The Patland Blog
When we started out on this wine-filled journey, we made it our top priority to produce wine of the highest possible quality. Indeed, it has always been our intention to create wines that exemplify the rich, beautiful, and harmonious terroir of the Napa Valley. The fruit from the world-renowned Stagecoach Vineyards continues to meet these expectations, and the bottled result speaks volumes to the exceptional quality of the fruit grown from this “extreme terroir.” Year after year, we look for the best fruit to source for our handcrafted wines, and it seems that we can never say no to the unparalleled quality that is Stagecoach Vineyard fruit. Want to know what makes this vineyard so special? Rather than tell you, we’ll show you. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words!
Although we can show and tell you about Stagecoach Vineyard all day long, the only way to truly grasp the many facets of the terroir is through the wines that the fruit produces. Our current wine portfolio offers eight wines made from its fruit:
So, whether you’ve already fallen in love with these handcrafted wines or you are now eager to give them a try, we encourage you to head over to our online Wine Shop to stock up on our highly sought after Stagecoach Vineyard wines.
Have you been looking for a wine club to join but can’t seem to find one that fits all of your wine desires? If so, you’ve come to the right place. With so many choices out there, it can be difficult to find the right one, which is why we want to make the decision process easier for you. Keep reading if you’re ready to end the search and join a wine club that will lead you on an unforgettable journey in all things wine, life, love, and family.
#1: Fully Customizable Wine Shipments
There are many things in life that we can’t control, but personal wine shipments should not be one of them. We understand that each of our wine club members has unique preferences that go beyond the average choices of red, white, or a little of both. Maybe you enjoyed our Pinot Noir but fell in love with our Cabernet Sauvignon. Maybe you’re planning a weekend getaway and are looking for more sparkling wine. Whatever it may be, our fully customizable wine shipments allow you to mix and match your favorite Patland wines for a wine shipment that will have you anxiously awaiting its arrival.
#2: Complimentary Tastings for Up to Four Guests
We believe in treating our club members like family. As a Patland wine club member, we welcome you to our tasting experience with open arms. We encourage you to visit us for tastings often to ensure that you are truly immersing yourself in the Patland experience. This allows you to continuously taste our new releases and catch up on the latest in the Patland journey. We also realize that wine and life are best when shared. With that, we offer not one, two, or even three complimentary tastings, but four. Time to bask in the beauty of the Napa Valley with friends and family!
#3 Referral Program Rewards
We’re always trying to find ways to show our appreciation, and this program is no exception. We understand how valuable it is when our wine club members tell their friends and family to join our club. It means that you’re enjoying the experience so much that you can’t help but share it with others. Knowing this brings us so much joy that we can’t help but pass this joy right back to you in the form of an e-gift certificate. That’s right, all you have to do is refer someone to our wine club, and if they sign up, you’ll receive $100 from us to use on all of our current release Patland wines. Share the love and we’ll share the wine!
Did we just help you find the perfect wine club? We sure hope so! Head over to our wine club page to sign up. We can’t wait to welcome you on this wonderful journey with us.
Labor Day is right around the corner, and we know you’re dreaming about the delicious barbecue that you’ll soon be enjoying with family and friends for that end-of-summer hurrah. Let’s just say, we’re right there with you! Since we’re in the business of wine, we’re also dreaming about the perfect red wine to pair with those dishes. So, If you’re planning on passing up the cold beer and you’ve had your share of summer whites and Rosés, this read is just for you. Below is a list of our top three favorite Patland red wine and barbecue food pairings.
Pro-Tip - Don’t read if you’re hungry!
2016 Patland Syrah Paired with Swiss Mushroom Burgers
We’re starting with an All-American barbecue classic, because who doesn’t love a good burger recipe? Especially when it’s prepared just right and with ingredients that perfectly complement our 2016 Syrah. This vintage bursts with umami flavors. Do you know what else is full of umami flavors? Mushrooms! The grilled mushroom and onion toppings on this burger recipe balance out the flavors in the wine, ultimately creating a fruitier flavor. Another reason why this pairing is so delightful - the fat content from the meat makes high-tannin wines, like our Syrah, taste smoother. Maybe high fat isn’t so scary after all, in moderation of course. The same can be said for red wine, but who’s keeping track?
