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Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars On Track to Make Historic FAY & S.L.V. Vineyards Certified Organic in 2024

Napa Valley, CA

Vineyards Became Certified Transitional on November 15, 2022

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars has just completed the first year of a 3-Year Organic Certification for the historic FAY and S.L.V. estate vineyards, which encompass 114 acres. The estate vineyards are on track to be certified organic in 2024. FAY and S.L.V. became certified transitional by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) on November 15th.

The winery’s Danika Ranch in the Oak Knoll District will also be certified organic in January 2025.

The team leading the organic certification efforts at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars consists of Kirk Grace (Vineyard Director), Guillermo Perez (Vineyard Manager) and Mitch Williamson (Viticulturist).

“Our impact on the environment doesn’t stop at the fence line,” says Kirk Grace, Vineyard Director at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. “What we do in our vineyards has impact downstream. We have to be good neighbors and good stewards of the land and we want to do the right thing for our grapes, our workers, our consumers, and the planet.”

To achieve organic certification, the focus in the vineyards is on soil health and integrated pest management while ensuring that every material used in the vineyard is recorded and approved. When it comes to soil health, vineyard practices include sheep grazing, cover crops, improving soil microbiology, and the elimination of herbicides. For integrated pest management we use owl and blue bird boxes, bio fungicides, pheromone disruption, and the release of beneficial insects.

Sustainability has always been a core focus at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and Vineyard Director Kirk Grace has led the efforts since he joined the winery in 2006. The FAY, S.L.V. and Danika Ranch estate vineyards have been Fish Friendly Farming (FFF) certified since 2010, the same year that the winery first received “Napa Green Winery” certification. The winery was recertified Napa Green in 2020. All of the estate vineyards are also certified by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA).

The team at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars believes in the generational importance of preserving the historic FAY and S.L.V. vineyards for future generations and that becoming certified organic will enhance fruit quality, ultimately leading to greater elegance and enhanced fruit characteristics in the wines.

“We are excited to be on the path to organic certification,” said Winemaker Marcus Notaro. “My team and I work hard every day to make the highest quality wines possible for our fans to enjoy. It’s a win for everyone that we can preserve and protect these special vineyards for the future while enhancing fruit quality and bringing more complexity and length to our wines.”

The FAY and S.L.V. estate vineyards are among the most historic in Napa Valley.

The FAY vineyard is where the story of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars began. Established by pioneering grape grower Nathan Fay in 1961, it was the first planting of Cabernet Sauvignon in what is now the Stags Leap District. The 66-acre vineyard is planted primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon with 1.5 acres of Cabernet Franc. In November of 2021, the winery purchased the Turnbull Vineyard, a 12-acre vineyard immediately adjacent to FAY that is also planted to Cabernet Sauvignon.

S.L.V., also known as Stag’s Leap Vineyards, is the winery’s first vineyard. Planted in 1970, this vineyard achieved international fame when three-year-old vines from the 1973 harvest produced a wine that triumphed over some of France’s greatest Bordeaux in a blind tasting among French wine experts in Paris. The tasting, known today as the 1976 “Judgment of Paris,” fundamentally transformed how California wines were viewed worldwide and the stunning victory launched Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars into the ranks of the world’s most noteworthy Cabernet Sauvignon producers. S.L.V. encompasses roughly 35 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and 1.5 acres of Cabernet Franc.

The story of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is now legendary. Founded in 1970, the winery was thrust into the spotlight when a bottle of the 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Stag’s Leap Vineyard won the now-famous 1976 Paris Tasting, besting some of France’s greatest wines. The historic tasting, which has become known as the Judgment of Paris, fundamentally transformed how California wines were viewed worldwide. And the stunning victory over renowned wines of Bordeaux launched Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars into the ranks of the world’s most noteworthy Cabernet Sauvignon producers. Over the years, the wines of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars have become some of the most highly regarded and collected wines worldwide.