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The Wine Press: News from the Napa community
The Wine Press

The Wine Press: News from the Napa community

From the Napa Valley Wine Insider Digest: May 15, 2021 series
  • Updated

Honoring Joe Heitz’s legacy


Using notes from founder Joe Heitz, Heitz Cellars has recreated a Lot-C-91 Cabernet Sauvignon, last released in 1969. 

Commemorating its 60th anniversary and Heitz Cellar has released the 2016 vintage of Lot C-91 Cabernet Sauvignon, a cuvée that was last made by the estate’s late founder, Joe Heitz, and released in 1969.

In keeping with Joe Heitz's vision for this wine, Lot C-91 is blended from the single vineyards of Heitz Cellar. Studying Joe Heitz's notes and understanding the terroirs of the various parcels has allowed Heitz Cellar to create a cuvée with great depth, complexity, and aging potential. The wine is 100 % Cabernet Sauvignon with the following appellation breakdown: 45% Rutherford AVA; 33% Oakville AVA; 14% Howell Mountain AVA; and 8% St. Helena AVA.

“Being able to recreate Lot C-91 and release it on the 60th anniversary of Heitz Cellar’s inception is our tribute to Joe Heitz and all that he stood for,” says Heitz Cellar estate director Erik Elliott. “He truly was a pioneer in the Napa Valley, and many of us in the industry owe some of our most eye-opening wine experiences to the restraint and authenticity he showed when crafting his wines. Our winemaker Brittany Sherwood gracefully carries on this legacy with our wines today.”

The 2016 Lot C-91 is the result of mild summer temperatures and a series of warm days at the end of the growing season. The first of the fruit was picked at night in mid-August while the remainder of the harvest finished in mid-October.  The wine was aged for nine months in large neutral oak, followed by two years in a combination of new and used French oak barriques and one year in bottle. The style of the wine requires less aging in oak and bottle compared to the winery’s single vineyard designates and provides remarkable preservation of vibrant fruit.

 Lot C-91’s SRP is $100 for a 750 ml bottle. This wine will be available through as well as at the Tasting Salon. Heitz Cellar’s new tasting salon and hospitality center is slated to open on Aug. 1.

A new role at Larkmead for Daniel Stoch

Daniel Stoch

Daniel Stoch 

Larkmead Vineyards has promoted Daniel Stoch to virtual tasting manager, a new role at Larkmead as the winery strives to meet consumer demand for virtual tasting experiences.

Erik Siebelist, former tasting room lead at Larkmead Vineyards, will take over Stoch’s previous role of tasting room manager.

Larkmead Vineyards is anticipating an increased interest in virtual wine tastings and tours as the world becomes more comfortable with online meeting platforms. Stoch is a natural fit for the new role. He joined Larkmead Vineyards in 2017 as a harvest intern, supporting winemaker, Dan Petroski, in the cellar. After the 2017 harvest, Stoch joined Larkmead full-time in the tasting room, where he honed his customer service, sales, communications, and wine education skills. He was promoted to tasting room manager in July 2020.

In his new position, Stoch will manage member acquisition, develop new virtual experiences, capture extensive drone footage, and support direct-to-consumer wine sales. Daniel will report directly to Victoria Anderson,  at Larkmead.

“It is an honor to be appointed as Larkmead Vineyards’ first virtual tasting manager,” Stoch said. “I am looking forward to applying the skills that I have learned at Larkmead to engage with and educate more Larkmead members than ever before, which is the beauty of working in a virtual world.”

Virtual tastings with Stoch are now available to all Larkmead Vineyards mailing list subscribers. To join the mailing list and schedule a tasting, visit or email Mailing list members will have the option to purchase a tasting kit and sign up for a virtual tasting on their desired date and time. 

 Peter Willmert appointed for CEO Hudson Napa Valley

Peter Willmert

Peter Willmert

 Lee and Cristina Hudson announced today the appointment of wine industry veteran and former LVMH executive Peter Willmert to the role of CEO Hudson Napa Valley, responsible for Hudson vineyards, wines, ranch and grocery. A wine industry leader with more than 20 years of experience in wine, luxury, and consumer branded goods, Willmert most recently served as vice president at Estates & Wines, North America for LVMH Moët Hennessy, where he was responsible for the development of their international wine portfolio in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

Founder/Owners Lee Hudson and Cristina SP Hudson will continue to be active and engaged in Hudson Napa Valley as Willmert takes leadership of the company.

“When I started growing Napa Valley wine grapes here in 1981, with winemakers and growers who I respected and admired, my measure of excellence and success was local. Today this is no longer sufficient; our yardstick must be international,” said Lee Hudson. “it is now time to redefine my role at Hudson and re-write my own job description. It gives me great pleasure to warmly welcome Peter to Hudson Napa Valley as our CEO, and the new era of leadership he will bring to our teams and our craft.”

Willmert will lead a management team at Hudson Napa Valley that includes Alex Hanson, finance and HR; Clayton Kirchhoff, winemaking; Kelly MacLeod, vineyard operations; Brittany McKahn, direct to consumer efforts; and Elisabeth Wetzel, hospitality.

Celebrate Chardonnay at Meritage


Meritage and Vista Collina Resort host a Chardonnay Classic on May 20-22. 

Patron Foundation, a non-profit organization with a mission to support the hospitality industry, will present the inaugural Chardonnay Classic at the premier Meritage Resort and Spa and Vista Collina Resort in Napa, May 20-22.  

The Chardonnay Classic will bring together sommeliers, wine aficionados, industry experts, and wineries to celebrate the "winemakers grape," with a  commitment to donate $25,000 to the SommFoundation.

It includes 22 tasting experiences,  seminars, lunches, and dinners for$2,000. 

The tasting seminars at the Chardonnay Classic include Around the World with Chardonnay Tasting of 2005 Louis Latour Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru, 2012 Pol Roger Blanc De Blanc Champagne, and 2018 Gaja Rossj-Bass.

Another tasting, the State of the Vintage, will provide consumers opportunities to taste Northern California barrel samples of the 2020 vintage, alongside the same wines of the 2018 and 2019 vintage. This vintage comparison will feature wines from Hartford Court, Martiana, and Joseph Phelps Vineyards.

While the focus of the weekend is Chardonnay, guests will also have plenty of opportunities to delve into other varietals. The Old World, New World tasting features the classic grapes of France and their new world counterparts and includes a wide range of varieties. Participants can attend the Behind the Bottle to learn about and taste wines from producers such as Château Montrose, Château Leoville Barton, Domaine Méo-Camuzet, Domaine Michel Niellon, Domaine Jean-Louis Chave, Luciano Sandrone, and M. Chapoutier. 

For more information, visit

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