1. SET IN STONE
Founded in 1889 by German immigrant John Henry Fisher, the Mayacamas winery was built with stones collected from the mountain-top estate. This landmark winery showcased its resilience when the 2017 bushfire devastated much of the estate buildings, yet left the stone structure untouched.
2. FROM FISHER TO FELINES
Though initially known as Fisher and Sons, the winery was renamed Mayacamas in 1941 by Jack and Mary Taylor. The name, derived from the indigenous Wappo language, translates to “the howl of the mountain lion,” a tribute echoed in the twin lions nestled within their logo.
3. SECRETS OF PROHIBITION
Whispered tales tell of the winery's discreet operations during the Prohibition era. Mayacamas’s remote cellars reputedly produced both bootleg wine and grappa, alongside legally sanctioned communion wine for the church.
4. RISING TO THE OCCASION
The 1971 Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon showcased its prowess in the iconic Judgment of Paris Tasting in 1976. Its impressive showing in subsequent tastings revealed its ageing potential and prowess, even outshining renowned French wines.
5. ALTITUDE'S ADVANTAGE
Mayacamas' vineyards sprawl across some of the most challenging yet rewarding Napa's hill-top terrains. This elevated location gifts the estate with a unique terroir characterised by the volcanic soils of Mount Veeder, a by-product of ancient eruptions, intermixed with patches of fossilised seabed.
6. DEFYING THE NORM
Eschewing the popular trend of opulent, oak-driven Cabernets, Mayacamas adopts practices like cement fermentation and ageing in venerable oak foudres, showcasing a pure, terroir-driven style.
7. STELLAR STEWARDSHIP
The 2013 acquisition by Charles Banks and Jay Schottenstein ushered in a new era for Mayacamas. They brought on board two significant industry names, Andy Erickson and Phil Coturri. Erickson, a winemaking maestro, boasts an enviable résumé, having worked with iconic Napa Valley brands such as Harlan, Staglin, and Screaming Eagle. Phil Coturri, on the other hand, is revered for his expertise in viticulture. Known as the organic farming guru of the region, Coturri has been instrumental in steering the estate towards sustainable and organic viticultural practices.
8. Celebrity Endorsement
NBA luminary LeBron James is among the winery’s ardent admirers. He even celebrated his 33rd birthday at Mayacamas, bringing along his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates for the occasion.
9. Resilient Roots
In 2017, the devastating California wildfires approached Mayacamas, causing significant damage. However, the vineyards and the original 1889 winery emerged largely unscathed.
10. A PICKLE MERCHANT'S DREAM
Initially built in 1889, Mayacamas was the vision of JH Fisher, a German immigrant who made his mark in San Francisco as a pickle merchant.
This post was inspired by insights found on Vinepair.com - 11 Things You Should Know About Mayacamas Vineyards