Delectus Vineyard & Winery
Napa Valley AVA
Labelled among Napa Valley’s elite establishments
When Linda Reisacher first came to Napa Valley in 1983, she chose to live in the Napa Valley town of St. Helena. At the time, she was fortunate to find a job selling glass bottles to wineries for California Glass. A mutual friend proposed a water skiing blind date who turned out to be a transplanted Austrian named Gerhard Reisacher.
Reisacher was an eighth generation winemaker who grew up in Austria’s prime vineyard region just south of Vienna. He started helping his father in the vineyards at an early age to learn the fundamentals of the wine business. He had come to the United States at the age of 19 and was already a trained winemaker after attending Austria’s premiere winemaking school, Weinbauschule Klosternburg, where he earned the equivalent of four degrees. After a short time, the pair fell in love and was married. They each harbored a dream of one day starting a winery in Napa Valley that could be an outlet for their feeling and passion for wine.
Gerhard Reisacher developed an impressive resume with the likes of Corley Family Napa Valley Monticello Vineyards, Far Niente Winery, Pine Ridge Vineyards and iconic Clos du Val, where he was the assistant winemaker. In 1995, the Reisachers began making extensive and significant red wines that carefully mirrored select vineyards and terroirs throughout Napa Valley.
On a trip to Italy, Linda Reisacher was sufficiently moved by Michelangelo’s masterpiece David to develop the name for the winery. Delectus in Latin means “ultimate choice”, and seemed perfect for their new venture. For the next decade, their efforts accumulated numerous accolades as well as a fiercely loyal following.
In 2005, a 112-acre vineyard estate became available in nearby Knight’s Valley, a sub-region of Sonoma County that was primarily known for growing cabernet sauvignon. “It was certainly our dream come true,” recalled Linda Reisacher. “There were 40 plantable acres that varied in elevation. We now have vines from 1200 to 2200 feet that provide us with a number of variations in fruit that suits our wine portfolio quite well.”
Reisacher also pointed out that owning the vineyard land and planting their own vines offered Delectus Vineyard & Winery a greater control over the fruit as well as a consistent source for their winery’s production. “When you have a great passion for wines like we do,” she continued, “we take extraordinary steps with our farming practices to respect the natural beauty and history of the property by preserving the natural terrain.”
Currently, Delectus Vineyard and Winery produces around 4,500 cases annually. The entire production is red and includes cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, petit syrah and syrah.
“Gerhard left Austria because he didn’t want to make Austrian wines,” confessed Linda. “He tasted some big California cabs and the rest is history. He firmly believes that California cabernet sauvignon ranks among the truly great wines around the world.”
Delectus Vineyard and Winery is still a small, family-run business with only five employees. Gerhard handles the winemaking and vineyard management aspects and Linda handles about everything else.
“I was lucky to have had experience is sales and marketing. The fact is I quit my paying job to start a winery. Looking back, I’m not sure I had all my faculties,” she said jokingly. “I run the financial side of the business and the nuts and bolts of everything else.”
Delectus Vineyard and Winery operates a tasting facility in St. Helena that is open to the public. Linda Reisacher can be found there three days a week. “I firmly believe that the owner of a winery should be present in a tasting environment as much as possible. That allows me to gain valuable feedback from our customers as well as develop lasting relationships. There are an amazing number of people who really love wine. We share a passion for the grape that goes beyond ordinary emotion.”
With Delectus Vineyard and Winery already labelled among Napa Valley’s elite establishments, the future seems even rosier (er, redder) for the Reisachers. As an added feature, the winery also offers a unique experience for groups of six or more. A Winemaker Experience Tasting is a wonderful opportunity to see the complexities of growing and producing world class wines. Appointments must be made to enjoy this exclusive offering.
Daughter Julia (after whom this Diamond Wine Club Selection is named) is 16 and ambivalent about the wine business. Linda Reisacher still holds the hope that she will follow in her parent’s footsteps.