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Napa’s Historic Heitz Cellar Celebrates 60th Anniversary with the Grand Opening of a New World Class Hospitality Experience and the Return of a Classic Cuvée

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The Lawrence Family and Carlton McCoy Jr. Mark the Occasion with State-of-the-Art Visitors Center and Launch of Lot C-91, a Wine Last Produced in 1969  

Napa Valley, CA (August 25, 2021) – Heitz Cellar is celebrating its 60th anniversary with the opening of a newly renovated, world class hospitality center, designed by renowned architect Peter Fleming; as well as the launch of Lot-C 91, a special cuvée that has not been produced for nearly five decades. Founded in 1961 by Joe Heitz, Heitz Cellar helped shape the story of California winemaking. Now under the stewardship of Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy, Jr. and Gaylon Lawrence Jr., the duo and Heitz Cellar’s team have been unwavering in their commitment to continue Joe’s legacy and the heritage of the vineyards for the long-term.

“Acquiring this extraordinary vineyard has been an incredible honor,” says Gaylon Lawrence, Jr. “Agriculture and preservation of the land are vital to me, and we’re committed to maintaining these incredibly iconic vineyards and upholding the Heitz family’s legacy. Joe Heitz was instrumental in showing that California wines have great elegance and that there are fantastic terroirs in the Napa Valley capable of unique single-vineyard expressions. We’re very excited to commemorate Heitz Cellar’s 60th anniversary with the unveiling of our hospitality center and by releasing a project that was special to Joe – the second-ever vintage of Lot C-91,” Lawrence says.

The Salon at Heitz Cellar, Setting a New Standard for Hospitality

This fall, Heitz Cellar will unveil its new Tasting Salon and Hospitality Center. Located at 436 St. Helena Hwy in St. Helena, the space will feature a grand tasting room, a private tasting room, the Quartz Creek garden, veranda, and chef larder designed by Building No. 9’s Peter Fleming. The Tasting Salon will feature Heitz Cellar’s portfolio of collector-worthy wines paired with the highest quality charcuterie and cheeses. In this modern but welcoming environment, guests will be immersed in the storytelling of the estate’s long history as they taste through the wines. To complement the tastings, each experience will be complete with the soothing sounds of American Blues, Jazz, and Soul, playing through the speakers on a collection of vinyl records. 

Led by Estate Director Erik Elliot, previously of The Little Nell, and Director of Hospitality Ruben Moreno, previously of The French Laundry, world-class service will be at the forefront of Heitz Cellar’s tasting experience. All of the details have been meticulously assembled: from the expertly pressed Frette linens and a beautiful flight of Zalto glassware to a stunning display of various herbs such as English thyme, juniper, eucalyptus, chamomile, and valerian flowers, all from the estate’s vineyards and biodynamic garden. From the moment a guest secures a reservation to visit Heitz Cellar, their experience will begin. Upon arrival, every need will be anticipated, and every opportunity to exceed expectations will be maximized.

“The Tasting Salon at Heitz Cellar”, located at the site of Joe Heitz’s original purchase 60 years ago, will redefine the way that guests engage, perceive, and experience the finest wines the Napa Valley has to offer,” says Estate Director and Advanced Sommelier Erik Elliott. “Heitz Cellar truly is the American icon of the wine industry. The philosophies that the Heitz family have instilled over the last 60 years are as present today as they were in 1961; be authentic, have soul, and be of service to your guests.”

As part of its hospitality program, Heitz Cellar will offer three new tasting experiences, ranging from $95 to $1000. The Timeless Experience ($95/pp) will include four wines, and a special pour of Heitz’s newest release, Lot C-91. Guests also have the option to add a luxurious cheese and charcuterie pairing to showcase the remarkable and unique ability for the wines of Heitz Cellar to complement the finest cuisine in the world. The Lexus Vineyard to Bottle Experience ($1000/pp, up to 4 guests) is an ultra-luxurious excursion complete with tastings of treasured single-vineyard wines paired with cheese and charcuterie, as well as an exclusive scenic exploration through the vineyards via Lexus. Through Heitz’s partnership with the luxury automobile, guests will be chauffeured to the single vineyards on Howell Mountain and Rutherford. After a tour of the vineyards, guests will have the opportunity to experience the biodynamic farm and Stone Cellar, where wine has been continuously produced for nearly 130 vintages.

