California’s Napa Valley deserves its reputation as one of the world’s leading wine producing regions. The exceptional terroir, the hot summers tempered by cooling Pacific winds, and the innovative spirit of its bold and dedicated vintners make this a very special place indeed for viticulture. It is in Napa we find Shafer Vineyards, a winery which has been making waves in Napa for several decades and it quickly becoming recognized as one of the leading wineries in the region.
At the helm of Shafer Vineyards is Doug Shafer. Doug doesn’t come from a long line of oenologists and vintners, and he wasn’t even much of a winemaker growing up. A former fighter pilot and publisher, he decided to quit his job in Chicago in the 1970s, pack his family into his station wagon, and head off into the verdant hills of California to start things over. Doug Shafer is the first to admit he didn’t know a thing about wine when he started, but as soon as his vineyards were growing and his winery was up and running, he knew he’d made the right decision, and used his instincts to produce the sorts of wines he felt he’d like to drink himself. This approach proved popular, and while he had endless troubles with vineyard diseases, infestations of insects and plenty of other setbacks, he never regretted his decision for a moment.
Today, Shafer Vineyards is mostly managed by Doug’s son, John. Unlike his father, John grew up on the winery, and has a natural, earthy sense around the vines which allows him to construct some serious good wine. Indeed, the Shafer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, named Hillside Select, went on to become one of the most sought after bottles in the world. With 210 acres of prime Napa land under their care, John and his father Doug continue to make characterful and bold Cabernet Sauvignon wines in their own inimitable style.