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Coup de Foudre Winery

Napa Valley AVA

John Schwartz and his cast of characters are what Hollywood movies are made of, and there's no arguing about the success of his brands

If wineries were given awards for their names, Coup de Foudre Winery of Napa Valley would certainly wind up high on the list.

To explain, coup de foudre (pronounced koo dah foo drah) is French for ‘love at first sight,’ and the French, like many Americans, believe in the possibility of such an occurrence. For the owners of Coup de Foudre Winery, there is a story that accompanies the name.

According to Coup de Foudre Winery owner John Schwartz, his now wife Carrie was in a bar in France’s French Alps closely conversing with a Frenchman. Schwartz yelled “Fire!” and the room cleared. He approached Carrie and asked what had made the Frenchman so amiable. She answered, “He asked if I believed in coup de foudre, a phrase about something unforgettable, such as ‘love at first sight.’”

Schwartz ultimately prevailed for Carrie’s hand and the name for his new winery venture is actually a page torn out of his past.

John Schwartz, 51, has been in the wine business for thirty years. For a portion of those years, he was an executive at the huge Wente Vineyards wine operation of Livermore until he decided to venture out on his own.

Since that time, he has developed a number of wine entities, mostly on the high-end of the wine business. His most successful endeavor is undoubtedly the Amuse Bouche Winery, a joint project with noted winemaker Heidi Peterson Barrett. Schwartz is a Napa native and has known Barrett since childhood. Barrett has been responsible for some of Napa Valley’s most heralded wines including Screaming Eagle Winery, Grace Family Vineyards and a host of additional wines now referred to as cult wines. She is certainly the most recognized female winemaker in California and arguably the entire world. Needless to say, Barrett’s golden name on the bottle augured well for the brand’s success in the press and competitions.

The pair collaborated on another wine venture, this one named Au Sommet, with fruit from a seven-acre vineyard perched atop Atlas Peak in the Western Vaca Mountain Range. Schwartz maintains his residence on the property that offers commanding views of San Francisco Bay and the Napa Valley as viewed from its eastern side. This brand has also brought grand tidings to its owners who also include viticulturist John Barbour who is considered one of Napa Valley’s leading viticulturists. John Schwartz has also been active in the restaurant business and additional winery developments too numerous to relate here.

Coup de Foudre Winery is the latest John Schwartz invention to hit the shelves and it features a new winemaker, Kent Jarman, who originally hailed from Southwestern Louisiana. Jarman is a UC Davis graduate in Viticulture and Enology who has developed an attractive resume in his years after graduation. Included are stops at J. Vineyards & Winery (Healdsburg), an internship at Spring Mountain Vineyard (Napa Valley) with winemaker Craig Becker, and a long-term association with iconic winemaker Dan Duckhorn (Duckhorn Vineyards, Napa Valley) that resulted in the position of assistant winemaker. Jarman has been involved with Coup de Foudre since 2007 and brings a steady hand to Coup de Foudre Winery’s winemaking prowess. He is an active presence in the winemaking fraternity and has his hand in other wineries such as Joseph Kent Wines, 4088, and Kenefick Ranch.

The initial offering of Coup de Foudre Winery was released in 2004, a small release of only a few hundred cases. In the time since its inception, the winery has increased its production to around 2,500 cases.

John Schwartz and his cast of characters are what Hollywood movies are made of, and there’s no arguing about the success of his brands. We hope our Platinum Wine Club members enjoy this boutique winery and its Bordeaux blending of varietals as found in Coup de Foudre’s 2015 37.2 Cuvée Red Blend.

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Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,

Picture of Dear <I>Platinum Wine Club</I> Members,

It is with great pleasure to share with you our 2015 Coup de Foudre Cuvée 37.2 from our estate vineyards in Napa Valley. We founded Coup de Foudre Winery over 15 years ago with the goal in mind to produce a world-class product that also conveys a story that our collectors and consumers could share with those people most cherished in their lives.

Coup de Foudre, which translates to Love At First Sight or Struck by Lightning, is a famous French expression often used to share emotions when one is swept off his/her feet. Back in the 1980s, while living in France, this expression, combined with the poem on the label which I wrote, was given to my first love. She was sold on the idea of dating me, then eventually marrying me, and rearing my two children! The one-of-a-kind label peels off, so you can record your notes or memories from a dining or life experience you might wish to capture when enjoying this wine. You will also notice that on the cork as well as on the proprietary Cuvée label is “37.2.” Trente-sept deux, as the French would say, is the Celsius equivalent of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, when a body or soul becomes feverish. This term “37.2” is also an endearing expression employed to share one’s feeling when moved by something, someone, or a great wine that changes your complexion or outlook on life!

Our vineyards in Calistoga, at the northern end of Napa Valley, produce amazing Bordeaux varietals which we use in this blend. The vines, 25 years old, grow in one of the warmer climates in the valley, yielding balanced wines which are ripe with bright fruit flavors and dense chocolate tones. This 2015 right-bank vintage is composed of 60% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot. Although approachable now, it will age, with its silky tannins, gracefully, for many years to come.

Capture the Moment!

John Schwartz