was founded in 2004 (first harvest). Their “urban winery” was located in San Francisco for six years until they moved to Napa; 2010 was the first crush in Napa. They have setup shop at Silverado Trail Wine Studio which is located on the southern part of the Silverado Trail. Prior connections between William Hill (owner of Silverado Trail Wine Studio) and his Premier Pacific Vineyard management company set the stage for Crushpad to move here. Compared to their facility in San Francisco, the Napa location allows more space as well as ability for their customers to grow their own labels.
Crushpad does not own any vineyards, nor do they make their own wine. However over the years they have established good relations with growers and well-regarded vineyards and today can source fruit for a client from many of California’s wine regions as well as select locations in France.
Crushpad is large in scale (5000 clients), yet at the same time they are small (setup for typically small productions, private or commercial). They truly have become a success story in a rather short time. Today they produce 1 out of every 100 wines sold in the US and with several thousand labels produced over the past few years they have generated 1.5% of all the labels approved by the US Alcohol, Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Their clientele is domestic yet it is also International. In 2008, Crushpad set the stage for moving into a shared winery in Napa when they setup their own winemaking operations in the heart of St. Emilion (Bordeaux, France) at Chateau Teyssier. Many of their clients there are European as well as from Asia.
Where else and how else can you so readily have access to the types of historical top producing vineyards in this part of France? Crushpad has access to small vineyards in regions such as St. Emillion, Margaux and Haut-Medoc, to name a few.
Crushpad is setup with the customer entirely in mind…in so many ways. You can use their services with a minimum of merely 1/4 barrel (6 cases – shared barrel). After a consultation with the client a general “wine plan” is devised which incorporates the goals, types of wine and quantities. Next a “wine style” plan is created which drills down to the details of the winemaking – types of yeasts, desired acidity, alcohol level, barrels etc. Fermentation plans are also created either for you or with your input.
The typical client is never typical – some clients like to be as hands on as possible, others just want to have the wine made for them. Some signup for the wine making services to produce a commercial label, for others its a small amount of wine to share with friends and family. Clients are as hands on as they want to be. Some of their clients actually take several weeks off from work during harvest and come to the valley to help create their own wine (harvesting, sorting, punch downs, pressing etc) or even just help around the winery. Crushpad has a variety of wine experts and winemakers on site and depending on the client’s expertise, the entire process can be extremely educational.
Hand computers/scanners allow the winemakers to gather important data during fermentation which are then fed into their databases and can be emailed daily or weekly as updates to the clients.
As with many wineries, the “crushpad” at Crushpad is located behind the winery. Because they are starting with quality vineyards, their focus is to bring that quality into the winemaking once the grapes are harvested. Their post harvest philosophy typically incorporates a number of hand sorts, ensuring only the finest fruit is used. With the larger facility in Napa they now have access to additional sized tanks and other equipment.
Crushpad has one of the better wine education programs in the valley. Wine education drives their business and Crushpad offers a wide range of courses, all reasonably priced. CrushCamps are especially popular – come to the winery during harvest and learn the basics of winemaking. You will work along side other vintners as well as the winemaking team on site. Other courses are held in their “faux cave” (you will see what we mean by this when you enter this building). These classes include a variety of topics ranging from sensory evaluation, wine flaws, or vineyard management practices. Their blending seminars last between 90-120 minutes and explore how to blend based on varietals, aromatics, flavor and texture.
The tasting room is billed as “a dynamic multi-vintner tasting room”; you never know whose wine is going to be poured here. With such a base of wine and producers to draw from no tasting experience is even remotely the same. Crushpad has devised a unique weighted algorithm based on a point scale which determines which producer will be pouring and for how long. During the busy season producers are rotated every 2 weeks and during the slow season its every four weeks. Often on weekends and other special events the vintners themselves will be in the tasting room.
During a recent visit we sampled wines ranging from Sonoma, Napa, Oregon and Santa Ynez. This is as diverse a location in Napa (aside from a wine shop perhaps) for tasting a wide variety of California wines and varietals under one roof. These wines are all limited production and the tasting room staff are knowledgeable about both the wine as well as the stories behind the wine and vintners.
A couple of standouts we tried were a couple of beautiful Chardonnay’s from Sonoma including from Expression 38 and Bartz-Allen Winery. Two standout reds were from Guy Wines as well as Tetra, a luscious Napa Cabernet Sauvignon with good acidity. This wine starts soft on the entry and builds layer and character from the mid palate until its big finish (both flavor and structure). This wine is one of William Hill’s labels (Silverado Trail Wine Studio).
For more information visit: www.crushpadwine.com or follow on Twitter: @CRUSHPAD NOTE: MOVED ENTIRE OPERATIONS OUT OF COUNTY.
NOTE: This review has been archived.
REASON: Moved entire operations outside of Napa County
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