Story By: Melissa Vogt // Photos Courtesy of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars


Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Celebrates this World-Class Wine

When it comes to history in Napa Valley, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is one of the first producers that come to mind. This storied estate, made famous by the 1976 Judgment of Paris, was founded in 1970. In 2022, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is celebrating the 30th vintage of the single-vineyard FAY Cabernet Sauvignon.

The FAY Vineyard was established by pioneering grape grower Nathan Fay in 1961 and was the first Cabernet Sauvignon planted south of Rutherford. At the time of planting, the area’s climate was considered too cool for growing Cabernet. The story of the FAY Vineyard is such that Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ founder purchased the land adjacent to Nathan Fay’s vineyard after having tasted and enjoyed Fay’s homemade wine; at the time, Fay was selling his grapes to local producers such as Heitz. It wasn’t until 1986 that Fay was ready to sell his land and looked to neighboring Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, which quickly purchased the 66-acre vineyard plot and set to work replanting.

The new FAY Vineyard—respectfully named in Nathan Fay’s honor—was planted in an experimental fashion with different row orientations, trellising, and a wide variety of clones and rootstocks. The intent was to study the vineyards to see what worked best, and that style of experimentation is alive and well in the vineyard today. “The heart of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is undoubtedly our estate vineyards, and the FAY vineyard is truly special. It’s one of the most unique vineyards I’ve ever worked, due to the experimental aspect of the vineyard,” winemaker Marcus Notaro said.

The first single-vineyard FAY Cabernet Sauvignon was produced in 1990, and this year marks the release of the 2019 vintage of this renowned Napa Valley wine. “The vineyard produces fruit with an abundance of supple red and black berry character, voluptuous perfume, and a luscious, fine-grained texture. I put a real emphasis on selecting the right barrels to highlight these characters in the wine,” Notaro stated. “The style of FAY not only has a unique personality but great aging potential as well.”

The Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 2019 FAY Cabernet Sauvignon will be officially released in May. Oenophiles will be welcomed with special release-weekend events, unique library wine experiences, and ways to purchase selective library wines in celebration.