History & Hospitality High Notes: Silverado Vineyards

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silveradovineyards.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Silverado Vineyards is akin to a fine racehorse that's been groomed for performance since arriving in this world:  Not only is the precedent-setting winery still turning heads after more than 25 years on the Napa wine scene, it's staying ahead of the pack with a host of hospitality and sustainability initiatives that honor both its storied past and promising future.

Heritage High Marks
In "The Silverado Squatters" (1880), famed Scottish scribe Robert Louis Stevenson notes that "the beginning of vine planting is like the beginning of mining for precious metals: the winegrower also 'prospects,'" an apt observation given the valley's storied past as a mining community.  As Wine Country readers well know, vinous pursuits - rather than mining - are the main event today in Napa, a detail that's abundantly clear at Silverado Vineyards' beautifully articulated hilltop winery and hospitality center.
But Stevenson's prospecting theme is no less relevant in this new era of winemaking, especially when viewed in light of the care with which Silverado's founding Miller family sought out and acquired parcel after parcel of renowned vineyard land in the valley over some four decades.  The result is a carefully cultivated collection of superior vineyard sites that provide fruit for the program's consistently award-winning cuvées.  And - it bears noting - for a vinous legacy the richness of which exceeds that of precious metals, because its value can be counted in the number of lives touched and memories created when bottles of these winning wines are uncorked.  

silveradocab.jpgFuture Forward
All of which is fitting, we believe, given the family's roster of impressive accomplishments over the years.  A selection of these honors includes designation as American Winery of the Year in the Grand National Wine Competition (1987), recognition as "one of the most prestigious wineries in the Napa Valley" (Los Angeles Times, 1988), and selection as producer of the No. 1 Cabernet Sauvignon of the Year by Wine Spectator (1993).  Three generations in, the Millers are still fine-tuning their legacy, adding pioneering energy-saving and environmentally-conservationist initiatives to their winemaking program while continuing to evolve the visitor experience.  

Sustainability Scion
- Under the auspices of the Fish Friendly Farming movement, Silverado set out to restore on-site creek beds and riverbanks to native habitats as recently as 2005.  And beginning in 2007, the winery embarked on a plan to reduce energy use, installing solar panels and transitioning vineyard vehicles to hybrid technology.

silveradotour.jpgVisitor Center Vitality - Don't miss Silverado's first class visitor programs that include vineyard tours (the Saddleblock tour concludes with canapés and tastes under a spectacular 300-year-old oak) and library tastings (pours of Cabernet go back three decades, offering a rare vertical look at the Stags Leap district).
 
What else would you expect from a well-bred competitor with a penchant for exceeding expectations and coming out on top?  

Silverado Vineyards
6121 Silverado Trail, Napa CA 94558 * (707) 257-1770

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