Welcome to the Silver Oak community! Here you can read the latest from our wineries and vineyards, learn about upcoming events and join in the conversation about all things Silver Oak.
2011 Alexander Valley Cabernet Blending Story
The 2011 vintage was challenging in Alexander Valley, as it was for all Northern California winemakers. As a winemaker, these are the kinds of vintages that push us to think creatively and make wines that truly show the mastery of our craft.
In January 2012, as our Associate Winemaker, Christiane Schleussner and I prepared to present our proposed blend to our President and CEO, David Duncan, we were a little nervous. First of all, there is always a plan, an anticipated case quantity. The plan is based on producing acreage, crop estimates for each vintage and historical performance of vineyards. And we have a clear understanding: the Director of Winemaking has the final say as to what goes in the blend. Nevertheless, we work from a place of mutual respect, admiration and consensus. All that being said, to propose a blend that is about 60% of plan seemed like it might be a hard sell. To illustrate our choices, we also made up a blend that would take us to full capacity.Read more ›
Nate Weis, Winemaker
Although he toyed with the idea of becoming a pilot or firefighter, Nate Weis’ decision to pursue winemaking seemed almost inevitable. A Napa Valley native whose father is also a Winemaker, Nate grew up with wine on the table and a drawer full of t-shirts emblazoned with winery logos. His first job after graduating with honors from UC Santa Barbara with a BS in Biopsychology/Neuroscience was as a “cellar rat.” Nate remembers, “My dad suggested I make sure I actually liked winemaking before heading down that career path. I loved that first harvest, so I packed my bags, dropped my application for UC Davis grad school in the mail and went off to Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.”
Nate spent the 2003 harvest at two New Zealand wineries, and when he returned home he worked one harvest before starting grad school. After earning his MS in Viticulture and Enology, he was hired as a Cellar Master, and then spent two years as an Assistant Winemaker. In 2008, Nate was hired by Marchese Piero Antinori to be Winemaker for Antica Napa Valley, where he made Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot. He also served as Winemaker for Aril Wines in Napa, a small ultra-premium producer of Cabernet and Syrah.
Nate joins us as only the third Winemaker in our 43-year history. He will work together with Daniel Baron, Director of Winemaking, until Daniel retires, a tradition that began when Daniel worked with Justin Meyer in his transition. When asked what he likes about winemaking, Nate couldn’t give just one like. “I love the uniform – jeans and boots. I love the physical nature of the work, coming home covered in muck and tired out from working hard. I love the setting and getting to play with heavy equipment; one of my best memories is a harvest spent on a tractor spreading grape pomace in the vineyard and watching the sunset. And I’ve grown to love plant biology too – figuring out how to get the vine to do what we want it to do. It’s like unraveling a mystery. And of course I love the end product. I often see people when they’re happiest – at a great meal with a glass of Silver Oak in their hand.”
Nate is responsible for managing our Napa Valley and Alexander Valley wine production from grape to bottle and also serving as an ambassador for the brand. He is honored to work with Daniel, whom he admires as an intelligent, articulate and excellent leader with an active mind and wise persona.
“Daniel has been a great steward of Silver Oak, much like Justin Meyer before him. I hope to continue this tradition, while also putting my stamp on the winery,” reflects Nate. “At Silver Oak we all think that wine tends to reflect the people and personalities behind it, even in the smallest of ways. I’m excited to find out what part of me the wines of Silver Oak will ultimately reflect while also maintaining the rigorously high quality standards established here over the last 43 years.”
Nate earned his Executive MBA in Wine Business from Sonoma State University in 2013. He is married, and with four children, the little free time he has is spent playing rugby, running and reading.
Read more ›
The Oak Cooperage
We have exciting news to share! We have acquired full ownership of Missouri-based A&K Cooperage, becoming the first North American winery to own and operate an American oak cooperage. We had purchased a 50 percent interest in the cooperage in 2000, and saw full ownership as an opportunity to maintain exacting barrel-making standards and secure a consistent supply of aged stave wood. The cooperage will now be called “The Oak Cooperage.”
“We are excited to extend our philosophy of innovation and constant improvement at every step of the winemaking process to The Oak Cooperage” said President & CEO David Duncan, who notes this acquisition will allow our winemakers to control quality standards such as the selection, aging and toasting of our American oak barrels. “Having control over our oak barrel needs and production makes complete sense from both an excellence and cost control standpoint.”Read more ›
2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Release Day!
Hooray for Release Day!
The time has come to release another highly anticipated vintage of our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Mark your calendar and reserve your ticket for our 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Release Day on Saturday, February 7th as we are sure you won’t want to miss out on this fun event. Release Day is a celebration we have been carrying on for over 20 years, and for many loyal fans it has become a strong-rooted tradition.
As we have done for the past couple of years, we will have one event at our Oakville Winery in the Napa Valley. Our Geyserville Winery will still be open for regular tastings.
We have some wonderful local restaurants coming in to prepare tasty bites to pair with the featured cabernet, live music and the always fun photo boot.
The doors open at 10am and pouring ends at 3:30pm. Whether it is your first, tenth or twentieth Release Day, we look forward to seeing you and sharing this beautiful vintage.Read more ›
Final Harvest Update from Director of Winemaking Daniel Baron: October 6th
This will be the last harvest report for 2014 as we finished crushing in both Alexander and Napa Valleys on Monday, September 29th. Although crushing is complete for the year, there is still a lot of work to do in the cellars: pressing tanks, monitoring malolactic fermentations, racking and topping tanks and generally preparing the wines for blending in January.
Our Geyserville Winery completed crush with Cabernet from a partnering vineyard on Red Winery Road. We had a huge week of pressing and the wines are showing beautifully: dark and redolent of berries. Our Oakville Winery completed crush with Cabernet from southwest Napa. We pressed multiple tanks and the resultant young wines are impressive with great finesse, balance and fruit intensity. We will continue pressing and might finish this week.Read more ›