2016 Patland "Select Barrel Reserve" Malbec Paired with Grilled Steak Kebabs
If a burger doesn’t fit the style of your Labor Day party and you’re looking for “finger food” dishes, this pairing is for you. We love kebabs for their versatility and appeal to a larger group of people. Vegetarians and meat-lovers alike can enjoy grilled kebabs, depending on the additions, from onions to zucchini to pineapple and more. In the case of our 2016 “Select Barrel Reserve” Malbec, we’re going with a more meaty approach. Grilled steak (especially skirt, flank, and sirloin cuts) and Malbec were destined for each other from the start. Malbec has softer tannins compared to some of its red counterparts, which means it goes well with these leaner cuts of meat. Add some colorful bell peppers and red onion and you’ve got yourself a summer barbeque crowd-pleaser.
2017 Patland Pinot Noir Paired with Grilled Chicken Salad
If you’re looking for something a little lighter and brighter than what we’ve mentioned above, take note! Typically chilled white wines, such as Chardonnay, pair well with chicken dishes. But, we’ve found that our 2017 Burgundian style Pinot Noir with aromas of earth and black pepper matches well with the smoky flavors that come from a chicken breast that’s been grilled on a barbecue. The beauty of this pairing is that you can barbecue the chicken the night before, chill it overnight, then add it to a salad full of colorful veggies. It’s an easy recipe that will leave you with plenty of time to enjoy that well-deserved get together with family and friends.
Can’t wait for Labor Day to try these pairings out for yourself? Don’t! Sure, they’ll be perfect for the upcoming three-day weekend, but tonight works, too. Cheers and happy grilling!
Ah yes, the Napa Valley... Rolling vineyards sprawled out across the valley floor and world-class wineries scattered from Calistoga to Los Carneros. The valley is home to some of the best wines in the world, inspiring people from all over to come, savor and explore this beautiful region. With so many great things to do and see though, planning your trip to wine country can be a little overwhelming. So we took care of some of the planning for you! Here is what we consider to be the perfect day spent in Napa Valley.
Morning Glory at the Archer Hotel
First of all, you’re going to want to sleep in a bit. After all, you’re on vacation! What better place to snuggle up and outwait the sunrise than the Archer Hotel? Located right in the heart of Downtown Napa, the Archer is the crown jewel of First Street. With every amenity in the book, this is the perfect place to get pampered. Spend some quality time at the spa, lounge by the water deck, or have a cocktail at the Sky & Vine Rooftop Bar. This is the ideal place to start your wine country adventure.
Bonus: It just so happens that we are an official partner of the Archer Hotel, which means that Patland Club Members receive discounted rates! If you need to pause right now to set up your reservation, we totally understand.
Fuel up at ABC Bakery
Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and that’s especially true when you’re about to spend your afternoon out wine tasting. The good news is that you’re within walking distance of an incredible, local’s favorite breakfast spot. ABC Bakery is home to delicious pastries, dishes, and desserts of all kinds. One dish that they are particularly well-known for is their Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, but one of our favorite guilty pleasures is their German Chocolate Cupcake. Regardless of what you choose to fuel up on, there’s a little something for everyone. We promise you won’t be disappointed, and you’ll be ready to hit the ground running straight to The Caves at Soda Canyon.
Afternoon Delight at The Caves at Soda Canyon
After a relaxing Napa Valley morning, head over to The Caves at Soda Canyon and taste some wine with us! Your visit will be filled with exciting twists and turns—and we don’t mean the metaphorical kind. Quite literally, you'll be guided through 18,000 square feet of underground wine cave, all whilst tasting through our luxurious portfolio of Patland Estate Vineyards wines. You’ll learn all about our family’s journey and come to understand just what makes our wines so unique!
Of course, we won’t keep you in the cave the whole time! Just a short ride up and around the caves unveils one of the most breathtaking views Napa Valley has to offer. It’s the perfect spot for an aspiring wino to get oriented with Napa’s layout, and it makes for a pretty darn good photo-op too. If you thought it was hard getting out of bed at the Archer, just try walking away from this view with a glass of wine in hand. Yeah, it’s going to be hard, but that just means you’ll have to come back!
Evening Stroll in the Oxbow Public Market
Photo from donapa.com
After a full afternoon of wine tasting, you may want to head back to your room for a quick power nap! Once you’ve recharged, we recommend that you head over to the Oxbow District and take a stroll through the Oxbow Public Market. It is a wonderful community gathering place where you will find a scenic outdoor deck with seating along the Napa River, a diverse mixture of local food vendors, artisan cafes and an organic produce outlet for local farms. With so many amazing shops, you never know what will catch your eye. The buzz and lively nature of the market will be the perfect energy boost to get you ready for your delicious steak dinner ahead.