For more details on the Timeless Experience and Lexus Vineyard to Bottle Experience, please see overviews HERE. Reservations are strongly encouraged for the Timeless Experience and required for the Lexus Vineyard to Bottle Experience. Reservations can be made for these experiences starting August 15th by visiting www.heitzcellar.com/visit/ or by calling 707-963-2047.

The Return of a Heitz Rarity

On May 3rd, Heitz Cellar released the 2016 vintage of Lot C-91, a one-off cuvée last produced by Joe Heitz in 1969. Envisioned as a greater step up in quality from the acclaimed Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, but without the specificity of character of Heitz’ single vineyard wines, Lot C-91 is sourced from prized parcels across the estate’s cherished single vineyards. Made with a blend of Rutherford, Oakville, Howell Mountain, and St. Helena fruit, this Cabernet Sauvignon sees less oak aging compared to single vineyard designates, resulting in a remarkably fresh wine.

“It’s an amazing experience to walk in Joe Heitz’s footsteps, carefully selecting the same plots that he originally did for this special wine,” says Winemaker Brittany Sherwood. “We chose to harvest in multiple rounds, starting in August and finishing in October, to create the depth and complexity we know these vineyards are capable of.”

Aged nine months in large neutral oak and two years in new French oak, Lot C-91 2016 exhibits the density and length of which only the truly great wines of the world are capable. A clear differentiation between the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and the Lot C-91 is the presence of savory elements such as sage, rosemary, cured meats, and black pepper. The finish on Lot C-91 shows incredible complexity and harmony, and this wine will only improve with cellaring.

Lot C-91’s SRP is $100 for a 750 ml bottle. Produced in limited quantities, this wine will be available through www.heitzcellar.com as well as at the Salon at Heitz Cellar. Additionally, Demeine Estates will represent C-91 with limited distribution. The Lawrence family works closely with Demeine Estates, the sales and marketing partner for each of its estates.

Looking Ahead to the Next 60 Years

Committed to upholding the legacy they inherited, Carlton McCoy, Jr. and the Lawrence family are dedicated to remaining true to the quintessential Heitz style while pushing the standards for quality and sustainability. To that point, Heitz Cellar has converted to certified biodynamic farming in order to preserve Napa’s rich agricultural heritage and contribute to a healthier future for everyone who calls the Napa Valley home. Made with an unwavering commitment to quality from organically farmed, 100% Napa Valley fruit, Heitz celebrates both its winemaking and farming with a commitment to the stewardship of the region.

“In every great wine region, there is one producer that exists as a monument to the pedigree and significance of the terroir. Heitz has played that role for many decades now. We are honored to celebrate 60 years of classical winemaking with the construction of our Luxury Tasting Salon and the release of the historical Lot C-91.,” says McCoy. “We all feel blessed to be stewards of such an internationally significant estate.”

About Heitz Cellar

Founded in 1961, Heitz Cellar is a true Napa Valley legend that has helped shape the history of Napa Valley winemaking. Pioneering vintner Joe Heitz ushered in Napa’s modern era with his iconic, globally-celebrated wines—including Napa Valley’s first vineyard-designated Cabernet Sauvignon, the renowned Heitz Cellar Martha’s Vineyard. In 2018, the winery entered an exciting new chapter as the Heitz family passed this rich legacy into the hands of the Lawrence family, whose deep roots in agriculture and commitment to the same core values of fine winemaking made it a perfect match. With proprietors Gaylon M. Lawrence, Jr. and Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy, Jr. at the helm, the winery will continue to offer wines in the quintessential Heitz style. Made with an unwavering commitment to quality from organic and biodynamically farmed, 100% Napa Valley fruit, Heitz wines represent the Lawrences’ agrarian roots and commitment to the stewardship of Napa Valley. For more information on Heitz Cellar, please visit www.heitzcellar.com

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