Napa Valley Riesling goes to the ‘heartland’ of Riesling
Napa Valley, California and Burghausen, Germany, September 2019 — Effective September 2019 the estate-vineyard wines of Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery will be available in Germany and Austria.
Schreiblehner Wein Bewegt, based in Burghausen, is now representing Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery. The first wines to be available in Germany and Austria will be 2016 Riesling, 2016 Chardonnay, 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2013 Cook’s Flat Reserve. All of these wines come from the estate vineyard surrounding the winery on the top of the Spring Mountain District appellation in St. Helena, Napa Valley.
“I am very happy to have the chance to bring Smith-Madrone’s distinctive wines to Germany,” says Josef Schreiblehner, founder and owner of the importing company. “Our business is family run and I enjoy working with family-run wineries. I also like the expression of terroir in Smith-Madrone’s wines from the Spring Mountain District in Napa Valley, because I have a personal connection to Spring Mountain,” he adds. “Almost 20 years ago, I washed barrels in the caves of Newton Vineyard on Spring Mountain. Yet another reason we’re delighted to now represent Smith-Madrone is that we respect the way Charlie, Stu and Sam Smith work together, doing all the work themselves, growing the grapes, making the wines in their own winery. That’s the way it is done in Europe by the best vignerons. For me, the wines have more personality than wines made by large wineries where wine growing and winemaking are done by different people often in different places. We look forward to surprising our customers when they taste these wines,” he continued.
“As a winery whose Riesling is often compared to the Rieslings of Germany, it’s quite wonderful that our Riesling and other wines can now be found in Germany,” says Stu Smith, who founded Smith-Madrone in 1971. “We also have a kinship with Germany; on our mother’s side the “Federolfs” were noted in the manifest of The Good Ship Thistle of Glasgow which left Rotterdam in 1730 for the U.S. The Federolfs were from the Palatinate region of Germany; later in the U.S. the name morphed to Fetheroff (and in fact there’s a town in Pennsylvania where our family settled called Fetherolfsville),” he added.
“Doing things the easy way has never been the Smith-Madrone way,” Stu Smith says. “Whether it’s digging boulders out of the mountain to make way for our vines or farming steep slopes, our goals, our passion, our life is to grow the very best grapes, whatever the hardships. We know that only the best wine comes from the best grapes, and we were inspired when we established the winery by the saying Bacchus amat colles, that Bacchus loves the hills,” he adds.
In addition to Germany, the winery’s other export markets include Canada, England, Japan, Sweden and Denmark. One of the winery’s proudest moments took place in Europe in 1979, when the Riesling won “Best Riesling” in a Gault-Millau competition in Paris. The wine has been entered in the competition by the US Embassy and the winery hadn’t known until the results were announced. The other contenders included wines from around the world—including Germany and Alsace.
Smith-Madrone is one of Napa Valley’s authentically artisanal wineries. Winemaking and grape-growing are handled entirely by the two brother-proprietors, Stuart and Charles Smith. Stu’s son Sam Smith is the winery’s Assistant Winemaker. All of Smith-Madrone’s wines come from the 38 acres of estate vineyards surrounding the winery, originally planted 47 years ago by Stuart and Charles. The vineyards extend across steep mountainsides, at elevations between 1,300 and 1,900 feet, on slopes angling up to 34%. Total production each year is approximately 4,000 cases.
Among numerous accolades over the almost five decades of the winery’s life, one great honor was being named Winery of The Year by The Daily Meal in 2015. The award cited the winery “for their passion and for their activism, but most of all for a long history of quietly making excellent wines at sensible prices…for creating, without fanfare, some of Napa Valley’s best wines for almost 45 years, for industry leadership in labeling reform, and for utilizing innovative vineyard techniques that have led the way for other producers…Connoisseurs who really know California wine love them. “More at www.smithmadrone.com.
Schreiblehner Wein Bewegt was founded in 2012 and is situated in Burghausen, in southern Germany on the Austrian border. Austrian born Josef Schreiblehner and his team specialize in fine wines, primarily from California, Bordeaux, Austria, Germany and Grower Champagnes. More at www.schreiblehner.com.