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Heitz Cellar: The Benchmark for Wine in Napa Valley

Cover Image for Heitz Cellar: The Benchmark for Wine in Napa Valley
By Eddie Carter
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Categories:Interview

Heitz Cellar’s legacy runs deep. Since its founding in 1961, the Napa Valley icon has establishing itself as a benchmark of winemaking in California and Europe. Staying true to their family-owned lineage, Heitz Cellar was passed down to the Lawrence family in 2018, continuing the winery’s rich traditions of viticulture, stewardship, and classic winemaking. We chatted with Brittany Sherwood, director of winemaking, about the legacy of the Heitz family, the importance of the Napa Valley, and the growth of organic and sustainably sourced wines.

What do you love most about Napa Valley?

The people. At its core Napa Valley is a hard-working farming community, and we take pride in looking out for one another. We are blessed with an incredible terrior that has produced some of the world’s most noteworthy wines, but it’s important to acknowledge the talented and passionate women and men that have made it all possible. Without them, the great wines of Napa Valley would never have left California.

The wines of Heitz Cellar live in these barrels.

What separates Heitz Cellar from other wineries?

What has truly helped Heitz Cellar thrive for so long is the mixture of our historical winemaking practices with thoughtful innovation and creativity. Our production of classic, balanced, and age-worthy wines has endured since the 1960s, and I believe we will continue to stand out for generations to come.

Grapes from the Linda Falls vineyard.

How has the Heitz family history impacted the way you make wine?

The Heitz Family’s unwavering commitment to quality and their understanding that it takes decades to build something great is remarkable, and has really resonated with the winemaking team and I. We all agree that there is a continuity and commitment to quality in our wines, and we must only produce the best each vintage brings us. I am always inspired to contribute something meaningful to the Heitz Family’s already established name, and I am honored to continue adding to that rich legacy.

“Our production of classic, balanced, and age-worthy wines has endured since the 1960s, and I believe we will continue to stand out for generations to come.”

Does your fascination with biology and living organisms influence your winemaking today?

Definitely. My respect for science in general governs many aspects of our winemaking process. Through our strong foundation in enology, we are able to make sound and well-guided decisions that still respect the artistic nature of the winemaking process

What is the importance of growing wines organically or sustainably?

The improved health of the vineyards and surrounding ecosystem is our goal for organic farming. As of 2020, Heitz Cellar has begun the transition to biodynamic farming, an even more holistic approach to our current organic farming practices. The health of our land has increased, resulting in higher quality wines that are more expressive of the soils that they come from. We are always thinking about the future, and farming with organic and biodynamic practices will help to ensure our vineyards thrive as time goes on.

Heitz Cellar’s Trailside Vineyard.

Is there a particular Heitz bottle that you can recommend for the holiday season?

For this holiday season I recommend our Lot-C91 Cabernet Sauvignon. This is only the third vintage of this wine produced in the last six decades. It truly speaks to what classical Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley represents.

A bottle of lot C-91 cabarnet sauvignon.

One thing you would love for people to know about Heitz?

That we have been family owned since our founding in 1961. Family means so much to us during the holidays, and we are honored to continue the legacy and tradition of the Heitz Family with classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons. With a distinct eye towards the future, I am excited to see how we continue to evolve all while producing incredible wines of elegance and structure.

Visit Heitz Cellar

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