Denise & Stephen Adams
About The Estate:
Denise and Stephen Adams discovered the idyllic ADAMVS property in 2008. In its mosaic of five vineyard sites, iron-rich red soils, ideal elevations and diversity of vineyard exposures, they saw the perfect convergence of geology and geography. To realise the estate’s promise, and their goal of establishing a new benchmark for excellence on Howell Mountain, they gathered together a team that includes viticulturist Michael Wolf and winemaker Philippe Melka.
The estate is a mosaic of five vineyard sites, ranging in elevation from 1,500 to 2,000 feet. Of the 28-planted acres, 25 are Cabernet Sauvignon, with nine hand-selected clones spread out over an array of exposures and elevations.
Legendary viticulturist Michael Wolf, stewards every vineyard block to accentuate its strengths. Though ADAMVS embrace s innovation, they also believe that there is no substitute for experience and the human touch. Farmed with integrity and passion, every one of the organic and biodynamic-certified vines is hand-tended by tje vineyard team a minimum of seven times a season.
It is a landscape of light and shadow, where mountain meadows, fur and oak forests, and lovingly tended vineyards reflect an honest rapport between man and nature. This landscape is the essence of ADAMVS, and the palette from which they craft the wines.
Amidst this idyllic setting are the Cypress House and Wine Library - intimate structures that, like a great wine, engage all the senses. Designed by architect Kurt Melander, these iconic structures combine modern and classic elements, seamlessly blending cypress, glass, steel and concrete to create spaces of nuanced beauty that are experienced differently depending on the season, time of day, light, and all the natural elements that make Howell Mountain an ideal home for Cabernet Sauvignon.
The world’s finest Cabernet Sauvignons capture the essence of great vineyards. They also reflect the artistry of the individuals who tend the land and make the wine. At ADAMVS, the small team is committed to establishing one of the finest winegrowing estates and a new standard for excellence on Howell Mountain.
Denise and Stephen Adams have guided the evolution of ADAMVS since its inception. From its transition to biodynamic farming to the selection of its acclaimed team, their focus on integrity, craft and quality defines ADAMVS.
A skilled vintner, Stephen purchased his first vineyard in 1995. Together, Denise and Stephen have been farming Saint-Émilion’s Grand Cru Classé Château Fonplégade since 2004, earning the respect of their Bordelaise neighbors through the revitalization of the storied French estate.
Denise and Stephen fell in love with the property that would become ADAMVS in 2008. Though a diamond in the rough, their experience allowed them to recognize the site’s limitless potential for making world-class mountain wines.
For connoisseurs of great Cabernet Sauvignon, the name Philippe Melka has become synonymous with excellence. And yet, no two of Philippe’s wines are the same. Each is unique, evoking the character and complexity that define the world’s greatest vineyards.
Raised in France, Philippe’s early career took him from the hallowed cellars of Château Haut-Brion and Château Pétrus to California’s Dominus. In the years since, his talents have shaped some of California’s most sought-after wines, including Hundred Acre, Bryant Family, Dalla Valle, Dana and his own Melka bottlings.
Philippe is a critical member of the ADAMVS team, helping tailor farming techniques for each estate vineyard block, making harvest decisions, and winemaking for as many as 40 individual fermentation lots each vintage.
Winemaker Sarah Donley attained a B.S. in Enology before embarking on a grueling cycle of internships in order to hone her craft.
She went on to spend several years at Colgin Cellars, rising from intern to Assistant Winemaker. Thereafter she joined Bart and Daphne Araujo as Winemaker and Production Manager for their Wheeler Farms project.
Sarah and her winemaker husband live on Howell Mountain with their two young daughters. The call of ADAMVS and this unique mountain property felt like something predestined.
"Living four minutes away just gives me more time to be in these vineyard rows getting to know the character and personality of this special site more deeply with every day that passes."
To Kalon, Scarecrow, Vecina, Lindstrom, Quixote - few hands have been as instrumental in drawing out the full potential of Napa Valley’s greatest vineyards as those of legendary vineyard manager Michael Wolf. At ADAMVS, Mike oversees every aspect of the estate vineyard program. To create wines known for their grace and grandeur, Mike accentuates the estate’s remarkable natural diversity. “Great wines need layers of complexity,” says Mike. “The ADAMVS Estate has the diversity to achieve this level of sophistication.”
In 1997, after years of managing Beckstoffer Vineyards’ Napa Valley properties, including the replanting of To Kalon, Mike founded Michael Wolf Vineyard Services. Since then, he has worked with some of the Napa Valley’s finest vineyards and earned a reputation for elevating great sites into iconic vineyards and the respect of a community of winegrowers.
Proprietors Denise and Stephen Adams have owned and farmed the illustrious Château Fonplégade, on St. Emilion's great Grand Cru Classé Estate, since 2004.
As well as amazing vines, the ADAMVS vineyards are home to honey bees, goats and sheep, all of which are essential to the biodynamic property. The honey is DELICIOUS!
Looking west across the wild forests of Howell Mountain from the top of the highest vineyard block at ADAMVS