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Amizetta Vineyards


Located in the Vaca Mountain range of Napa Valley

The fact that both of their families were agriculturally oriented made Spencer and Amizetta (pronounced ahm-ah-zet-uh) Clark’s entry into the wine business make a great deal of sense. The time was 1979, and the Clarks had recently completed their migration to San Francisco from their home in Houston, Texas.

Spencer was a professional musician, and his band, Chameleon, had met with some success. But, Spencer was determined to become a studio musician and resettled in San Francisco with his childhood sweetheart and wife Amizetta. His early childhood included the rice business while Amizetta’s family had been active in the spice business and other agri-businesses.

A day trip to the nearby Napa Valley proved fortuitous to the Clarks. They fell deeply in love with Napa Valley and Spencer Clark decided to change his life ambition to grape growing.

“We both knew at once that the wine business is where we wanted to be,” Spencer Clark recently recalled. “I immediately got a cellar rat job (he did everything asked) at Sterling Vineyards and then another position with Charles Shaw. Then, we started looking for a suitable site to begin growing grapes.”

A picturesque 20-acre parcel atop Howell Mountain beckoned, and the Clarks found themselves planting vines on terraced spots above the Napa Valley. This was 1979, and the great California wine rush was just beginning. Three years later, the Clarks were able to add an adjoining 20 acres to their property and for the next fifteen years, they actively supplied high quality fruit to neighboring wineries.

Sometime in 1985, plans were detailed that led to the building of a winery on the property. Spencer named the winery after his wife, whose family name was passed down over fifteen generations. It comes from a Native American background and means “little friend.” Spencer next contacted Justin Meyer (of Silver Oak Cellars fame) to be a consultant and the rest is history.

“Justin felt the good soils meant great wines were possible,” added Clark, “and we sort of took it from there.” The company’s initial release of around 500 cases occurred in 1986 and was met with outstanding reviews and high scores in competitions.

“We sort of expected the wines to be good,” Clark confessed. “Other wineries had made some exceptional wines from our grapes and we figured we could do the same.”

From relatively humble origins, Amizetta Vineyards has become a major player in the Napa Valley’s cadre of top quality wineries. All wines are estate grown and produced, and will remain so in the future.

And, happily for both Spencer and Amizetta Clark, their venture has grown into an entity called Amizetta Estate Family Vineyards and Winery. Production has grown to around 3,000 cases, depending on what each low yield harvest (the yield averages between 1 ½ to 2 tons an acre) affords the winery. Three of the couple’s sons, Perry, Edward, and Spencer Clark Jr., are now part of the winery business as well.

Perry graduated from UC Davis and earned a Wine Business Master’s Degree and is now considered the president of the entire operation. He also handles the sales and marketing aspect of the still smallish business. His younger brother, Edward, opted to attend Fresno State and major in enology and viticulture. Edward is now the full-time winemaker for Amizetta Vineyards and Winery and responsible for many of the recent awards and scores. Spencer Clark Jr. pursued viticulture education at Napa Valley College under the eminent Dr. Stephen J. Krebs and has worked in the Amizetta Vineyards and at the winery in varying capacities over the past twenty five years. He is currently the chief vineyard operator and winemaker’s assistant.

Amizetta Vineyards also enhanced their breathtaking estate with the addition of a 2,200 foot cave a few years ago that also includes a dining area and tasting room. Some 200 barrels are included that lends impeccable ambience to the entire operation. Unfortunately, access to the cave and dining area is by appointment only.

Amizetta Vineyards and Winery is the result of a good deal of hard work and some exceptional long-range planning on the part of its owners. With the new growing laws in effect for Napa Valley, the terraced Amizetta Estate property is among a handful of grandfathered sites that cannot be duplicated in the future, insuring spectacular views and vistas forever.

Both Spencer and Amizetta Clark (she still runs the business, and according to her husband has her hands in everything) truly deserve the quality tags their wines have earned them over the years. They have concentrated on Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and on the wonderful blends these great Bordelaise varietals produce.

The Clark family is also responsible for the winery’s final blendings, the perfect way it should be for a family-oriented and developed operation.


  1. Amizetta
    2010 Proprietary Red Blend
    Amizetta
    Complexity
    Napa Valley

    $36.00

    $40.00
    94 - Beverage Testing Insti.
    id: 2355
    Platinum

Perry Clark - Owner/President

Dear Platinum Series Wine Club Members,

Spencer and Amizetta Clark established Amizetta Winery in 1979. Today, the winery represents over 30 years of winemaking excellence. Amizetta wines are produced solely from Amizetta estate vineyards. The vineyards consist of steep terraced rows on the eastern mountains of the Napa Valley. Amizetta sits at an elevation of 1,000 ft, tucked away between Pritchard Hill and Howell Mountain. The vines grow in rocky soils that force limited quantities of high quality grapes. The vineyard site has its own microclimate with frost free growing conditions, foggy mornings, and warm sunny afternoons. These special conditions allow our vineyard to produce wines with deep rich colors and round condensed flavors.

The wine you are receiving today is a 2010 red blend called “Complexity.” This wine is made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, the three main Bordeaux varietals grown at Amizetta Vineyards. This is a special wine created by the entire team at Amizetta. Each year, everyone sits down to taste and create a red blend that embodies the strong characters of the individual varietals and the growing season. We have named this wine “Complexity,” because of the many deep layers of flavor that come form the power of Cabernet, the velvety texture of Merlot, and the spiciness of Cabernet Franc.

We invite you to experience this limited production hilliside red blend.
Cheers!

Owner/President
Perry Clark

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