Kathy & Terry Sullivan
Summary: Keever Vineyards, a family-owned, boutique winery, provides visitors with a delightful experience that includes wine tastings, beautiful countryside views and a tour of the winery facility. Make an appointment to visit the Keever tasting room.
Visitors to the Keever Vineyard's’ tasting room need to make an appointment. Upon arriving at the site and passing through the gate, visitors will see a small patio with views of the countryside. Inside, the tasting room has high walls, a petite tasting counter, and a comfortable seating area with views of the vineyards and countryside. Take special note of the large colorful glass jacks. Next to the jacks is a ball representing the letter O and a metal sculpture of the letter N. Taking a second look, visitors will realize that the display represents “No Jacks.” During the winemaking process the Keevers remove the jacks from the grapes.
Olga (pictured) and Bill Keever started making wine in 2002 after living in Germany for nine years. After returning from overseas, they had purchased a rundown horse farm including a barn. In 1999 when they returned to Yountville and planted vineyards. Their business plan was to sell the grapes. Olga said, “We never sold a single grape.” Instead they used their grapes to make their own wine.
Today their son, Jason is the cellar master and their daughter, Ashley manages the tasting room. The vineyard manager, Jim Barbour talked the Keevers into making wine. Jim gave the Keevers a list of winemakers to call with Celia Welch at the top of the list. Shortly after talking with Celia about the winery, Celia agreed to become their winemaker.
We began the tour with a tasting of Sauvignon Blanc in the tasting room. Keeping our glasses, we followed Olga as she took us through the winery and along the vineyards. We learned that the winery produces about 2,000 cases of wine.
In the tank room a forklift moves tanks to under a platform where a double sorting table is used to sort the grapes above. Materials other than grapes (MOG) are removed on the first sorting table and jacks are removed on the second sorting table after the grapes are destemmed. This practice results in crafting wines that have softer tannins rather than harsh tannins that are produced by jacks and stems. After the double sorting, the grapes fall directly into the tank below on the ground floor. After filling the tank, the tank is moved back into place.
Our second stop was the barrel caves. Barrels are stacked two high along the sides of the cave. Workers were moving barrels with the use of a hand operated fork lift. A niche in the caves was set up for our second wine tasting. Another recess in the caves houses the library wines.
Olga then led us to the vineyards. The Keever vineyards consist of 6.5 acres of vines. Varietal grapes planted include Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. We learned that if the grade of a hillside is too steep, vineyards are not permitted to be planted. Thus there are no vineyards planted on the slope between the winery and their home. However below the winery, the land slope is more gradual and vines are planted providing wonderful views.
Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Napa Valley was a yellow color with 14.1% alcohol. Ten percent of this wine was made with their own grapes. The wine offered tropical fruit and some citrus notes. The wine was medium/full-bodied. The wine retails for $32.
Inspirado 2010 is a blended wine. Each year the blend changes although the base is always Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2010 blend included Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot. The wine was an opaque, dark ruby color with 14.2% alcohol. The wine offered notes of blackberries, cassis and leather. Full-bodied, the wine had medium/bold tannins. The wine retails for $68.
Syrah 2010 Napa Valley Page Nord Vineyard was an opaque dark ruby/black color with 15.6% alcohol. The wine offered dark fruit especially plum notes. With bold tannins the wine was full-bodied. The retail price is $50. Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Napa Valley is the winery’s flagship wine. It was produced with the addition of a bit of Malbec. The color was an opaque, dark ruby/black. The wine offered notes of blackberry, cassis, leather and spice. The wine had bold tannins and was full-bodied. The wine retails for $110.
Keever Vineyards provides wine lovers with a very enjoyable visit including wine tastings and a winery tour.
Keever Vineyards and Winery
26 Vineyard View Drive
Napa, California 94558
GPS: N38º 23.051’ W122º 21.873’
Article written September 2014
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