Etude Wines Hits the High Note With a winemaking philosophy that great wine is grown, not made, Etude honors the land it cultivates through its farming and environmental practices. BY TOURING & TASTING
Photos courtesy of Etude Wines
Winemaker Jon Priest, Associate Winemaker Rob Fischer and Viticulturalist Franci Ashton.
“ Superior grape growing diminishes the need for intervention by the winemaker, resulting in wine that is grown, not made.”
Aptly named "Etude" after the classical music term for a focused study or technical exercise to perfect technique, Etude Wines is dedicated to mastering the craft of winegrowing. The winery was founded more than 30 years ago on the belief that great wines are grown and not made. This philosophy continues today with Winemaker Jon Priest and Associate Winemaker Rob Fischer.
"Etude was founded on the philosophy that winemaking begins in the vineyard long before the harvest, and that superior grape growing diminishes the need for intervention by the winemaker, resulting in wine that is grown, not made," Jon says. "This remains our approach today as we continue to build the Etude legacy."
Etude’s estate vineyards are located in the far northwest corner of the Carneros appellation. Unlike much of Carneros, which is, for the most part, composed of riverbed and bay bottom clay soils, Etude’s vineyard soils possess several variations of well-drained, rocky upland soil of volcanic origin. The vineyards are planted to conform to the various soil types and changing contours of topography. The Etude team is dedicated to sustainable farming practices and maintaining perfect harmony with their surrounding environment. In fact, Etude’s environmentally friendly land practices have earned the winery certification in California’s Fish Friendly Farming program. The winery is also a Napa Green Certified Winery, affirming its commitment to conserving water and energy, reducing waste, and preventing pollution.
Visitors to the tasting room are delighted with samples of the winery’s renowned Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, along with other varietals. Appointments are made in advance for seated Reserve tastings of five top tier wines on Monday through Thursday, and wine and food tastings of five wines with savory bites on Friday through Sunday.
As with music, dedicated practice and a passion for perfection has its rewards: in the masterful wines of Etude.
What to Buy ’10 Heirloom Pinot Noir - $90
Raspberry, violet, black tea, spice, generous fruit
’09 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - $85
Warm red cherry, boysenberry, plum, cassis, notes of black licorice, graphite
Famous for award-winning Pinot Noir, plus exquisite Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley.