ADD SPARKLE TO ANY OCCASION
Schramsberg’s founders, Jack and Jamie Davies were determined to seek out a simpler, more meaningful life. In 1965, after a yearlong search, they discovered a run-down winery on the mountainside above St. Helena. The 19th century Victorian mansion presided over the tangled remains of once stately gardens and underground cellars. The historic Schramsberg property had been abandoned for years, but the Davies were looking for a challenge. On that day they decided Schramsberg would be brought back to life.
The Davies had an ambition to make wine, but not just any wine. They were setting out to produce a world-class sparkling wine, and it was a lofty goal. Later that year, the 1965 Blanc de Blancs was came to be, and would be the first commercial use of Chardonnay in American sparkling wine.
Handcrafted American Sparkling Wines
Schramsberg Vineyards focuses on producing the finest and most complex hand-crafted sparkling wines in California. Preserving century-old traditions, many of our viticultural and winemaking practices are still carried out by hand. Our tête de cuvée sparkling wines receive an impressive seven to eight years of bottle aging prior to release, the balance receiving two or more years. All of our wines are enjoyable upon release, but can also be cellared for 20 years or more.
Most of Schramsberg’s viticultural and winemaking practices are carried out by hand: grapes are hand-harvested, the wines are handcrafted, the bottles are stacked and riddled in underground caves. The J. Schram, Schramsberg’s top Chardonnay offering, is even hand-labeled.
Barrel-Fermentation and Aging
Unique among California sparkling wine houses, Schramsberg Vineyards ferments 25% of its juice in oak barrels to produce a richer, more luscious style. Schramsberg has also developed a library of reserve base wines that are barrel aged for up to 10 years. These wines provide additional refinement and complexity to the finished products. In its top two sparkling wines, the J. Schram and Schramsberg Reserve, 40 percent of the components are barrel-fermented.
Méthode Traditionelle is the labor-intensive and costly process whereby wine undergoes a secondary fermentation inside the bottle, creating bubbles. This process is used after a base wine is made using steel tanks or oak barrels to perform a primary fermentation. All Champagne and most high-quality sparkling wines are made by this process.
Schramsberg sparkling wines are produced from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes grown in a broad array of cool-climate North Coast vineyards located in Napa, Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin counties. The winemakers draw from more than 110 individual vineyard sites to create over 250 base wines each year. These wines are then artfully blended to create Schramsberg’s 12-14 distinctive sparkling wines each year.
- Over 110 specific vineyard sites
- Four coastal counties: Napa, Sonoma, Marin and Mendocino.
- Chardonnay: Focus of J. Schram Rosé, J. Schram, Brut Napa Valley Carneros, Brut Sonoma County Green Valley, Querencia, Blanc de Blancs and component in all other blends.
- Pinot Noir: Focus of Reserve, Blanc de Noirs, Extra Brut, Brut Anderson Valley, Brut Sonoma Coast and Brut Rosé; component in several other blends.
- Flora: A cross between Gewürztraminer and Semillon. Focus of Crémant Demi-sec.
Vineyard Block Specificity
Each block is planted according to the winemaking team’s needs, with the character of the ultimate wine in mind.
- Site Selection: Cooler locations with proximity to the bay and ocean have yielded sparkling wine grapes of more intense fruit flavor and elevated acidity.
- Variable Clones: Specific selections of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir have been isolated for our specific needs. Diversity adds greatly to our overall blending schemes.
- Variable Rootstocks: Specific rootstock has been selected to meet varying soil condition and vigor potential.
View the list of wines and prices on SevenFifty here