Rutherford, California (PressExposure) June 05, 2009 -- St. SupÃ©ry was merely a dream of Robert Skalli, who had made several trips Napa Valley, then just coming onto the international scene as a premier wine region. But the energetic winemaker was convinced that a high quality winery could be established in this up-and-coming valley. He sought guidance from some of the Napa Valley's most respected vintners and on their advice, in 1982 invested in an unknown mountain valley in the northeastern area of the appellation. With the family's purchase of the 1,500 acre Dollarhide ranch, Robert Skalli began researching plantings and establishing vineyard practices that would convert its meadows and hillsides into high quality vineyards. The oldest vines at Dollarhide, planted in 1983, produce full-bodied, robust Cabernet Sauvignon and distinctive Sauvignon Blanc that have become the foundations of St. SupÃ©ry's popularity.
In 1986, the Skallis purchased a historic 35 acre vineyard in the celebrated Rutherford appellation of the Napa Valley. The property was briefly owned early in the 20th century by Mr. Edward St. SupÃ©ry, a winemaker and member of the large French colony lliving nearby in Oakville. The Skallis built a new winery on the site and named it after this early winemaker - and so St. SupÃ©ry Vineyards & Winery was born. St. SupÃ©ry's Rutherford estate vineyard is planted entirely to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. The charming Queen Anne Victorian home, which has survived on the property virtually unchanged since 1882, was named the Atkinson House after its builder, himself a co-founder of the nearby winery now known as Beaulieu Vineyards.
Today, Robert Skalli still serves as the winery's chairman and guiding inspiration. The estate's first and only CEO, Michaela Rodeno, is responsible for the winery's successful product line, leading edge marketing and dedication to quality. Vineyard manager Josh Anstey uses sustainable and ecologically-friendly practices to farm the winery's 510 acre sof estate vineyards. Dollarhide is not only home to the winery's oldest vines, but hawks, eagles, bears, mountain lions and other critters.
For Robert Skalli, the success of the winery can be measured in the response to the winery's quality wines. Today, St. SupÃ©ry's wines are available nationally in the U.S. in fine retailers and restaurants and receive critical acclaim from experts. They are also exported to Canada, Asia and the UK. The winery receives visitors from all over the country as well as numerous international visitors each year. The successful visitor programs events sell out each season, and the direct-to-consumer operations are considered leading edge in the industry.
1977 Robert Skalli visits Napa Valley and is struck by the valley's potential to grow great wine.
1982 Skalli family purchases 1,500 acre Dollarhide ranch in northeastern Napa Valley.
1983 Planting of Dollarhide begins, focused on Cabernet, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
1986 Skalli family purchases historic 35 acre Rutherford property. This location would soon become a state-of-the-art winery and dynamic visitor center.
1988 CEO Michaela Rodeno joins team to launch the new, as yet un-named winery. First crush in new facility; Rutherford replant starts
1989 Winery doors open to the public. Visitor programs include the interactive "Smell-a-vision," a first-of-its-kind sensory evaluation experience. The winery becomes known for its educational visitor experience.
First releases are 1987 Cabernet Sauvignon, 1988 Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay; Moscato is added for visitors
1994 Rutherford succumbs to phylloxera and is replanted
1997 St. SupÃ©ry's first "reserve" wines are released with the 1994 red Meritage and 1996 white Meritage. The red Meritage would later be renamed Ãlu, French for 'elected,' and the white Meritage became VirtÃº (Italian for virtue, or extraordinary artistic merit)
1999 Wine Spectator honors the 1998 St. SupÃ©ry Sauvignon Blanc #45 on its annual list of Top 100 Wines of the Year.
2000 First vintage (1997) of Ltd Ed Dollarhide Cabernet released
2001 Wine Spectator honors the 1997 St. SupÃ©ry Cabernet Sauvignon, also coincidentially #45, on its annual list of Top 100 Wines of the Year. 1997 Red Meritage wins blind tasting of 36 "cult" Cabernet from this famed vintage
2006 St. SupÃ©ry launches Oak Free Chardonnay
2008 St. SupÃ©ry is honored by Wine & Spirits as a "Winery of the Year." Michaela Rodeno celebrates her 20th year with the winery and 35 years in the wine industry.
2009 St. SupÃ©ry Vineyards & Winery celebrates the 20 year anniversary of its inauguration.