Nighttime Indulgence at Cordeiro's Steakhouse
Photo from tripadvisor.com
Although there are several steakhouses to choose from in Downtown Napa, going the extra distance for this one is well worth it. Cordeiro’s Steakhouse is a restaurant rooted in tradition. It boasts of class and romance, and they insist on using only the highest quality of ingredients. This is evident in every dish they offer, and obvious from the moment you take that first bite. It’s one of our favorite restaurants in the valley, and it’s where we like to go to pop the cork on life’s special moments. We can’t think of a better place to wrap up your perfect day in wine country!
Bonus: Just in case you’re already missing the taste of Patland wine, they carry our now very limited 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon. Whether you order a ribeye or a filet mignon, this wine will make your meal!
That’s a Wrap!
Now that we’ve relieved the pressure of planning out your day in wine country, you have nothing left to do but book your trip and mark your calendar. To schedule a visit with us, please call 888.539.4717 ext. 1 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to seeing you soon! Cheers!
Jay Buoncristiani is one of the great talents in the winemaking world. We have been extremely fortunate to collaborate with him and watch him thrive as he develops a wine portfolio that truly speaks for itself. We also know that there is more to Jay beyond fantastic wine, and we feel compelled to share his story. Read below for an exclusive interview with our very own winemaker, the talented Jay Buoncristiani.
How did you get started in the wine business?
I was born with wine in my blood. From the day I could walk, I was out in the vineyards with my brothers helping our dad with his intense home winemaking endeavor. I also grew up in Napa, so the aromas of fermentation in the fall and the smell of fresh-cut canes during pruning season are deeply embedded in my childhood memories. These memories were all formed from having that hands-on experience with my father and brothers. The winegrowing and winemaking cycle was a normal part of my everyday life, so it felt like a natural progression to return to Napa after earning a degree in Combined Sciences at Santa Clara University. I started out at The Hess Collection Winery in 1996 where I fell in love with wine and rekindled my appreciation for the Napa Valley. Within only a few years in the business, I co-founded the Buoncristiani Family Winery in 1999 and planted and managed vineyard blocks. Both the early success of the family label and an accelerated move through the ranks at Hess, from Enologist to Winemaker, solidified my career as a winemaker. The inherent fusion of art and science in winemaking has helped grow my passion for the industry and the beautiful process of winemaking itself. In 2005, I also started to consult as a winemaker to help other families produce successful wines. Fortunately for me, I met the Patlands in 2007 and we have been making wine together ever since!
What is one of your favorite varietals to work with and why?
I enjoy working with many varietals, so it's hard to pin down a favorite. However, if I have to choose one right now, I’d say Malbec is among the faves. My first hands-on experience with Napa Malbec dates back to vintage 1999. Once I learned of the blending potential and stand-alone nature of this variety, I knew that this varietal had great potential, specifically in the Napa Valley. When allowed to hang to ultra ripeness, this varietal yields amazing wines full of depth, color, concentration and what I call ‘yum factor.’ Malbec can be made into a stand-alone wine of amazing quality, and I’ve been doing it this way since 2005, under my Buoncristiani label and the Patland label. My favorite attribute of Malbec is its blending versatility—I always utilize the Malbecs I make from vintage to vintage to blend into the Patland Cabernet Sauvignon and Proprietary Reds. It has become a paramount blending component every year with the Patland wines. In 2008, I prompted the grafting of Malbec for the steep terraces of the Patland Estate, and the wines we have been producing from these vines are tremendous!
In the world of wine, who do you most admire and why? Who has influenced you the most?
Oh wow, that’s a tough question! There are so many people that I admire in the wine industry, and I remain quite humble to be fortunate enough to be a successful winemaker in this amazing industry. I’d have to say that I wouldn’t even be a winemaker if it weren’t for my Dad. His passion for home winemaking and his insight to have his four sons help out in the vineyard–and in the whole winemaking process–really laid the groundwork and foundation for the career path I ended up choosing. From the beginning of my career up until now, he has definitely been the most influential person. A couple more people come to mind though! I first learned the art of blending with Randle Johnson while I was at Hess. I was then lucky enough to work closely with Dave Guffy, who taught me patience for ripening the grapes, letting them hang, and then making full throttle yet balanced wines from those ultra-ripe grapes.
