Napa Valley AVA
"When you are repeatedly rated in the mid-90's in succeeding vintages, you must be doing something right."
Suppose you are an executive in the software end of the computer business in Seattle and you realize that your job is not the end-all it started out to be? If you are in your mid-thirties and your name is Thomas Bougetz, you enroll in an enology program offered by South Seattle College’s Northwest Wine Academy and change your life.
Such was the case for Thomas Bougetz, 57, the owner and winemaker for Napa Valley’s Bougetz Cellars. The Minnesota native found work immediately after graduation at San Francisco’s unique winery operation, aptly named Crushpad. The place was near AT&T Park in the neighborhood known as Dogpatch. At Crushpad’s location, would-be winemakers worked alongside professional winemakers to produce wines that were generally offered for sale.
Bougetz, who is of Polish heritage, made the decision to go on his own several years later and Bougetz Cellars was born. “I wanted to showcase individual vineyards in the Napa Valley and elsewhere and make terroir-driven wines,” he explained. “I was lucky enough to have a number of contacts that were top level growers so I was assured of excellent sources of grapes. That was ten years ago and the going was difficult in the beginning.”
“The problem was getting my wines in front of the raters and experts,” he continued. “There are simply too many wines and too few publications. I really struggled until James Suckling finally found my wines. He didn’t know me from Adam, but he liked my wines.”
From that point on, the story of Bougetz Cellars is one of great success and some incredible business planning. Now, practically every top wine publication has consistently ranked Bougetz Cellars as one of Napa Valley’s top wine producers.
“I am delighted with the consistency of the ratings from vintage to vintage,” Thomas Bougetz added. “When you are repeatedly rated in the mid-90’s in succeeding vintages, you must be doing something right.”
The fact that single lots (10 cases) of Bougetz Cellars wines sold for identical $14,000 bids at the Premier Napa Valley Wine Auction (Napa Valley Vintners Association) in successive years helped establish the fledgling winery’s emergent reputation. “If members of the trade are willing to spend $140 per bottle on wine futures, the buying public definitely takes note,” remarked Bougetz.
Bougetz Cellars started with a minuscule 50 cases of its first release in 2008. It has grown to around 1,500 annual cases and has been hard put to meet the demand created by its success. Thomas Bougetz sees a small increase in production over the next few years and is currently distributed in nine states around the country.
Last year, the entity moved into a new winery facility just south of the City of St. Helena, around the corner from the incredible Dean & Deluca store and centrally located to most of its vineyards. Next on the horizon is a tasting room on the outskirts of Napa City, a project that has lingered on for more than two years.
“We have finally secured the permits from the County to begin construction,” Bougetz went on. “It was a little crazy and I almost gave up a number of times during the process. But the location at the intersection of Atlas Peak Road and Monticello Road was just too good to believe. The proximity to the Silverado Trail and the Silverado Country Club were also important factors to consider.” Bougetz feels if all goes well, the new tasting facility will open around November 1st of this year.
Was Bougetz Cellars’ incredible success something you expected?
“In all honesty, yes,” answered Thomas Bougetz. “I knew I had impeccable sources of grapes to work with and all were under long term contracts. There was no reason for my wines to not be stellar. I was simply faced with the prospect of not goofing them up.”
Such unbridled honesty is a hallmark for Thomas Bougetz who has long held the belief that he could make really fine wines that were both affordable and drinkable. The fact that he has utilized the same fruit sources since his initial release shows his tenacity and willingness to stick it out for the long term.
It is a pleasure to offer this fine Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve to our Diamond Wine Club members. We know you will enjoy this wine to its entirety.