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Volker Eisele Family Estate

Chiles Valley AVA

Volker Eisele was the first Napa grower to embrace the concept of organic farming and his family continues his mission of exclusively growing organically certified grapes.

German-born Volker Eisele is one of those wine industry rarities who enjoyed enormous success in more than one facet of the wine business during his lifetime. Renowned as one of Napa Valley’s finest quality grape growers, Eisele dedicated over four decades to mastering the art of sustainable organic viticulture and sold fruit to the likes of Beaulieu Vineyards, Stags Leap, Chappellet, Spring Mountain, Pahlmeyer, and Quail Ridge - all among the finest producers in Napa Valley. He was the past president of the Napa County Farm Bureau and the Napa Valley Grape Growers, and his honors included the Earl Thollander Environmental Award in 2007, Napa Valley’s 2008 Agriculturalist of the Year Award, and the Leader of the Year Award from the California Association of Wine Grape Growers in 2015. Eisele passed away in 2015, but his incredibly impressive legacy and dedication to the California wine industry continues to live on through his namesake winery, Volker Eisele Family Estate, now a legendary entity in the Napa Valley. Today, the estate is run by his wife, Liesel, and son, Alexander, who is committed to upholding his father’s vision and following closely in his footsteps.

Alexander Eisele grew up on the vineyard and as a small boy, remembers snacking on the juicy fruit right off the vine, refining his taste buds at an early age. His choice of career is no surprise. He is fluent in both German and Spanish, and holds an International Business degree, making him well equipped to manage the challenges and complexities of his family’s award-winning vineyard and winery.

Although Volker Eisele Family Estate was officially founded in 1997, it all began in the early 1970’s when Volker Eisele and his wife Liesel (herself a noted landscape architect) decided they wanted to live in the country. They had owned a small weekend house in Napa Valley and decided the bucolic atmosphere was well suited to their needs. They settled in Chiles Valley (on Napa’s eastern side) and planted their first vines there in 1974.

Eisele was fortunate that his property came with a long pedigree that further enhanced his individual pursuit of producing the perfect grape. The 60-acre plot was part of the old Rancho Catacula Mexican land grant that had been given to founder Joseph Chiles in 1843 by the last Mexican governor of California. It was developed for grapes during the 1870’s by the Sievers Family, and some of the original buildings and tanks remain on the property today.

Volker Eisele was the first Napa grower to embrace the concept of organic farming and his family continues his mission of exclusively growing organically certified grapes on their Chiles Valley District estate vineyard. This year, 2021, marks the estate’s 47th year of farming organically.

Volker Eisele was also primarily responsible for his locale’s designation as the Chiles Valley District, under its own appellation within the larger, encompassing Napa Valley appellation. He proudly saw the Chiles Valley District area grow and become one of the leading producers of top quality grapes in Napa County during his lifetime.

The call to establish his own winery, the Volker Eisele Family Estate, came in 1997 when he produced around 700 cases of his first wine. Eisele was extremely meticulous in his approach to winemaking and was a major proponent of detail management in the vineyard and the cellar, working towards the goal of perfect quality control. He was very pleased when his first wines were met with instant critical acclaim.

Such attention to detail has made all of Volker Eisele’s wines highly sought after. Production has remained conservative over the years and this coming vintage will see approximately 5,000 cases produced. The family winery’s focus was, and still is, on the noble Cabernet Sauvignon.

Winemaking duties at Volker Eisele are overseen by Molly Lyman, who over the coarse of her career has worked under and alongside several top echelon winemakers including Heidi Barrett, Philipe Melka, Mike Hirby, and Julien Fayard. Her winemaking experience includes time spent at such notable properties as Moone-Tsai, Paradigm, Duckhorn, Relic, Talisman, and Whitehaven in New Zealand. Molly has a true fascination with wine and is dedicated to producing the finest wines possible for Volker Eisele Family Estate.

The Eisele family is deeply committed to upholding Volker Eisele’s legacy by continuing to grow high quality organic grapes and producing elegant estate wines. It is with great pleasure that we present this month’s Diamond Plus! Wine Club selection. Enjoy!

Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,

Picture of Dear <i>Platinum Wine Club</i> Members,

We are pleased to share our 2014 Sievers Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon. My Mother and Father began growing grapes in the Napa Valley in 1974 and my sister and I grew up on the estate. We have 60 acres under vine in the Chiles Valley District and have always farmed our land organically. The Chiles Valley District is located along the Eastern side of the Valley, nestled in the Vaca Mountain Range. This “nested” or sub-AVA within the Napa Valley has a longer, cooler growing season resulting in a cooler climate wine style, truly mountain fruit.

The fruit that goes into the Sievers Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon comes from a small seven acre section within our vineyard called the Canyon Block. The canyon was originally planted to grapevines in the late 1800’s by German pioneer and winemaker Francis Sievers.

My Father, Volker, walked the vineyards daily. His favorite area within the vineyard was the Canyon Block. Not only are the views from this block spectacular, the fruit that comes from this area is exceptional. Due to the nature of this topography, the small vines produce extremely low yields. The resulting wine has depth, structure and character.

The Sievers Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon is a true expression of a wine grown in the mountains made with classic elegance.

We would love to welcome you to the vineyard.

From our family to yours ~ Cheers!

Alexander Eisele

Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,

Picture of Dear <i>Platinum Wine Club</i> Members,

My family and I are happy to share our 2010 Terzetto with you. It is the result of a particularly balanced growing season in the Chiles Valley District Appellation. The year began with normal (35 inches) and well distributed rainfall without any dangerous downpours that often cause severe erosion. Budding out, flowering, fruit set, veraison and ripening were all on time and uneventful.

In the end we were able to pick well shaped clusters, with perfectly sized berries and the ideal quantity per vine. As a result, the fruit was in the best condition: no blemishes, even ripeness, and very well developed color. The sugar was as 25 degrees Brix, with strong acidity and tannins giving us a balanced wine. We produced 600 cases of Terzetto. As delicious as the wine is now, it will reward the patient connoisseur. In four to five years, the wine should be at its very vest and then live for another 15 to 20 years.

The age of the vines is on average 16 years, which means that they are in their prime. Careful management from judicious pruning to organic growing are essential for bringing out the best in the vineyard.

It is now 40 years that we have farmed organically and the vineyard shows it in its consistency. Organic growing makes stronger vines and stronger vines make better grapes.

We would love to welcome you to the vineyard.

Alexander Eisele