What's one of the hardest parts of winemaking?
What’s the most challenging part of the harvest season?
After 23 harvests in Napa Valley, the harvest season or “crush” has become second nature to me. At this point, harvest is just a part of me and a given part of my annual cycle, so maybe the better question is what is the most stressful part of the harvest season? It turns out that one of the most stressful parts of the harvest is also one of the most rewarding, and that is deciding exactly when the optimum time to pick is. This never comes easy, and is always compounded with many factors thrown my way like mother nature curve balls, growers chomping at the bit, tank space, specific block variations that often lead to multiple harvests of each individual block, picking just the south side of the row or the upper portion of a hillside block, and so on. These decisions become a combination of art, science, experience, and sometimes a touch of luck with late season weather predictions. The harvest timing decisions are so important to the final quality of the wine, so making these decisions can be quite stressful. Ultimately though, as stressful as these decisions may be, the resulting wines are always so rewarding and supportive of the decisions made.
Do you have a favorite Patland wine and vintage that you've made?
I love them all! This is like asking a parent who their favorite child is. It’s not a fair question, nor is there a reasonable answer unless you only have one child. I’m so thrilled with all of the wines and vintages, so it’s probably better to let the Patlands and the consumers decide this one for themselves. However, the 2007 vintage is our very first vintage so it is naturally quite special to me. It’s also the inaugural release and continues to improve with age. More than 10 years later, it tastes amazing, and I’m stoked to continue to taste this wine into the next 20 years. Special note: we just celebrated the Patland 10th Anniversary bottling with the 2017 wines and celebrated this milestone with special labeling of the red wines from the vintage. As a final note, the 2010 vintage is near and dear to me for all projects because it is the year that my son, John Thor, was born!
What is the most rewarding thing about your job?
When opening up both new and old vintages of wine, it is so rewarding to share smiles and gratitude over a glass with the Patlands, friends, colleagues, and loyal customers. It’s such a pleasure to witness how our collaboration can enhance life and bring so much enjoyment to others. It’s also incredibly rewarding to work with families, the winery community, the vineyards workers, and the hospitality team. Being able to enjoy the fruits of your labor, derived from the fusion of art and science, all in the form of wine, I mean, c'mon! Can it get any better than pulling some corks and drinking wine that we made together? I don’t think so!
Just for fun... What’s your spirit animal?
It’s definitely the Lion because I’m a Leo.
If you are interested in learning more about Patland Estate Vineyards, visit us for our wine tasting experience at The Caves at Soda Canyon. You’ll be able to taste the fruits of Jay’s labor and fully understand why we feel so fortunate to be able to collaborate with him to create our portfolio of luxurious wines.
We have a lot to celebrate right about now! First, we have officially bottled and released our first ever Patland sparkling wine! Some of you may have already gotten wind of this project being in the works, but not many people know what inspired us to make this wine…
We have a new motto in our family. “Bubbles Save Lives.” This harkens back to the fires of late 2017. The day those fires began, Henry and Olga Patland went to meet some friends on a boat to watch the Blue Angels. When they arrived at the boat, they realized they were the first ones there. Henry called his friends and they told him, “We’re running a bit late, but go ahead and get the party started. There’s bubbles in the mini-fridge.” Well sparkling wine is just about Olga’s favorite thing to drink in the world, so she did just as she was told.
That evening Henry and Olga were meant to join their friends for dinner, but Olga—having slightly overindulged—told Henry, “Unless you want me to embarrass you at dinner tonight, take me home so I can take a nap.”
Instead of driving to their home in Los Gatos, they drove up to Napa to visit their son Michael who was living at the family’s estate. Olga immediately went to take a nap, and Henry went to see if he could convince Michael to join him for dinner. Michael said he would go if Olga came too, and luckily it’s difficult for a mother to reject a son’s request, so they all went out to dinner together. On the drive home afterward is when they first saw the fire burning down the ridgeline. Upon reflecting on this night later on, they realized that if Olga had not drank just a little too much sparkling, at least one of them may not still be here.
So to celebrate life and the perseverance of those that continue to endure, we as a family decided to make a sparkling wine that would commemorate that night. We hope that when you drink it, you too drink to celebrate all the blessings in your life—big or small.
