The Napa Valley has a reputation for producing world renown wines with an agricultural backbone. Where the coined phrase, “from grape to bottle” encompasses all of the hard work, and dedication it takes to produce a single bottle of wine. For Gibbs Napa Valley, the combination of viticulture and passion have lead to a wine portfolio rooted in ancestry.
Dating back to the 1950’s, Dr. Lewis Gibbs Carpenter Jr. acquired land on the valley floor. A psychologist by trade, Lewis farmed walnuts, dates and a small section of grapes on the property. By the 1970’s , Lewis’ aptitude and keen insight lead to the replacement of his nut and fruit orchards with Bordeaux grape varietals that were gaining international recognition at the time.
Then, in 2000, Craig and Susan Handly, Lewis’ son-in-law and daughter, expanded on the family legacy and began crafting wines from the property. Former label designers, the couple’s reverence for winemaking launched their careers in a new direction. Over the next decade, Craig honed his craft and produced private label wines, utilizing the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes grown by Lewis.
Sadly, Lewis passed away in 2013. Said to have driven a tractor well into his late 90’s, Lewis’ life’s work will live on. Producing Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon Blanc from the same vineyards he planted over forty years ago, Craig launched Gibbs Napa Valley that same year. Inspired by Lewis’s and his sons middle name, Craig set out to craft premium Napa Valley wines that were approachable and affordable.
Today, the third generation has come into fold. Spencer Gibbs Handly joined the family business after graduating from the University of San Diego in 2014.
“I’ve always been drawn to the idea of farming and working with the land, just like my grandfather showed me how to do,” said Spencer Handly. “There’s something about combining all of your senses to create something as delicious as a glass of Cabernet Franc or Sauvignon Blanc, with the backdrop of Napa Valley, that made joining the family business a no-brainer.”
With a wine portfolio consisting of eight wines to date showcasing fruit from their beautiful Cross Creek and Centa Vineyards, the wines are expressive, automatic and well balanced. From grape to bottle, Gibbs Napa Valley tells a story. A story of passion, dedication and heritage.
In their next adventure, The Handley’s will share their story locally. Partnering with The Studio by Feast it Forward coming this spring, Connoisseurs can experience food, design, art, music, philanthropy and Gibbs Napa Valley.
617 Crystal Springs Road St. Helena, CA 94574 707-963-3997
Article By: Valerie Owens