Napa Valley AVA
Truly one of the top producers in the valley
“The one thing you shouldn’t do is come to Napa Valley and not play golf but drink more wine,” offered Mac Maquoid, one of the owners of Parallel Napa Valley. “We did just that and in four days had bought some land to start a winery as a hobby. It seemed the correct thing to do.”
That quote was first voiced some 16 plus years ago, and the resulting venture by two couples has become one of Napa Valley’s top boutique wineries. Parallel Napa Valley ultimately became five couples, all with distinct ties to Park City, Utah.
“Yes, we all lived in Park City and knew each other through skiing activities and our support of the United States Ski Team that is based in Park City,” Maquoid continued. “We found we had similar interests and everyone loved wine and its powerful appeal.”
Even though vineyards were immediately planted, the first releases of Parallel Napa Valley didn’t take place until 2005. A modest 1,100 cases were produced, and were immediately met with incredible success.
“I think our winemaker, Philippe Melka was the difference maker,” added Maquoid, who serves as the managing member of the LLC that owns Parallel Napa Valley. “His vast experience and expertise in making great wines put us on the map. It’s up to us to continue crafting superior wines.”
Melka, by the way, is a Bordeaux-born and raised wine professional. His resume is stacked with the likes of Château Haut-Brion and Château Cheval Blanc in Bordeaux, Chittering Estate in Australia and Badia a Coltibuono in Chianti. In California, he worked with legendary Christian Moueix at Dominus and Paul Draper at Ridge Vineyards. In other words, his resume is one for the ages.
Melka has also had a firm hand in vineyard decisions at Parallel Napa Valley. When he found he was able to source fruit that was equal to or better than the fruit grown at Parallel Napa Valley’s own vineyards, the latter quickly rid themselves of the money draining vineyards they had initially planted.
“We now buy all of our fruit from mostly hillside plantings,” explained Mac Maquoid. “Philippe knows that the hillside fruit is preferable for our needs from California’s Best Winemakers and advances the terroir aspect of his winemaking that is so integral to the wines of Parallel Napa Valley.”
Parallel Napa Valley is a direct reference to the ownership group’s long time love affair with skiing and Park City. “Parallel lines are the tracks that one’s skis make on the first run of the day,” Maquoid informed. “We all wanted to associate the winery with skiing and couldn’t settle on a name or label. We were shown a number of potential designs from a distance of about 20 feet. None perked our interest until the design for parallel ski lines was shown. Everyone gasped and we all knew we were finally in business.”
The reality of Parallel Napa Valley’s success can be traced to the group’s outstanding business philosophy. They firmly believe the fact that a wine’s ultimate success is built on the personal relationships that have been built up over a period of time.
“Consumers identify with what’s in the bottle and with the people who own and make the wine,” commented Maquoid. “We are so small that we really can’t compete with the larger wineries. We don’t spend a penny on advertising and intend to keep our production around the 1,000 case level. We feel we have an advantage over the larger wineries in that the bigger you become, the more difficult it is to control your quality.”
Parallel Napa Valley is also a proud organizer and participant in numerous charitable events around the country. Their impressive double magnums have raised an astounding million dollars for non-profit organizations the winery has championed.
“Our bottles have sold for a high as $30,000 a bottle,” exclaimed Mac Maquoid. “The money goes directly to the charities and benefits a great number of people. We feel it gives back to our loyal cadre of customers in one way or another. Our next series of bottles is almost sold out before even being produced. It’s exciting and a great pleasure for our owners to be involved.”
The future looks incredibly bright for Parallel Napa Valley. New investors will allow the company to reach for even higher levels of success within the wine industry.
“We’ve been at it more than 16 years and we’re all still friends,” Maquoid concluded. “I’m not too sure there are many businesses that can say that in truth.”
A Note from Paula Kornell
Dear Platinum Series Members,
It is an honor to have our 2012 Parallel Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon introduced to such a distinguished wine loving group. I thank you for giving me the the opportunity to share a little of the history and feel of our brand.
When the partners of Parallel came together, they wanted to create a wine that personified their friendship and their love of both Napa Valley and Park City, Utah. Parallel Napa Valley captures the essence of lines carved by skis on the very first run of the day and of the paths of their lives connecting the commonalities of Park City and Napa Valley. The label has served to reflect their years of planting, tending, harvesting and making wines from the parallel rows of vines floating across the hillside vineyards of Napa Valley.
From the inception of the brand, Parallel’s winemaker, Philippe Melka has been the guiding light of the team. Philippe is winemaker for several of Napa Valley’s greatest wines, Food and Wine’s “2005 Winemaker of the Year” and Wine Enthusiast’s “2012 Winemaker of the Year”. His keen sensibility and elegant winemaking style is unparalleled.
On your next visit to Napa Valley, please let me know so that we may raise our glass together. Please enjoy!
Parallel, Napa Valley