Napa Valley AVA
Relishing in every moment, every twist and every turn of their winemaking adventure
After a lifetime of appreciating fine wines, Terry and Pam Davis have fulfilled their dream of making wines with the start of Frisson, an extremely limited production winery that sources fruit from some of Napa and Sonoma’s finest vineyards. ‘Frisson,’ a French term for a sudden moment of intense excitement or a thrill, not only aptly describes the Davis’ story, but it also describes the feeling they hope to convey with their wines.
It all started about thirty years ago when Terry and Pam’s son was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. As any parents would, they sprang into action, getting involved in fundraising events to support research into the disease. It was their love of fine wine and food that lead them to fundraising gala dinners, where they had the privilege of meeting many famed winemakers and chefs. At one of these dinners, the Davis’ met winemaker Wayne Donaldson - they hit it off immediately, became quick friends, and shared with him their desire to make wines that captured the energy of the New World yet were honed with the sophistication of the Old World. Wayne presented them an opportunity to purchase some prized fruit from Diamond Mountain, Napa Valley, and the moment was surely a ‘frisson’ for the Davis’. Wayne became Frisson’s first winemaker starting with the 2009 vintage and the Davis’ journey as vintners came to life.
While Terry and Pam could not have imagined how challenging making wine could be, it has been an adventure of a lifetime - for which they have relished every moment, every twist, and every turn. Today, they work with winemaker Paul Colantuoni (Wayne left consulting in 2012 to take a job with a wine distributor). Paul’s winemaking style is the perfect mix of Old World finesse and New World exuberance, taking from his experiences working for some of the great wineries in Tuscany, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and Napa Valley. He currently makes wine for a few small award-winning wineries, including Frisson.
Happily, Terry and Pam’s son is now healthy, with two sons of his own, and they continue to give a percentage of Frisson profits to cystic fibrosis research. We hope you enjoy this Garagiste Wine Club feature.