In Dogged Pursuit of the Perfect Cabernet Sauvignon
Lindsay Hoopes of Hoopes Vineyard is one of Napa Valley’s up and coming millennial vintners to watch in 2020. She is one of the inventive young vintners garnering attention for bringing new ideas and innovations to their family businesses. From Assistant District Attorney to winemaker and proprietor, Lindsay has taken charge at Hoopes Vineyard, one of Napa Valley’s cult Cabernet wineries. Lindsay spent eight years building a successful law career in the San Francisco D.A.’s office, prosecuting some of the city’s most notorious criminals. But in 2013, when her Dad Spencer decided to retire from his vineyards and winery business, Lindsay knew it was time to come home, to step in and step up winery operations.
Lindsay’s earliest memories are of growing up and playing with Dante, the family’s Jack Russell terrier, in the 10-acre Oakville Cabernet Vineyard her Dad planted in the early 1980s. As growers, the family harvested the grapes and sold them to formidable labels such as Opus One. In 1999, Spencer decided to hold back enough of those outstanding grapes to produce 100 cases of their first vintage and create the family label, Hoopes Vineyard, endeared with Dante’s image on the labels.
When Lindsay took the helm, Hoopes Vineyard was laser-focused on producing incredibly complex, yet elegant Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon, leveraging the family’s old-vine vineyard and old-world farming practices. After being asked by some of their loyal followers to expand their portfolio, Lindsay began producing limited- production, single varietal wines such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah sourced from the best AVAs of Napa Valley. All this was possible
with her new dream team of Winemakers, Anne Vawter and Jennifer Rue. Both came with formidable reputations, most notably Anne’s tenure at Paradigm working as Heidi Barrett’s assistant for four years and Jennifer overseeing custom barrel-aging programs for esteemed wineries at Napa Wine Company. Both have an affinity for the grapes coming out of the Oakville AVA and believe in allowing the fruit to be the star.
Looking to the future, Lindsay bought and developed a winery just a stone’s throw from the town of Yountville. The newly refurbished barn sits on six acres of organically farmed vineyards. Reclaimed wine barrel heads are built into the design of the barn’s exterior, and the tasting lounge has a light modern touch, with rustic leather chairs and a long communal table. Warm golden hues and natural blues breathe life into the space, which transitions into a vibrant outdoor patio. Lindsay took out one-acre of the vineyards to create more biodiversity with an organic garden and a small farm of adopted pot-bellied pigs, Pygmy goats, chickens, and a donkey.
Hoopes Vineyard has established a cult following since that first 100 case vintage 20 vintages ago. Although their beloved Dante has since passed on, his image is immortalized on the labels, his face gazing up expectantly, daring the lucky owner of the bottle not to love his family’s namesake wine.
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