As an avid car enthusiast and collector, our founder Henry Patland has been a longtime member of the Ferrari Owner's Group (FOG). Every year the organization puts on a rally which involves a gala and auction. All the money that is raised at these events goes directly to benefiting Make-A-Wish Foundation. This year, Henry and Olga donated a Jeroboam of 2013 "Select Barrel Reserve" Cabernet Sauvignon that was inscribed by their son Michael. The inscription tells the story of the family's experience during the 2017 North Bay Fires. It also so happens that this bottle is one of the few that survived that fire, nestled away safely in the back of the cave at the Patland estate. Here is a brief look at Henry Patland speaking about this unique bottle at the event.
As many of you know, devastating fires continue to sweep their way through our precious wine country. The experience has been absolutely surreal. Countless times now I’ve heard people liken this tragedy to living in a nightmare, constantly praying that someone will come and wake them up. Unfortunately, we can’t know when that will be. With fierce winds and low humidity spurring it on, this fire has grown into one of California’s worst natural disasters in recent history.
Selfless firefighters, brave police officers, and caring volunteers are working tirelessly through the days and nights to help those who have been displaced and lost everything. I encourage all of you to do your part in the matter of immediate relief, but I’m writing this for two separate reasons. Too much gossip and fake news has been circulated in the midst of all this—which is no surprise given the challenges in communication people are currently facing. So I will document the Patland family’s experience from start to finish. Straight from the horses mouth.
On Sunday, October 8th, Natalie and I were returning to Napa from a friend’s housewarming party in Sunnyvale. We arrived at the gate to our home on Soda Canyon Road, and just before heading through, Natalie said, “You know, before we move next weekend, I want to drive to the end of Soda Canyon Road just once. I want to see the rest of it.” I turned the car around and we set off into the hills. We were shocked by all the beauty and green foliage that had neighbored us for so long. We never really took the time to go and see it.
As fate would have it, that night everything would change. Natalie was working her shift at Palisades Saloon, and I had joined my parents for dinner at Eiko’s. Just after ten o’clock, we were returning home when we saw a glowing light atop the mountains to the East. The entire ridge that paralleled Silverado Trail was ablaze. Quickly we realized how close that fire was to the Patland Estate, and we rushed to make it back. Not thinking clearly, and hoping for just enough time to salvage something! A third of the way up Soda Canyon, a tree had fallen across the road and there was no way of getting around. We had no choice but to turn back. My dad pulled over in the nearest parking lot, and we watched. In all our shock and the chaos that was breaking out around us, there was nothing more we could think to do but watch.
Minutes later, it occurred to me to call our neighbor and notify him of what was happening. There was no warning of the fire, so there was little time for him to evacuate. When he finally did escape safely, he shared with us a video of the flaming tunnel through which he had to drive. We are so grateful he was able to make it out alright, and that we were already safely on the sidelines. Again, our hearts go out to those that were less fortunate.
Next, my dad pulled up the security feed from the estate on his iPhone. It was like a horror movie—terrifying, but unyielding of your attention. We watched the flames climb up the driveway. We then saw them envelop the grape vines and foliage that adorned the front of the estate. Soon enough, the camera feed gave out, and that was it.
My parents returned to their home in Los Gatos to recoup. Natalie and I drove to her parent’s farm--Impossible Acres--in Davis and spent the night there. Several days ensued of stress, exhaustion, and confusion. Without knowing for absolute certain, we were fairly sure that everything had been lost. One thing after another would remind us of the things we used to own. For Natalie, the worst part was not knowing. We were stuck in limbo unable to even think about the next steps we needed to take because we simply didn’t know what was left. I refused to return to Napa for several days because of the hazardous air conditions, and the constant news of growing fire threats.
On Wednesday, Natalie and I finally returned to Napa and met with police officers at the Knob Hill blockade. They told us that they had stopped taking residents past the road blocks two hours ago, because they needed all available personnel to help evacuate Calistoga. We left Napa again to spend the night with friends in Sacramento, and returned early in the morning to see if they were conducting police escorts once again.
We left our backpacks and respirators in the car, thinking we would first go and ask for a status report. However, we got lucky and an officer was available to take us back to Soda Canyon just as we stepped up. There was no way we were going to risk this chance, so we got in the police car and left.
As we drove through Soda Canyon, we were shocked by the level of destruction. Nothing to see out the window but chimneys and smoldering car husks. Downed power lines and smoking tree trunks littered the road. Every few miles a team of firefighters was working to clear and make safe a new area. The drive to our home had never felt so long. It had never looked so different.
