Italics Winegrowers - Sixteen Appellations
Napa Valley AVA
Blending terroir and grapes that represent the entire Napa Valley.
It has been aptly referred to as the United Nations of the Napa Valley wine industry, and with certain good reason. Simply called Appellations, this winery takes a unique approach to presenting a product that in concept, is more than a single wine, and more than just a single entity. In a word, Appellations is nearly all encompassing.
Appellations began as a concept in 2002, when several Napa Valley friends and vintners came together with an idea that involved gathering grapes from all of the thirteen existing appellations within Napa Valley and then blending the grapes into a single wine - a wine that would represent the entire Valley.
The friends used their connections to wrangle fruit from every AVA - Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena...Spring, Diamond, and Howell Mountain...all thirteen appellations. It was amazing to see how the growers accepted the concept of ‘Appellations’ - everyone wanted to be represented and many couldn’t believe it had never been done before. It was quite exciting for everyone involved.
The partners vinified each lot separately and when they put together the final blend, they called the wine Thirteen Appellations. The wine was rich with structure from the hillsides and acid balance from the cooler regions - they had found the sweet spot. The first release was from the 2002 harvest, and a grand total of 100 cases were made. Needless to say, this first bottling was met with critical acclaim and was quickly sold out.
Fast forward to 2004, and a fourteenth AVA was added (Oak Knoll) and the name changed to Fourteen Appellations. In 2006, a fifteenth arrived (Calistoga); and finally in 2012, the named changed once again with the addition of Coombsville.
Along the way, the prestigious Appellations wines had created an unlikely following: collectors who regularly paid top dollar for the Valley’s best vineyard designated wines, but who were savvy enough to understand the benefits of blending. One of those collectors, a Texas couple with a produce background, decided this was a brand that deserved a bigger stage, so they acquired it from the partners in 2014.
From the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, the new owners turned their farming history into a penchant for making world-class wines and have turned numerous heads among the Napa Valley wine industry. This Texas couple had always been passionate about wine. They wanted to use their experience with crops in Texas and venture into the winery business. Now, the only question was where to locate their operation.
After acquiring Appellations, the couple was searching for a Coombsville vineyard, and happened upon a special property on the eastern edge of the Vaca Mountains (specifically located within the Coombsville AVA). It was exactly what they were looking for, and after some rehabilitating, it became the home for both Appellations and the couple’s next winery project: Italics Winegrowers, a high-end, well-respected winery in Napa Valley. The property is certainly unique and must be seen to be appreciated.
The couple selected the Coombsville location as it is an incredibly special place to grow wine grapes; the area is actually surrounded by a partially collapsed caldera, the remnant of a fractured volcanic vent. The caldera’s half-bowl reaches some 1,800 feet in elevation and collects cool marine air from nearby San Pablo Bay. This results in extended growing seasons, and in turn, leads to wines that are fresh, dark and rich, without being over the top.
Over the past six years, Italics has become a world-class winery that rivals many outstanding wineries in the Napa Valley and the state-of-the-art winery itself is truly something to behold. Included is a 16,000 square foot cave that holds the company’s barrel aging facility, as well as a stunning tasting room that greets the growing number of devotees.
Winemaker for Italics/Appellations is Marbue Marke, who recently joined the team in 2019. Bringing with him experience from an impressive selection of famed Napa and Sonoma wineries (Caldwell, Marston, J Winery, Cosentino, Benzinger, and industry giant, EJ Gallo), Marbue was named Bonfort’s 2018 U.S. Winemaker of the Year for his modestly sized but impressive portfolio of hand-crafted boutique wines. He also brings extensive knowledge of Coombsville’s unique terroir and the couple is enlivened by the renewed vision for their portfolio of world-class wines.
Today, Appellations lives within the Italics Winegrowers portfolio as an important expression of the couple’s mission: to highlight places that truly have something to say. We hope you enjoy their latest release; It is currently available in our Platinum wine of the month club. Enjoy!
Map of the area
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
If you are not familiar with Italics Winegrowers, let us introduce you. The name of the winery carries two parts: “Italics,” which is indicative of drawing focus and emphasis, and “Winegrowers,” to distinguish that great wines are grown and not made. The entire winery team feels that the Coombsville AVA in Napa Valley has a wonderful appeal, and their charge is to draw the wine collector and wine drinker’s palate towards the beautiful setting.
Italics Winegrowers’ focus has been on red Bordeaux varieties as Coombsville provides a distinctly cooler climate that shows more expressive wines with the potential for higher acidity levels due to the slightly lower average temperatures. The vineyard is made up of rolling hills with approximately 250 feet of elevation change. Three distinct soil types in conjunction with cool mid-afternoon winds versus other parts of the Napa Valley that get more heat results in a longer growing season, often producing more complex and flavorful wines.
Italics’ Sixteen Appellations is part of the Appellations Series dating back to 2002. This wine highlights all that Napa Valley has to offer each year. A unique blend of small lots of fruit from each of the sixteen AVA’s, this wine has a great following because of its limited production. The different soil compositions and microclimates found in each AVA make this bottle incredibly special - a complete summation of all of Napa Valley in a bottle.
Located east of downtown Napa, Coombsville is a relatively new AVA and a slightly unexplored region within the Napa Valley. This area was more known for horse ranching than winegrowing due to the unforgiving volcanic soils and a lack of available water to establish a vineyard. The Italics Estate is established on a very special 73 acres on the western edge of the Vaca Mountains. Italics Winegrowers’ commitment is to meet consumers where they are in their wine journey.
The Italics Winegrowers Team