Spencer Graham produced our first wine, the 1998 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Over fifteen years later, he still serves as the lead on all aspects of our winemaking program, providing great continuity to our wines, their quality, and their taste profile with his experience, knowledge, and insight. Spencer first learned winemaking at the hands of some of the craft masters of Napa Valley. He honed his craft over many years, further exploring the terroir of Napa and beyond, deepening his relationships with experienced grape farmers, gleaning off of their experience and knowledge of the vines, and perfecting his insight into the complex and layered nature of blending wines. Today, he continues to manage our long-term relationships with our farmers. And, as from the beginning, Spencer actively crafts our final blends, passing along to the rest of his winemaking team his own insight into the beautiful balance and elegance that continue to define Elizabeth Spencer.
Beginning in 2010, we welcomed Sarah Vandenriessch as Winemaker. Working under the auspices of Spencer, Sarah oversees the daily and seasonal aspects of viticulture and winemaking at Elizabeth Spencer. Sarah regularly walks the rows of our vineyard sites, inspecting the vines and the fruit and discussing the vintage progress with our farmers. She is similarly hands-on in the winery, tasting wines from barrel, managing all wine movements, rackings, bottlings, and, of course, the controlled chaos of harvest and crush.
We aspire to make wines that are delicious to drink, elegant, refined, and balanced. They are wines of intensity and power, without excess weight, wines that are enjoyable and memorable and worthy to be shared with friends at the table. We began with Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and continued to explore the many and varied terroirs of Napa with such varietals as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. To that we have added the unique soils and climates of the Sonoma Coast, where we grow gorgeous and mouth-filling Pinot Noir and Syrah, and up into Mendocino, home of bright and beautiful and aromatic white grape varietals, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, and Pinot Blanc—not to mention the savory red varietal from the southern Rhone, Grenache.