O'SHAUGHNESSY ESTATE WINERY

 

Producer:

Region:

Location:

Owners:

First Vintage:

Winemaker:

 

O'Shaughnessy Estate Winery

Napa Valley

Howell Mountain

Betty O'Shaughnessy Woolls

& Paul Woolls

2002

Sean Capiaux

About The Estate:

O'Shauaghnessy Estate Winery was founded by BEtty O'Shaughnessy, and husband Paul Woolls.

 

Betty hails from Minnesota, having spent her childhood growing up in a rural farming community. After college, she raised a family while building a career in real estate investment/development in Minneapolis. Her entrepreneurial spirit and passion for food and wine fueled the fires that transitioned her from owner/teacher of a cooking school in Minneapolis, to creating a winery in Napa Valley.

In Napa, Betty fell in love with the beauty of the land, the vineyards, and the climate. In 1990, she landed in Oakville with a parcel of land, including vineyards and a home site. Betty reconnected with her deep-rooted appreciation of the soil and the bounties it brings. Over the next few years, additional vineyards on Howell Mountain and Mount Veeder added to the source available for varieties of grapes. The new century brought a cave, grapes crushed into wine and a design for a winery structure. The project completed in time for the harvest of 2003.

In addition to the winery, Betty remains an active volunteer and philanthropist in the community.  In 2009, her community involvement expanded to include an exciting new role as Trustee for Napa's Queen of the Valley Medical Center.

Paul, too, began life in the Midwest. Born almost on the campus of Indiana University, he later moved to New Mexico. He now sheepishly admits it was there he developed the beginnings of a passion for wine, albeit on brands that today no serious vigneron would admit consuming. From those beginnings, Paul found in college that starving for a month would allow for one great meal at the only French restaurant nearby. Then law school and his practice allowed the drive to learn about wine to thrive. That drive culminated in a fortuitous wine tasting where he met Betty.

The O'Shaughnessy Estate vineyard resides on a one hundred and twenty acre hillside property on Howell Mountain that is now reaching full maturity at over twenty years of age.

 

Beginning in 1997, twenty nine acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and six acres of the seven historic blending varietals (Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec, Carmenere, St. Macaire and Gros Verdot) were planted.

The vines span three distinct vineyards: The Amphitheater Vineyard derives its name from its shape across the hillside and the Rancho Del Oso Vineyard its name from a resident black bear who visits from time to time. Newest is the Osprey's Nest Vineyard which is shared with a young family of Osprey.

The second Estate vineyard is on Mount Veeder. The vines from the steeply terraced 'Betty's Vineyard' struggle for nourishment and moisture, consistently producing clusters with small berries and intense flavors. Wines from this vineyard have been highly acclaimed through the media since the first vintage in 2002, for their power and elegance. O'Shaughnessy acquired this property in 2000 and farm only 17 acres on this remote 55-acre estate.

The 265 acre Woolls Ranch, also on Mount Veeder, was purchased in 2006 and produced its first fruit in 2012. There are 32 planted acres here and the team primarily grows Cabernet Sauvignon on this remarkable site. They also cultivate small blocks of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Carmenere and St. Macaire.

Lastly, the Oakville vineyard spans 32 acres surrounding Betty and Paul's home. Planted at various times, they grow Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon here. The Chardonnay plantings of Old Wente Clones, as well as 809 and 548 provide the backbone of our complex, dramatic blend which debuted with the 2009 vintage.

Founding winemaker, Sean Capiaux, has established an impressive and notable career over the past thirty years at prominent wineries around the globe. He graduated from California State University, Fresno (BS, Enology; minor in Chemistry) in the late-80’s and began his career at Jordan Winery in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley. Sean traveled to Perth, Australia to work on the winemaking team at the Houghton Winery and later returned to the United States to become the assistant winemaker at Pine Ridge Winery in the Stags Leap district. Peter Michael Winery tapped him to become their assistant winemaker where he worked for four years. Sean spent several years as a bicoastal winemaker attending to wines both on Long Island and in California before coming to O’Shaughnessy.

Sean serves as president and winemaker for the O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery and consistently creates world class mountain Cabernets. Sean  employs modern equipment to produce classic wines, which are naturally fermented and bottled unfined and unfiltered. These techniques allow the varietal character and terroir of the O’Shaughnessy Estate vineyards to be the stars of the show.

O'Shaughnessy's viticulurist, Alan Peirson, is a California native, growing up in Marin County, Alan Peirson began his studies as a student in Art History at the College of Marin. Surrounding his artistic life as a ceramicist and sculptor, Alan has always had an intense interest in food, wine, building, design, horticulture and landscaping.

For twenty years, designing, building and managing what is now the Peter Michael Winery Estate, Alan played an integral role in the genesis and development of the estate winery and vineyard program. He also used his many talents as Estate Manager, as well as Artistic Director of a non-profit organization raising money for the performing arts. His palate for fine wines was fed and expanded while managing The Vineyard Cellars.

Facts:

Alan Peirson, the Estate’s Viticulturist, designed, built and managed what is now the Peter Michael Winery

 

Betty and Paul’s home is in the 30 acre Oakville Estate, also home to the vines destined for the Estate’s delicious Chardonnay

 

Renowned critic Antonio Galloni has championed the Estate’s Cabs as some of the greatest value wines of Napa, while Robert Parker calls it one of his favourite wineries in Napa

Main Image:

View of the Howell Mountain vineyard from O'Shaughnessy's winery

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