Snowden endeavor to create classically styled, terroir-driven wines which reflect the unique heritage and character. The family came to their property in 1955 – originally a 160 acre homestead, and the ranch has a grape-growing history dating back to 1878.
Situated on the eastern slopes of the Napa Valley, the Snowden Ranch lies just east of the Rutherford and St. Helena appellations, a few miles south of Howell Mountain, and a mile north of Pritchard Hill. Here at the confluence of these appellations, the family tend twenty-three acres of vineyards planted in the hidden valleys and on the gentler hillsides of the Vaca Mountains.
Following Wayne Snowden’s death in 1977, Virginia gave sons Scott and Randy Snowden responsibility for the property. In 1981, they removed all of the then-producing vineyards and orchards and replanted them to Cabernet Sauvignon, utilizing budwood from Jordan Vineyards near Healdsburg. Through the 1980s, they sold grapes from the resulting 11 acre vineyard - today called "The Brothers Vineyard" - to Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. During that time, the family worked closely with Warren Winiarski, owner of Stag's Leap, and his acclaimed viticultural consultant, Danny Schuester, to optimize trellising, training, and cropping of the vineyard, track cultural variables and correlate them to wine quality.
Beginning in the 1990s, grapes from the property went to a number of other vintners, including Silver Oak Wine Cellars, Frank Family Vineyard, David Ramey, Viader, and Caymus Vineyards. Commencing with the 1993 harvest, the Snowdens began to retain a portion of each harvest for the production of estate-specific family wines. Gradually, an increasing amount of the grapes produced from the property are being used in Snowden wines.
Nowadays Snowden't wines are made by the fascinating and charming Diana Snowden Seysses. She is a Napa Valley native and the eldest of the four third-generation-Snowdens active in the family’s vineyard and wine endeavour. She graduated from the Viticulture and Enology program at the University of California at Davis in 2001. During and after her studies, she worked at wineries in California and France, including Robert Mondavi Winery, Mumm Napa Valley, the Araujo Estate, Ramey Wine Cellars, Fleur de Boüard, and Domaine Leflaive. In January, 2003, Diana became oenologist at Domain Dujac in Burgundy. Diana became winemaker at Snowden commencing with the 2005 harvest and since then has divided her professional time between California and Burgundy, where she lives with her husband Jeremy and their sons, Aubert and Blaise.
'This has a deep ruby colour, classy nose of baking spice, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg with ripe cassis, black cherry and subtle yoghurt notes. It is full-bodied with 15% abv, but all is very well packagedl. A balanced wine with classic Bordeaux flavours of cedarwood, nutmeg cloves, cinnamon vanilla & dark berry fruit, finishing in some smoky-earthiness. Tannin is structured and present, but suits this wine really well