Once we arrived at our gate, we saw that our bridge had also been burned. Only it’s metal skeleton remained, and no car was going to cross it. We pleaded for the officer to let us hike up to the estate. She kindly agreed to escort us up, although she had no idea of the trek she had just signed up for. We walked for about a mile, trying our best not to breathe too deeply. The smoke was thick, and all around us was scorched dirt and melted street reflectors. Finally, we made the turn and could look up to see Terra Del Cuore—the Patland Estate. For a second, we thought it had survived, and then we realized that we were seeing blue sky through the windows of the upper floor.
As we continued, we saw our neighbor's home had been reduced to ash, and we could only hope to find something better when we arrived at ours. We found our gate was left open, and power lines hung from it, strewn all across the gravel roadway. As we carefully stepped past, the first miracle was that my own and my mom’s cars had survived! Parked on the gravel in the center of the property, they were covered in ash, but otherwise entirely untouched. When we looked left though, we saw that the Caretaker’s House—where Natalie and I lived—was not as lucky. The three story building had collapsed on itself, taking with it three of my father’s most treasured cars, his Ford GT, Ferrari 16M, and Ferrari Speciale.
We had little time at the estate, since there were still many others waiting for their chance to return home. There was no time to mourn or to dig; we simply documented with our phone cameras and moved on. The second miracle was that the Guest House was entirely safe! It’s almost as if it were inside a bubble the entire time. As we continued up though, we then discovered what was left of the Main House. The stone walls that made it’s foundation still stood, but everything else was gone. The bedroom, garage, and even the floor of the second story had burned. The pool was black with dirt and ash, and the view we’d all come to love was now overtaken with plumes of black smoke.
Finally, the third miracle was that the wine cellar and all its contents seemed to survive. No leaking bottles and no pushed out corks. Thank God for wine caves!
We profusely thanked our police escort, and returned to our car. A wave of relief overtook us. Finally knowing, and even finding a few things that survived was heartwarming. In times like these, all you can do is plan for the worst, and hope for the best.
So that is the first reason I’m writing. I wanted to clarify our story. The next question is: Where do we go from here? I’ve said this many times in the past week. Our story is only just beginning. We have many more chapters to write. We will rebuild, and we will come out better and stronger from it. We will link arms with our neighbors and do what we can to help those that were less fortunate than us. We hope you will help us.
This brings me to the second reason for writing this. I am overwhelmed by the love and support that has been offered to my family and my community. Everyone is asking how they can help, and I’ve been thinking a lot about that. The focus now is on immediate relief and safety—as it should be! But there will be long term repercussions of this tragedy, and that is where I feel all of you can help. The local economy of our wine country relies on tourism, the production and sale of wine. We are already tallying our losses, and for many the future is beginning to look grim. Wineries were burned down, and that means a lot of people without jobs. Tour services and drivers are seeing cancellations left and right. Future vintages have been compromised. There is so much destruction that is being left in the wake of these fires, but at the end of the day, our economy relies on you. Wineries of all sizes and the people they employ are all relying on you now. If you stop coming to Napa, stop hiring drivers, stop purchasing wine, then this is something many people may not recover from.
Just yesterday, after returning from the wreckage of our estate, Natalie and I went into Knob Hill to get some water. I ran into one of our favorite Tour Driver partners, and she was so happy to see that we were okay. Within minutes though, she was in tears. Her company had about three groups booked per day until the end of November, and all of them had cancelled. This women’s livelihood is now in jeopardy.
So I’ll ask you point blank, don’t abandon the Napa Valley. We will recover faster than you think. Hire tour drivers. Book winery tours. Eat at your favorite restaurants. Buy your favorite wine. Together we'll get through this.
Millions of tourists take in the idyllic splendor of Napa Valley each year. And seldom is the visitor who does not fantasize about becoming a winery owner. Yet the reality is stark. As the local joke, oft repeated has it: “If you want to make a million in the wine business, start out with three.”
When Henry and Olga Patland visited Napa, they too fell in love with the region and gradually developed a determination to pursue their passion for wine.
Henry Patland’s family (two grandmothers, his parents, a sister, and himself) emigrated from Ukraine in 1978. They arrived in California in 1979, when he was just 12 years old. Five years later, he entered UC Santa Cruz, where he studied computer engineering and met his future business partner, Wade Ogle. Together, they would build an innovative high-tech business, Integral Solutions. The success of that company would ultimately finance Henry’s other passion, wine.
