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Scott Harvey Wines - Napa Valley

94 Points-Exceptional plus a Gold Medal

To better understand the evolution of this month’s Platinum Series Wine Club selection from Scott Harvey Wines, it is necessary to trace the career of the namesake founder/winemaker for the past three decades. Scott Harvey’s career and accomplishments rank high on the scale with other modern wine industry pioneers and ground breakers who orchestrated a number of different entities during their long careers.

The road for the wine entrepreneur began as a high school exchange student to the Rhineland Pfalz wine region of Germany where he was exposed to a number of top German wineries. He next attended Cal State Sacramento before starting in the wine business at Amador County’s Montevina Winery. In 1975, he returned to Germany, where he apprenticed at K. Fitz-Ritter Winery while attending the Weinbau Schule in Neustadt. Completing school, Harvey returned to Montevina, where he broadened his experience in all aspects of the business. He went on to become winemaker for other Amador entities, Story Winery and Renwood Winery, where he was given credit for helping to establish Amador County as one of the top growing and producing regions in California. In 1990, Dan Berger, the well respected wine writer for the Los Angeles Times, named Scott Harvey one of the “Ten Best Winemakers in America.”

Scott Harvey went on to become winemaker for Folie A Deux Winery of Napa Valley, a well respected entity that was begun in 1996, and honed his craft for a number of years. His own Scott Harvey Wines became a reality in 2003, when Harvey learned that Folie A Deux Winery would soon be sold to the Trinchero Family of Sutter Home Winery fame. Along with noted winemaker Richard Peterson, Harvey was then a partner in the Folie A Deux venture, in addition to serving as both president and winemaker.

“When I realized that the sale was going to take place, I immediately saw it as an opportunity to do something that some of my friends and supporters had been urging me to do for a number of years,” recalled Harvey. He then approached the other owners of Folie A Deux and gained permission to begin producing a small amount of grapes from the Sierra Foothills, the region in which he was born and had formerly worked. His intention was to make a number of small lot wines from particular grape sources that he knew to be among the best in that part of Northern California. He wanted to produce the wines prior to the actual sale of Folie A Deux.

“I was fortunate to have some great growers that were willing to give me long term contracts on some exceptional grapes,” he added. “Since I had cut my teeth in the wine business in the foothills, I knew where the finest grapes were grown and made use of the personal contacts I had developed throughout my career. It was great of the other Folie A Deux owners to allow me to get a jump start on making wines as Scott Harvey Wines.” The new winery made its initial release of almost 2,000 cases in 2004. Scott Harvey’s wines have garnered a great deal of critical acclaim since their inception some seven years ago. The wines can be found in numerous states and on many upscale wine lists around the country. Since its beginning, Scott Harvey Wines has remained mostly a family operation. Jana Harvey, a long time wine industry veteran with an imposing resume of her own, handles all the sales and marketing as she did for several outstanding Napa Valley wineries, including Cuvaison. The couple’s nephew, Bill Crowe, has worked with Harvey for years and is now a production mainstay who gets involved in practically every aspect of the winery. Another nephew, Michael Harants, is a noted graphic artist whose first work was for the winery. Today, Harants does all of the company’s labels and has a say regarding some of the marketing and sales materials.

The winery’s tasting room is set in historic Sutter Creek, California, often referred to as the “Jewel of the Mother Lode” for the California gold rush. Harvey’s daughter, Paulette Harvey Williams, welcomes all visitors to the marvelous tasting room that is neatly located at 21 Eureka Street. In many ways, Scott Harvey Wines could fit the definition of a near perfect winery. It continues to produce a number of wines that are palate friendly and food satisfying. Its ownership has stuck to their guns and produces wines that they enjoy making as opposed to attempting to duplicate some of the more “modern style” wineries that get great attention in the wine industry’s journals.

Through it all, Scott Harvey still considers himself something of an anomaly. He puts it thusly, “I am really an old world winemaker in the new wine world.” Whatever Harvey’s philosophy, he seems to be doing something right, and the California wine industry is all the better for it.

  1. Scott Harvey
    2006 Zinfandel
    Scott Harvey
    Old Vine
    Sierra Foothills


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