Having long supplied some of California’s most revered wineries with grapes from his Carneros vineyard, it was only fitting that Larry Hyde eventually establish his own brand. It took him nearly thirty years to do so, but it was well worth the wait. Lucky was the consumer who might find Hyde’s estate varietals on the shelf of select wine merchants or on lists at some of Napa’s most lauded restaurants. And now, 40 years into his reign as one of Napa Valley’s original wine pioneers, Hyde has provided the public a fitting venue in which to enjoy his family’s small production varietals.
Paul Hobbs, Patz & Hall, Kistler, DuMol and Shramsberg are just a few of the more than 30 premium producer winery clients who source their grapes from Hyde Vineyards, having benefitted through the years from Hyde’s personal experimentation with new clones, farming technique, and row direction. It is due to Hyde’s passion and expertise that half of these 30 proudly place the ‘Hyde Vineyard’ designation on their labels.
It had always been Hyde’s vision to create his own wines, and finally in 2006, he and his son Chris (now Hyde’s General Manager) planted the first vines that would produce the grapes for their own label. They started making a bit of Pinot Noir in 2009, and not surprisingly, received great response. These days, they are up to about 2000 cases of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot, Viognier, and Syrah. Impressively, the duo’s success has not impinged on their relationship with their winery clients who continue to purchase nearly 85-percent of the Hyde bounty.
“Making our own wines with these grapes makes us better growers,” said Chris. “We are able to witness first-hand the expression of each vintage while putting our personal touch on each varietal.”
The Hyde family’s newly opened production facility and tasting room now allow the public to fully experience the breadth and brilliance of Larry Hyde’s decades of viticultural mastery. Though located near the bustling Carneros Highway corridor, the Estate provides a serene escape overlooking their acclaimed vineyards. Featuring oak floors, cherry cabinets, cherry wood balusters, and mahogany windows and doors, the elegant tasting room is designed in the style of a Polish manor house, a nod to Larry’s Polish-born wife, Beta. By-appointment-only visits are intimate and personal, typically with no more than two groups in-house at a time. Guests can enjoy their Estate Tasting in the comfort of a private room or at the casual tasting bar. In summer months, an al fresco option is offered.
As a true family operation, it’s not uncommon for Chris to lead a tour or tasting, and often, Larry himself will pop-in. “We take time with our guests,” said Chris. “We love to share our history, our story, and of course our wines.”
HYDE ESTATE WINERY
1044 Los Carneros Ave, Napa www.hydewines.com
Article By: Fran Miller