Vineyards

Welcome to Spiriterra Vineyards! We are a small, family-owned vineyard located near Howell Mountain in the hills east of St. Helena - a premium winegrowing region. We proudly bridge two historical winemaking traditions. We offer a limited-production, estate Cabernet Sauvignon, the grape upon which Napa Valley's reputation was built. We are also excited to introduce Napa Valley's first and only Muscadine and Scuppernong wines. Muscadine and Scuppernong are native to the southeastern United States, with a respected winemaking history dating back to the 1500s, and are thriving here in the Napa Valley. 100% of the grapes that go into our wines are hand picked from our sustainably-farmed vineyards.

Our Story

In the fall of 1995, east coasters Paul and Shirley Dean were out west visiting their daughters at Stanford University to attend the “Big Game” - a longstanding football rivalry between Stanford and Cal. While on a side trip to Napa Valley they decided to casually look at land and houses for sale. Driving under a canopy of Spanish moss along Greenfield Road, Paul was reminded of his childhood days in rural Georgia.

Although they had never considered relocating from the East to the West coast, on their initial visit to Spiriterra they felt a special energy compelling them to purchase the vineyard property. They were captured by the hillside views and had a mutual vision for a very promising and happy future. They submitted their bid to buy the land that same day to the welcomed surprise of their four adult children and moved out that summer.

Paul, who had grown up on a farm driving tractors at a young age, was excited to get back on the seat of his Kubota. Shirley kept herself busy landscaping the 52-acre property and quickly became involved with several Bay Area non-profit organizations close to her heart. Over the next nineteen years, Paul and Shirley continued the tradition of growing and selling premium Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

The only thing missing from the landscape were the Muscadine and Scuppernong grapes Paul loved as a child. What started as a few experimental vines in the front yard a few years ago quickly grew to an entire vineyard dedicated to these unique grapes. Turns out these southeastern varietals love the Napa Valley too.

Excited to share something new and different with the wine world, Paul and Shirley decided to embark on the journey to create Spiriterra as a commercial winery in 2013. They came up with the name “Spiriterra”, which roughly translates to “Energized Earth,” “Pachamama” or “Blessed Land”, in recognition of the native history of the area and the peaceful and healthy spirit surrounding the family and grapevines.

Two generations of Deans are now actively involved in the daily operations of the vineyards and the marketing of Spiriterra Vineyards wines. Vineyard dogs, Hana and Sunny, could not be happier on gopher hunting duty.

A spirited toast from us to you!

The Vineyards

Napa Valley's Mediterranean climate and unique geography is renown for supporting great vintage to vintage consistency and quality. Here at Spiriterra Vineyards we are geographically blessed with incredible soils, good hillside drainage, excellent sun exposure, and extraordinary growing conditions. Long, warm days, that allow for a slow accumulation of sugar, and cool nights, which help the grapes to retain acidity and freshness, provide ideal conditions for properly ripening our grapes and producing beautifully balanced flavors.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Our two-acre Cabernet vineyard was replanted in 2003 and shares the distinctive honor with its Greenfield Road neighbors for the growing of premium Cabernet grapes. 2007 was our inaugural harvest under the Spiriterra label. The 2011 vintage became our first commercially-available offering and the harvest yielded 120 cases of wine.

Thanks to exceptional growing conditions in 2012, we bottled 246 cases in the fall of 2014. The long season, moderate temperature, lack of major heat spikes, and lack of rains during most of harvest made for one of the best vintages in recent memory. 2013 proved to be another great vintage and our vineyard yielded 216 cases of wine. In the spring of 2014, we planted 600 additional cabernet vines and the vineyards yielded 10 barrels of wine.

Each year we donate 24 cases to the Roots of Peace Wine Club, a Bay Area non-profit dedicated to replacing minefields in war-torn countries with bountiful vineyards and orchards.

Muscadine and Scuppernong

In 2009 we planted our, and Napa Valley’s, first experimental Muscadine and Scuppernong vineyard. Spiriterra Vineyards proprietor, Paul Dean, was raised in rural Georgia and wanted to bring a little bit of his southeastern upbringing to the Napa Valley. These native grapes of North America are traditionally grown in the southeastern United States and have been cultivated for more than 400 years for the production of commercial fine wines and ports.

Only 1.7 percent residual sugar remains in our 2012 Muscadine wine making it a refreshingly medium-dry white. To embrace its sweet tradition, the 2012 Scuppernong has been finished with a luscious 7.0 percent residual sugar.

Blog: Spiriterra Vineyards Brings a Taste of the South to Napa Valley

In addition to tasting delicious, muscadine and scuppernong grapes are also one of nature’s richest sources of polyphenolic antioxidants and other nutrients studied for their potential health benefits. The grapes have been the target of research for effectiveness against cancer. To date, in vitro studies have shown positive effects of muscadine phenolics against blood, colon and prostate cancers.

Viticultural geeks may be interested to learn that although in the same genus as other grapevine species, Vitis, muscadines belong to a separate subgenus (Muscadinia) and species (V. rotundifolia). The term scuppernong, often used to refer to all bronze-fruited varieties, is actually the name of a specific muscadine cultivar. Some taxonomists have suggested giving muscadine standing as a genus of its own. All have 40 chromosomes, rather than 38, and are generally not cross-compatable with other Vitis species. Additionally, being a native North American grape muscadines tend to be more resistant to pests and diseases, including Pierce's disease and Phylloxera, which can destroy other grape species.

The grapes are thriving here and our vineyard has expanded to two acres. Our inaugural 2012 harvest produced 48 cases of sweet scuppernong wine and 24 cases of dry muscadine wine. The vines continued to mature in 2013 and resulted in three barrels of wine. Our muscadine vineyard made headlines in 2014 as recipient of North Bay Business Journal's 2014 vineyard innovation award.

We are excited to present these new wines and believe they showcase the distinctive character of the grapes. We hope our wines evoke the slow-paced spirit and warmth of the South while representing the high quality of craftsmanship that is Napa Valley winemaking.

Meet our Winemaker

Originally from Michigan, Kenn Vigoda earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and focused his graduate studies on organic chemistry. At Raymond Vineyards for 24 years, Kenn worked his way up from lab manager to long-time winemaker for this well-known winery. In 2008, he joined Judd's Hill MicroCrush. He takes great joy in sharing his skill and knowledge with others.

Kenn's wine making philosophy - "I believe in letting the grapes dictate the wine style. Since drinkability is a personal assessment, I feel that a wine should be well balanced in tannin through the mouth and also well balanced in acid and pH to keep the fruit together while the tannins age out. I am not a big fan of tannic, high alcohol, high pH wines which seem to taste good now but have little hope of longevity."