Susanne Salvestrin Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award by St. Helena Chamber of Commerce
St. Helena, California (March 19, 2018) – This year marks more than 85 years that the Salvestrin family has been growing grapes and making wine in Napa Valley. In partial recognition of the Salvestrin family’s involvement and service in the community, Susanne Salvestrin, wife of Ed Salvestrin and mother of Rich Salvestrin, was honored by the St. Helena Chamber of Commerce with a Lifetime Achievement Award at their annual Celebrate St. Helena event on March 16, 2018.
In 1932, John and Emma Salvestrin purchased an old estate along St. Helena Highway in Napa Valley. The estate, which once belonged to Dr. George Belden Crane, is one of the oldest and most storied in the history of the valley. California had been a state for less than a decade, when Dr. Crane first planted grapevines. Crane was a contemporary of Charles Krug, and one of the earliest pioneers of viticulture in the area. Realizing the similarity of conditions to other great wine regions, Crane was the first in the valley in 1861 to plant European varieties. Much of what Napa Valley was to become was due in part to Dr. Crane.
John and Emma were able to scrape together the funds to purchase Crane’s original home (now on the National Register of Historic Places) and 23 acres of vineyards. For nearly 160 years, the property has belonged to only two families: the Cranes and the Salvestrins. Now in its fourth generation, the Salvestrin family has passed on the tradition of farming, with each member getting their hands dirty and learning about the land and winemaking firsthand.
Today, Richard Salvestrin (third generation) continues the family legacy. Just like his father Ed (who, even at the age of 81 still works the land), Rich grew up among the vines. From an early age he knew that he wanted to be a farmer. After graduating from Fresno State University with a degree in plant science, he went to work in Napa Valley. He gathered valuable experience working for some of the valley’s most esteemed wineries/vineyards, including Louis M. Martini, Mumm Napa Valley, S. Anderson, Jaeger Vineyards, as well as COO at California Grapevine Nursery for more than a decade. In 1994, after many decades of selling the grapes from their estate to other wineries, Rich started Salvestrin Winery and began making wines from their own fruit. For the next 12 years, Rich continued to work with other wineries and vineyards, all the while building a firm foundation for his family winery. As of 2006, his sole focus is Salvestrin Winery and being a steward of the family estate.
Salvestrin Winery is rare among the current batch of Napa Valley properties. While many of the old families have sold to larger companies, Salvestrin remains. Not only that, but the family is one of the few owner-operators among the many vanity projects and large operations. Rich is the guy on the tractor, working with his vineyard team, getting his hands dirty, both among the vines and in the winery. His sister Lynn and wife Shannon are both actively involved in the business and help keep the operation running smoothly.
Richard Salvestrin, third generation winemaker and grapegrower
Sustainability is a core value of the Salvestrin family, and always has been. Rich farms the Dr. Crane Vineyard much as his father and grandfather before him, with a consideration for the land and leaving a legacy for the next generation. Farming in a way that maintains a healthy balance between the vineyards, the family, the business, and the community is important to him and to his family. Both the winery and estate vineyard are certified “Napa Green.”
“I grew up on this land and am proud to be a native of Napa Valley,” says Rich Salvestrin. “For more than 85 years, my family and I have cared for this special slice of paradise. I realize that there aren’t many of us old families left, but we’ve never done this for the glory or accolades. We do what we do because we love it. This is our home and I look forward to seeing my daughters take over the business in the coming years and watching them start their own families here.”
Wines produced from vines planted in the original Dr. Crane vineyard are some of the most celebrated and collected wines from Napa Valley. Of these few wines, only Salvestrin Dr. Crane wines are produced and bottled at the winery on the original Estate of the Doctor. Other producers purchase their grapes from growers who have been farming the vineyard for much less than the three generations and over 85 years that the Salvestrins have tended to the original Dr. Crane vineyard, property and home. The Salvestrin portfolio includes five wines from the Dr. Crane vineyard; two of which are from Italian descent, and two Cabernet Sauvignons, Napa valley’s signature grape. This includes the Retaggio Blend, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Sangiovese, and 3D Cabernet Sauvignon. In addition, the winery offers a Sauvignon Blanc from the Leblanc Crystal Springs Vineyard and the Cavaso, a Napa Valley red blend and an homage to Rich’s grandparents.
A visit to Salvestrin Winery is an authentic Napa Valley experience. Tasting among the vines and fruit trees, all-the-while learning about the winemaking philosophy, vineyard practices and conservation efforts is available to those that make an appointment. Rich and Shannon are active and gracious hosts and will often spend time with visitors to the estate.
Rich and the rest of his family continue to grow the business in a methodical and sustainable manner, as they have done since launching the winery more than 25 years ago.
For more information about Salvestrin Winery, visit www.salvestrinwinery.com or call 707.963.5105.