"Wine Mic Monday" is a VAULT29 series based on an "open mic concept" where wineries take over our blog to write about aspects unique to them and their wines. This week, we have the distinct honor of featuring legendary Merryvale Vineyards and it's female proprietor, Laurence Schlatter, who discusses the winery's rich history; the people behind the scenes; and the hospitality and tasting experiences you will only find at the winery! Find Merryvale wine experiences in the VAULT29 app!
"Building on a Rich Napa Valley Legacy" by Laurence Schlatter, Proprietor
Merryvale Vineyards, the landmark, family-owned St. Helena winery, is one of the most historic and significant wineries located in the Napa Valley. As the first winery built in the valley after Prohibition, Merryvale sits in a prime location along Highway 29, within walking distance from vibrant downtown St. Helena. Its Cask Room and vineyards bear the imprint of industry icons who have worked there.
Merryvale’s proprietors, the Schlatter family, are traditionalists with vision, committed to preserving the winery’s rich past without compromising their innovative plans for the future. Alongside their winemaker, the acclaimed and charismatic Simon Faury, they have sharpened their focus on Bordeaux varietals, the wines for which Napa is most renowned.
René and Laurence Schlatter Although René and Laurence grew up in the same Swiss town along the shores of Lake Geneva, they never met until a chance encounter in 1995 in the Merryvale tasting room. The daughter of a sixth-generation winemaker and winery owner, Laurence had traveled to St. Helena to visit her brother, a Napa harvest intern, when she crossed paths with René for the first time. An introduction and a glass of wine led to a long distance relationship, which was soon formalized with a wedding ceremony in their Swiss hometown.
United in marriage, the Schlatters are joined in their belief in a hands-on approach to the family business. They are a constant presence on the property, in the vineyards, the cellar and the tasting room. As they lay the groundwork for the future, they are committed to building on Merryvale’s rich past. Their goal is to create an intimate, engaging atmosphere for visitors while producing exceptional Bordeaux-style wines that reflect the unique and rich history of the Napa Valley.
Merryvale Vineyards’ Cabernet-centric portfolio includes wines that are complex and rich, balanced and expressive of Napa Valley’s fruit but also reflective of classic styles. Winemaker Simon Faury’s meticulous attention to detail calls for handpicking grapes in small batches and using custom-made Rieger tanks tailored specifically for the character of the grapes in each vineyard block.
Grapes for the Profile (Proprietary red) wine and the St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon are sourced from Schlatter Family Estate Vineyard, on a hillside nearly 900 feet in elevation, just east of St. Helena. The vineyard’s 25 acres of volcanic rock soil provide ideal growing conditions for Cabernet Sauvignon and small-block plantings of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Permanent cover crops, reduced herbicide use, and integrated pest management are all at work in the vineyard, which became Napa Green Land certified in 2008. Fruit for non-estate wines is sourced from independent grower sites throughout Napa Valley that reflect the region’s diverse soils and microclimates.
Merryvale Tasting Experience: Featuring single vineyard, limited-production wines, this tasting experience highlights the very best of Merryvale Vineyards and will be changed seasonally based on wine release dates and availability. It is offered at the tasting bar but is also available by prior appointment (48 hours in advance) to large groups in the Cask Room Club lounge area.
Wine and Cheese Experience: This seated, semi-private food and wine experience is offered daily at 11:30 a.m., and pairs artisan cheese with Merryvale Vineyard wines. Developed by the winery’s onstaff CIA-trained chef, Jason Velderrain, this tasting focuses on family-owned, locally sourced products that embody the values of the Merryvale Vineyards family. Offered by prior appointment only in the historic Redwood tank room. Eight person maximum.
Profile Library Tasting: Handcrafted from the Schlatter Family Estate Vineyard and a few select vineyard sites, Profile is the centerpiece of Merryvale winemaking. Combining the current release Profile with three past vintages, this privately hosted, seated tasting is the ultimate expression of Merryvale’s unique history. Offered by prior appointment only in the historic Redwood tank room. Eight-person maximum. Last available seating is 3 p.m.
Merryvale Movie Nights The Perfect Pairing of Food, Wine and Film Napa Valley Night Life – What to do when the wineries close for the evening?
It’s a rare treat to visit a winery at night, and now you can reserve seating at Merryvale Vineyard’s Movie Nights in the winery’s historic Cask Room. Two stories of century-old, 2,000-gallon casks line the stone walls creating an unforgettable ambience, and there’s much more than popcorn and soda on the menu. The scene is set with plush, comfortable seating and Merryvale wines poured by-the-glass, or for purchase in bottle, paired with locally sourced bites speciﬁcally selected to complement ﬁlms.
For more information please call 707.963.7777 or visit www.merryvale.com.