The 30-acre estate of Sherwin Family Vineyards was purchased by Steve and Linda Sherwin in the Spring of 1996. The property had an existing three-acre vineyard, planted in 1981, that consisted of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet franc. The following year the Sherwins cleared an additional 13 acres, removing over 150,000 board feet of fir, which was cut and trucked to a Oregon lumber mill. The newly cleared land was then planted predominantly to Cabernet Sauvignon, with 1.75 acres of Merlot and 1.5 acres of Cabernet Franc. These ratios were chosen to maintain the same "field blend" as in the original vineyard.
The use of cover crops is crucial for soil conservation on hillside vineyards like ours. Napa Valley has some of the strictest regulations in the country when it comes to hillside planting. Here we chose to use a blend of natural meadow grasses that develop a good root base quickly.
After disking down the tall grasses from the long winter's growth, staking and planting of the new vineyard was the next step.
During the spring of 1997, Steve and Linda Sherwin, along with their three children and a crew of six men, pounded in over 3,700 grape stakes, then planted the same number of vines by hand (Steve's family is just starting to talk to him again).