Olga’s family also emigrated from Ukraine, and she and Henry met in college, where she had pursued degrees in communications and marketing. They married in 1989. In the late 1990s, with the stresses and demands of starting a business and a family in tandem, the only vacations Olga and Henry could afford were the day visits to nearby Napa Valley. They quickly learned to appreciate great wine, but did not have enough funds to acquire it. They frequented small vineyards and artisanal, “mom and pop” wineries; the brands which were completely hands-on. Over the years, they watched the evolution and the success of such businesses. They were intrigued, inspired and infatuated, and they began to dream of owning their own winery.
Then, in 2007, Henry received an offer to buy his company. By fateful coincidence, during that time, he and Olga also discovered a Soda Canyon vineyard, “Terra del Cuore” (Italian for “Land of the Heart”) True to its name, it captured their hearts. It was, for them, the perfect property.
Atop a terraced mesa, on 36 acres at 1600 ft. elevation sits a troika of breathtaking, Mediterranean-style houses. The expansive views stretch as far as San Pablo Bay and Mt. Diablo. The grounds include fruit (such as pomegranate) and olive trees, cypresses, and oleander. Flowerbeds and vines further enhance the landscape. The property held massive untapped potential.
However, the offer to buy Integral Solutions fell through. Undaunted, the couple was so captivated by the site that they knew that there was no turning back. They acquired Terra del Cuore from Jack Daniels, founder of Wilson-Daniels, who was relocating to Cabo San Lucas.
Their first task at hand was hiring a winemaker who understood their vision and the challenges at hand. Henry sat down with their vineyard manager, Javier Renteria, and told him that he was looking for a winemaker. Javier asked what kind of wine Henry wanted to produce. His answer was, “bold, complex, rich, layered, delicious, smooth, balanced, Napa Valley-style wine.”
“I know the right guy for you!” Renteria responded. That guy was Jay Buoncristiani, previously the head winemaker at The Hess Collection.
So, in 2007, Patland Estate Vineyards was born. At the time, the property was planted to international varietals, such as Merlot, Petite Syrah and Sangiovese. The original estate blends, crafted in 2007, were made with those grapes. The following year, the coincidence of a trip to South America and their winemaker’s recommendation to convert the winery’s acreage from these varietals to Malbec led to a replanting effort.
Today, 100 percent of Patland’s boutique estate bottlings are made from Malbec. Initially they planned to only make red wine. They wanted to produce the fine wines their younger selves had wanted to drink, but could not afford. However, today they also produce Chardonnay, Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc from grapes sourced from several vineyards in Napa.
At the same time, the estate’s branding began to take shape. Their eldest son, Michael, created labels inspired by paintings the family acquired from a Bay Area artist who was originally from Croatia. Then a trip to Jerusalem yielded a momentous find, a silver coin that dated to 67 C.E. and had the image of a pomegranate on one side. Their Napa property had come planted with a number of pomegranates, which reminded Henry of Ukraine. Olga decided that the fruit would become a central symbol in their wine packaging. Now, the image of the coin is embossed on the front label of all their wines.
Many wineries strive to create highly coveted, small production, hard-to-find wines that sell direct to consumers. The Patlands currently produce around 2500 cases per year and plan to cap production at 5000, which makes for adequate scale, yet keeps the operation small enough to hand-craft the wines. In his own words:
Patland Estate Vineyards started as a labor of love. My wife and I found ourselves with the amazing opportunity to start making wine, and we were determined to make the best wine we could. While we hoped everyone else would enjoy Patland wines, our highest priority was to make wines that we ourselves would be proud to drink. Since we began, I’ve been pleased to see great interest and involvement from my children. As a result, what began as a hobby has now transformed into a real family business. We hope that the future will involve many more generations of the Patland family, and that soon the name will sit among the Napa Valley greats.
Their son Michael has taken an active and avid interest in the business, designing an exceptional visitor experience. Customers can taste in the Caves at Soda Canyon, where the wine is actually produced. Or they can select a tasting at the Patland Estate – Terra Del Cuore. Regardless, the setting is always gorgeous. The wines are delicious and selected based upon the guests’ tastes and the season. They strive to add a “personal touch.”
But, in the end, it is all about the wine. And Patland Estate Vineyards has received numerous awards and excellent industry recognition, attracting the attention of savvy wine aficionados. Their limited production, handcrafted wines, are beautifully made, true to their varietal character. The couple’s persistence and passion have paid off.