Q & A with Steve and Linda Sherwin, Proprietors

Q: Sherwin Family Vineyards seems to have taken a very hands- on approach to winemaking. How did you develop your winemaking style and how does that style impact your wines and their flavor profiles?

A: We wanted to let the unique characteristics of our Spring Mountain vineyard fruit shine through in the wine. Steve is very hands-on, both in the management of the vineyard and in the day-to-day winemaking. He designed and built a gravity-flow winery so that we could be very gentle with the fruit and not extract unwanted harsh tannins. We want the intensity, lushness, and complexity of the mountain fruit to take center stage. Our goal is to make our Estate Cabernet approachable and ready to enjoy now, or to cellar for years, depending on personal preference.

Q: The tasting room at Sherwin Family Wines has been described as "a beautiful home-like kitchen, dining room, couch and seating area with a fireplace"...not exactly what comes to mind when we envision a typical tasting room. Why did you veer from the norm?

A: Because Steve was a builder in the Bay Area prior to coming to Napa Valley, he designed and built everything on the property. Our concept was to create a tasting room that felt comfortable and homey, so Steve designed it just like a home, although no one actually lives there. On chilly days, we make a big fire in the fireplace, and it is a cozy place for sipping a little Sherwin Cab. On sunny, warm days, we have a large patio area and so that our guests can overlook our vineyards and enjoy the peaceful beauty of Spring Mountain.

Q: Your home shares the same site as your winery. What was it like raising a family in this setting?

A: Before coming to Napa Valley, we lived in a remote region in the Bay Area, so being "off the beaten path" was not new to us. We love nature and feel so thankful that we can look outside and appreciate the beauty of the mountain, the forest, the vineyards, and all the critters that go with the territory. It was a wonderful place to raise our family, and our children grew up with a great appreciation of the outdoors and the natural beauty around them.

Q: It is rumored that Sherwin Family Vineyards is the only company in the United States that can place the American flag on a bottle of alcohol. Can you confirm (or deny) that rumor and explain its origin?

A: We are honored to be able to place the American flag on our Commemorative Etched large format bottles. This came about shortly after September 11, 2001, when we were asked to participate in an international wine auction benefitting the families of employees of Windows on the World restaurant that was lost in the disaster.