineyard and buy his interest in the property later. The facts that I didn't really have enough money to start a small winery and that I did not even drink good wine did not seem to enter into my decision. I bought some equipment, acquired the proper permits, took some classes at the local Junior College and started Graeser Winery and Vineyard. My first vintage from purchased grapes was a problem, so for the second vintage I bought better grapes and hired a consultant for $50.00 per hour: at the final blending the consultant after a few hours of tasting said " We don't have very much of anything, let us just put them all together." That wine was reviewed by Dan Berger as the Wine of the Week in the Los Angeles Times, January 20.1990. I found a more reasonable consultant and became my own winemaker. Jim and I were a good team, we won many Gold and Silver medals at Wine competitions. In 2002 I decided that I would buy out my brothers interest and get a second divorce, then came the slowdown in the economy and my fate was sealed. I met Colleen Moore six months before I was to leave the winery, she was so impressed that she offered me a place to stay for me and my dog Jack if I would make wine on her property in Napa. I jumped at the chance and Graeser winery moved to Vallejo Street in Napa; a much smaller operation but just right to keep an old winemaker occupied and engaged in the world.
I decided at the outset that I would make wine in the old fashion
European Bordeaux style, so I planted my vineyard to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The Napa Style was morphing to High Alcohol, high extraction in your face fruit bombs, even though this style was becoming dominant and popular I would follow my heart and find a niche. All of my wines are below 14% Alcohol and the grapes are picked as close to
23.5% sugar as possible.
When you order wine I will send you an invoice via Paypal, a very secure site, and you may send your CC# information for payment with the knowledge that your information is secure. I have used National Wine Shipping as my default wine shipper for many years and have been very satisfied with the
results and have had no complaints from customers
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