Patience in Winemaking
April 20, 2017
The ‘Art’ of Vineyard Management
June 2, 2017

A Wine Does Memory Lane

by Elizabeth Miller, Director of Winery Hospitality

What lies waiting for 45 years, in a cellar, in a wine bottle? We recently found the delights, the answers, and more questions in the Burgess Cellars private library wine cellar.

Winemaker Kelly Woods and I performed an inventory of this cellar as part of revamping our Hospitality Experience and renovating our Tasting Room. We knew we wanted to share this amazing library with every guest who visits Burgess Cellars. Now, select wines are on display in the Tasting Room, showcasing the breadth of forty-five years of winemaking. The task was also quite a lesson in Burgess Cellars and American wine!

We first targeted wines from our founding year, 1972. A Cabernet Sauvignon and a Petite Sirah, both in pristine condition, immediately caught our attention. How remarkable it was to see these two debut wines, these two varieties, when presently these same two varieties are featured in our Tasting Room. Any guest today can enjoy our 2013 Cabernet, our 2015 Chardonnay and our single vineyard 2012 Petite Sirah, while viewing their 1972 predecessors!

Our 2016 Rosé of Syrah was just released online and in the Tasting Room. Rosé of course is a very en vogue category right now, with exploding sales in the American market. It was clear, however, that Burgess Cellars was ahead of the trend when we found a 1974 Grenache Rosé.

The Burgess Cellars private wine library provides a greater education on the evolution of domestic labeling laws and wine regions. A 1973 Zinfandel labeled “Napa and Sonoma Counties” hails from a time before our current American Viticultural Area system. Prior to the AVA system, wine appellations of origin in the United States were designated based on state or county boundaries. The AVA system developed in 1980 with the idea that location, including geography, soil and weather, influence grapes and consequently the wine. Napa Valley AVA and Sonoma County AVA were formed in 1981. Today, a wine made with fruit from both regions would fall within the larger North Coast AVA, and be labeled as such. The Burgess Cellars 1973 Zinfandel is a great example of critical evolutions within the American wine industry.

This walk down memory lane is now on display for every guest to enjoy in our Tasting Room at Burgess Cellars.