Napa Valley AVA
From smallish beginnings, Maroon Wines has made a reputation for themselves
At the relatively young age of sixteen, Paul Maroon began helping his Lebanese uncle make wine in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania. The young man became intrigued with the process and promised himself that one day he would make wine on his own. Maroon then graduated with a degree in engineering from Widener University (Chester, PA) and ventured west to work around Silicon Valley. His primary area of interest was in medical sales, but the proximity to Northern California’s famed viticultural areas soon got the best of him. Frequent visits to Napa Valley made him a dedicated fan of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Maroon’s preferred drink of choice.
Sometime in early 1990, Maroon made the decision to enter the wine business. He purchased two plots of plantable land, one of 300 acres and the other of 35 acres. He sold the larger parcel eight years later but retained the smaller one situated in the Coombsville appellation of southern Napa Valley.
The year 2000 saw the first release of Maroon Wines, a mere 500 cases. “Like most wineries, we started small,” he recently confided. “Our growing area is not as hot as some in Napa and it allows the fruit to hang longer. When we pick we get really ripe grapes that are fully matured. These provide for full bodied wines that are very fruit forward, the type of wines I always call Napa Valley American Style.”
From the smallish beginnings, Maroon Wines has grown in is fourteen years to over a 10,000-case entity. While a large amount of its wines are sold via internet, Maroon Wines has distribution throughout the United States and even in Mexico. Maroon feels that the 10,000 cases mark is optimal for his company and intends to remain at that level for the foreseeable future.
Was Paul Maroon surprised at the immediate success of his winery?
“Well, quite frankly, I was really surprised,” he replied candidly. “I started all this as something of a hobby but it quickly became a real business. People took to our style of wines and we have never looked back.’’
Maroon credits winemaker Robert Craig (Robert Craig Winery and the much acclaimed Affinity wine) for his success. Craig is Maroon’s neighbor as well as mentor. Craig’s insights into winemaking and style have formed some of the basis for Maroon Wines’ releases.
As far as winemaking chores, Chris Corley (a 2nd generation member of the Monticello Vineyards family) is the winemaker of record. Maroon Wines are all produced at Monticello Vineyards.
Paul Maroon also attributed his wine’s success to the fact that most of his 20 planted acres are vines that are more than 20 years old and planted on volcanic soil. The vines are set at altitudes from 200 to 600 feet, and are all considered hillside in nature. These vines provide superior fruit that makes the job of winemaking all the easier.
“I just can’t say enough about the terroir of our vineyards,” he explained. “Everyone in the business knows that it is the earth and the combination of drainage and minerals that make the difference. We are blessed to have everything we need in one place.”
Maroon Wines’ vineyard location sits right next to the Napa Valley Country Club and Paul Maroon has made great use of the facilities for many years for wine tastings and exposure. He also hopes to gain permission (sometime this summer) for a tasting facility located within his vineyards.
“A tasting facility will make our operation complete,” Maroon added. “Our good customers will be able to sit and relax and enjoy our wines as they like.” By the way, tastings will be on an appointment-only basis once the permission is resolved.
Paul Maroon made a play on his name by designing a maroon (what else) label that was both simple, yet elegant. He believes firmly that wines, not labels, sell themselves.
He is also a firm proponent of the Beverage Tasting Institute, or BTI. BTI is a Chicago-based company that has been in business for more than three decades and offers impartial ratings on wines and spirits. Maroon believes BTI is the fairest form of tasting and rating available within the wine industry.
Paul Maroon and Maroon Wines have made a remarkable reputation for themselves and figure to improve their quality in the years to come. The wines are solid and respectably priced, something of a rarity in today’s demanding marketplace.
It is a pleasure to welcome Maroon Wines as a Platinum Series Wine Club selection.
Paul Maroon - Owner & Vintner
Dear Platinum Series Members,
It is very exciting for us to offer for the first time a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from this vineyard! This wine really showcases the quality of these special grapes. On the nose, the wine has dark berry fruit, mocha and coffee aromas. On the palate, the wine has medium weight tannins, a rich core, and a long finish. It will age well for 12 to 15 years.
One of the reasons I purchased this property in the Coombsville Appellation 12 years ago is that it is located in an area of Napa that is a sweet spot for growing Cabernet Sauvignon, my favorite varietal. We have slightly cooler temperatures here than the Northern part of the valley. The cooler temperatures allow the grapes to hang longer than the hotter areas. This extra hang time allows the grapes to be fully mature at the time of picking. The end result is a very complex, well-balanced, and simply delicious wine.
The past 4 years have been challenging growing seasons here in Napa. 2009 was difficult, but with careful management in both the vineyard and in the cellar, we have been able to produce one of the finest Maroon Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons ever. Our crop was light in 2009, so we don’t have much of this wine. The up side is that a light crop produces exceptional grapes and wine. All of the energy from the vine goes into fewer grapes, producing superior quality.
I am pleased to offer you this very special wine…and I hope you enjoy sharing it.