88 Years of Sustainability

Rare is it these days to encounter a vineyard or winery of which its proverbial and literal roots are closely tied to the evolution of the Napa Valley itself. Rarer still is it for those vineyards and wineries to find continuity in familial ownership and sustainable practices. St. Helena’s Salvestrin Winery is one such gem. For more than 88 years, the Salvestrin family has sustainably farmed their Dr. Crane estate vineyard in the shadows of Spring Mountain. First planted in 1859 by Dr. George Belden Crane, the vineyard is one of the oldest in Napa Valley. After John Salvestrin emigrated from Northern Italy in 1913, he eventually moved to Napa Valley. In 1932, he and his wife Emma acquired 23 acres of the historic Dr. Crane vineyard and for several decades, he and then his son Ed, sold their grapes to local wineries. In 1994, Ed’s son Rich and his wife Shannon decided to hold back some of the highest quality fruit and launched Salvestrin Winery. These days Rich serves as winemaker and manager of the Napa Green-certified estate. “We have been Napa Green certified in the vineyard and winery since the program’s inception,” said Natalie Winkler, Salvestrin’s associate winemaker and viticulturist. “For us, Napa Green certification is just another extension of our longtime commitment to sustainability. And now, we are taking that commitment one step further and going organic. To achieve it, we demonstrate ‘green’ business practices – monitoring and lowering water and electricity use, utilizing recycled and recyclable products whenever possible, with an overall focus on generating less waste and using products that are more natural and safer for the environment. These tenets apply to the winery, vineyard tasting room, and office.”

This deep commitment to the land and the vines is evident in the winery’s five delicious varietals –

Sauvignon Blanc, Petite Sirah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sangiovese. Despite the family’s reluctance to chase ratings, Salvestrin wines regularly garner accolades:  The Wine Advocate awarded Salvestrin’s 2015 3D Cabernet (named in honor of Rich Salvestrin’s three daughters) a 96+ rating and the  2016  Estate  Cabernet  Sauvignon a 94+ rating.

By appointment tastings take place in the on-property venue just off of Highway 29 in St. Helena where a cozy, second story retreat overlooks the vineyards, as does an al fresco stone patio where Salvestrin family members are likely to serve as hosts. The  vineyard also serves as the Salvestrin home. Three generations currently live on the property: Ed and his wife Susanne, Rich and his wife Shannon and their three daughters, each of whom currently pursue varied interests, and each of whom Rich and Shannon hope will one-day return to carry on the stewardship of this special St. Helena spot.




Article By: Fran Miller