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Mayacamas, Looks Back and Pushes Forward


Mayacamas Talks With Us About Last Years Fires and this Years New Releases

In the aftermath of the wine country fires last fall, some questions still remain about the full impact the fires had on the 2017 vintage. Still, wineries continue to function and new releases of wine are happening all over the state. had the opportunity to get some insight into how the fires affected Mayacamas winery. Located in the Mt. Veeder region of the Valley, Mayacamas has been around since 1889 and judging from what we heard they will be around for a long time to come.

Unfortunately due to work going on at the winery and the staff being busy with new releases, we can’t provide video on this interview but believe its worth your time to read what is going on post fires and learn about the current releases which believes will be outstanding!

What is the greatest hope the fire provided for the team? Meaning, of course the fire was horrific but did any hope or promise come from the disaster?

While of course we wish the fire never happened, at this point, enough time has passed and we can start to see the potential good that will come out of it.  We have begun planning for the rebuild of the main structure that was lost, and we are so excited to see it coming together.  When the new building is done, it will be better than we ever could have imagined. 

Was the wine making facility affected in any way?

The winemaking facilities were miraculously still standing after the fires, even though the house that was destroyed completely was only 10 feet away.

Is there concern for 2017 vintage or had all grapes been picked?

All our grapes had been picked, but we dealt with significant infrastructure issues on property (extended periods without power, water) and are still assessing the impact the situation in general might have had on the wines in the vinification process. We are taking it slow and being very careful. 

What is it about your team and how they survived this set back that makes you the proudest?

What made me the most proud was how our team stepped up to help the Mt. Veeder community around our winery.  Our neighbors on the mountain, both in the wine industry and not, weren’t allowed to access their properties in some cases for weeks.  We used the time we got up to Mayacamas not only to look after our property, but to deliver much needed information about the state of neighbors houses as well.  It brought us much closer together as a community. 

Yes, it seems throughout the valley there are great stories of teams pulling together and while helping themselves were able to help others.

Let’s talk about your current release wines.

We have recently released the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2016 Chardonnay. 

What was your biggest surprise as you starting tasting the current releases?

Perhaps not a “surprise," but we’ve been thrilled with the response to the 2013 Cabernet release.  Since our team took over the property, we’ve released a few vintages of Chardonnay but this past Fall was the first time a red wine we made has been available in the market.  Cabernet being Mayacamas’ flagship, of course expectations were high.  We’ve felt strongly since Day 1 that our job was to honor the traditional style Mayacamas winemaking methods, but of course find ways to improve the finished product. We feel good about the results, and our customers are thrilled as well.  

What is the “can’t miss” bottle right now?

2016 Chard and 2013 Cabernet - obviously!

Haha, so where can I get a bottle of this amazing Chardonnay?

You can purchase a bottle through the Mayacamas website. Once you sign up for the Mailing List, you will be directed how to purchase a bottle.

Thanks to the Mayacamas team for taking time to answer a few questions at this busy time of year. The Chardonnay and Cabernet are both drinking really nice right now and should be on your must buy list! 

                                            CHARDONNAY TASTING NOTES

                               Mayacamas Releases Its 2016 Vintage of Chardonnay

Mayacamas, the historic Napa Valley winery located in the hills of Mount Veeder, is proud to announce the release of its 2016 Chardonnay, the fourth release under the ownership of the Jay Schottenstein family and their highly skilled team, including Winemaker Braiden Albrecht and Consulting Winemaker Andy Erikson. The 2016 Chardonnay proves that the Schottenstein-era Mayacamas continues the storied legacy and distinguished history of the brand, while simultaneously moving Mayacamas into the future.

Staying true to the vineyard’s timeless winemaking style, the grapes were harvested early to retain natural acidity, sorted by hand and pressed whole cluster. Fermentation was completed in combination of small barrels (10% new) including large format puncheon and stainless steel. The wine was aged on the lees for seven months, making a total of ten months aging. Following the pre-bottle aging, the finished wine saw nine months of in-bottle aging.

“The 2016 growing season was ideal from start to finish,” said Braiden Albrecht, Winemaker at Mayacamas. “A tranquil spring and moderate summer temperatures allowed for even ripening and precise harvest timing. As we continue to refine our winemaking process through organic farming and a meticulous restoration of the winery, the quality of Mayacamas continues to rise.”

The Chardonnay has aromas of Meyer lemon, river rock, vanilla bean, and honeysuckle highlight the nose. On the palate, the wine strikes a balance of richness and focus. Mouthwatering acidity and flinty minerality lead into flavors of lemon curd, almond and passion fruit.

The 2016 Mayacamas Chardonnay is officially available direct to consumers today, priced at $50 for a 750mL bottle. For more information, please visit


                                          CABERNET TASTING NOTES

                          Mayacamas Releases Its 2013 Mount Veeder Cabernet

The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon - the first Cabernet produced by Andy Erickson and his team - marks the beginning of a bright new era of winemaking at Mayacamas. Since taking over stewardship of the estate in 2013, our efforts have been focused on the unique challenge of maintaining the traditional methods while simultaneously improving quality. Through meticulous restoration of the winery and a renewed focus on the details of great farming and winemaking, we feel the 2013 Cabernet represents the first step in an exciting journey forward at Mayacamas.


The 2013 growing season and harvest were ideal at Mayacamas. Warm spring temperatures and dry weather resulted early bud break, consistent flowering and even fruit set. Warm summer days and cool foggy nights provided the perfect balance for ripeness. A heat spike in early September signaled the start of the Cabernet harvest on September 10 – our last fruit arrived at the winery October 8th. Grapes for the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon were harvested exclusively from high-elevation vineyards, some more than 40+ years old. Mount Veeder is a one-of-a-kind appellation with a cooler mountain climate and the lowest yields in Napa Valley. Soils range from poor volcanic deposits to ancient seabed; the grapes produced here retain high acidity and a clean, mineral character.

Our grapes are harvested early to retain bright acidity and firm tannins. For fermentation we utilize a combination of cement vat fermenters, open-top foudre and stainless steel. After approximately two weeks on skins, we gently press and are ready for aging. The 2013 Cabernet aged 32 months in neutral oak – 20 months in large format foudre and 12 months in barrique. After bottling, the wine was cellared for 12 additional months before release. Savory, bright and deep, this generous wine offers black cherry, ripe blackberry, and mission fig. On the palate herb notes of star anise, marjoram and French lavender provide complexity and depth alongside the juicy bramble fruits. Secondary  notes of graphite, cacao and pencil lead hint at classic wines of the old world.