Andrew Geoffrey Vineyards is located towards the top of Diamond Mountain Road and has some of the best views in the entire northern part of Napa Valley. This is one of those under-the-radar hillside Napa Vineyards that only those “in the know” will ever discover. This site is vineyard only as there is no winery located here – rather the wines are made at a small family owned winery in the southern part of the valley.
This vineyard is predominately planted to Cabernet Sauvignon with smaller quantities of the lesser used locally Bordeaux varieties including Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The name of the winery comes from the first names of the owner Peter Thompson’s two sons, Andrew and Geoffrey. Following in his father’s footsteps, Andrew is a lawyer in the San Diego area and Geoffrey studied at the Culinary Institute of America and is an accomplished chef currently working in the Chicago restaurant scene.
Vineyard visits are for collectors and serious wine enthusiasts and are always conducted with Peter. Typically you will meet him at the intersection of Highway 29 and Diamond Mountain Road and then you will proceed up the mountain to his actual vineyard. This is the only mountain vineyard in Napa that we have visited in which visitors have to hike on a well cleared trail among the brush to actually reach the vineyard. Once here, one relaxes on the 1000 square foot redwood deck. The 13+ acre vineyard sits at almost 2000 feet and does receive some snow each year. One year there was enough snow to take sleds down the hill in between the vine rows. Peter has held a coveted permit to plant more vines on his property for many years and in 2019 finally planted out another section of his property to Cabernet Sauvignon.
Peter first fell in love with the Napa Valley while attending college at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. During a trip north in the early 1970s to attend a USC Stanford football game, his friends took him north to the Napa Valley for some wine tasting. Knowing next to nothing about wine he soon became hooked by the industry. His career was non wine related until 1999 when he retired from law in San Diego.
During the mid 1990’s he spent 2.5 years looking for a prime piece of hillside Napa Valley property before settling on the totally undeveloped brush covered land on some of the highest slopes of the Diamond Mountain Appellation. He remembers first visiting the property – walking down a brush-covered fire road and seeing glimpses of the valley far below through all the trees but having no idea of the spectacular views from here until he actually cleared the land for the vineyard.
The trail to the vineyard is short and ends at a deck that affords one 180 degree views of the Napa Valley and nearby mountains including the tallest, Mt. St. Helena. This is about as personal a vineyard experience as one will find in Napa Valley. Typically only one wine is produced each year – a delicious Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine will always be predominately Cabernet Sauvignon based but the other varieties in the blend will change depending on the vintage. Single variety productions of Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot are only available to club members as these are usually produced in quantities of only 25-50 cases each vintage and are not made every year.
Several clones are planted on this hillside vineyard and during the wine making, each clone is treated separately. As a result, the individual clones are fermented and aged apart from each other – this gives Peter’s winemaker (John Gibson) additional options when crafting the final blend. For instance if there is a block of the vineyard that isn’t up to their quality standards, it will be left out of the final blend.
The current release Cabernet Sauvignon tends to receive a bit more age then many wineries’ current releases. Unlike many wineries that don’t have library wines available for sale – Peter holds back some of his older vintages and refreshingly, they are available at the same price as his current releases. The 2003 Andrew Geoffrey has a solid backbone, rich in black fruit including dark cherry with a wonderful supple mouth-feel. This is a quintessential and premium Napa Valley hillside grown wine.
Peter also has a background in geology; each part of the vineyard was carefully planted based on soil type in relation to which varieties and rootstocks would grow the best. The vineyard is composed mostly of tuff and tufa along with a smaller percentage of volcanic ash (hence the whiteness of the rock and vineyard soils).
Peter often takes the Andrew Geoffrey wines on the road (to select locations across the country) – hosting intimate winemaker lunches or dinners at restaurants or people’s homes. He is a talented chef; we had a peak at his menu and the entrees are sure to make one’s mouth water from the Gran Padano Italian cheese to the dry rubbed Chateaubriand to a delicious salad (the recipe created by Geoffrey).
Peter has also hosted special wine, food and travel cruises for several years focusing on specific regions within Europe. These are small river cruises – the focus of the wines on board are select vintages of Andrew Geoffrey. Guests also can choose to accompany Peter on pre and post trips either before or after the river cruise.
With very few exceptions, the wines are not distributed and are only sold direct. For more information or to join the mailing list, visit: www.andrewgeoffrey.com