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Touring & Tasting WINE FOOD TRAVEL Featured Winery: Merryvale Vineyards

Merryvale Vineyards is sustaining "the fine art of living well." The first winery established in the Napa Valley following the repeal of Prohibition produces world renowned wines with minimal environmental impact. This family-owned winery is driven not only by a love of European-style winemaking that is blended in the Napa Valley's fresh charm, but also by a moral responsibility to be stewards of this historic land.

Merryvale Proprietor Jack Schlatter's early dedication to utilize all of the winery's resources in order to produce grapes of uncompromised quality naturally led the winery to take an eco-conscious stance. Today, daily activities at the winery are overseen by his son and President Rene Schlatter. With the help of Winemakers Sean Foster and Graham Wehmeier and Vice President of Vineyard Operations Remi Cohen, a well-known advocate of sustainable farming practices, Merryvale Vineyards has reduced its environmental footprint without sacrificing taste from their award-winning ultra-premium wines.

Sustainable agriculture is practiced at all three estate vineyards. From the notable Bordeaux varietal grapes draped along the high ridge top of Solstice Vineyard, to the rolling hills of Juliana Vineyard in Pope Valley planted to Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, to the luscious Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Chardonnay produced in the foggy Carneros Stanly Ranch Vineyard, the winery's ecological commitment has earned Merryvale Napa Green Vineyard, Napa Green Winery, and Bay Area Green Business certifications. Set within the Stanly Ranch Vineyard, Merryvale's new Starmont winery is as green as it is state-of-the-art. Renewable energy is captured in solar panels that cover the south-facing roof surfaces of this 64,000 square-foot facility.

A sunny day is no longer just good for the grapes. One can sip and breathe easy as this clean energy spares the air of over 472 tons of harmful greenhouse gases annually. However, going green does not stop here. Remi Cohen relays, "Merryvale's commitment to green farming and sustainability is a celebration of the natural balance and harmony of the vineyards." In order to achieve this goal, environmentally sound practices such as water recycling, composting, cover cropping for erosion control, and building bird boxes for natural pest management are followed every step of the way.

Green and clean, Merryvale wines are expertly crafted with an attention to detail that is internationally recognized. The unique diversity of the three vineyards provides a robust selection of three wine levels to choose from, taste, and enjoy. Prestige wines such as the refreshingly complex Silhouette and stately Bordeaux blend Profile, establish Merryvale as a Napa powerhouse. The Starmont and Signature wines range from everyday wine to the truly exceptional. However, throughout it all, quality remains constant and therefore Merryvale never fails to have every occasion covered.

From the Tasting Cellar encased by French oak barrels radiating a working winery feel to the historic and impossibly elegant Cask Room, Merryvale wines are savored as much in these enchanting settings as in private. This choice atmosphere, coupled with uniquely satisfying wines, seats social responsibility at the head of the table. By all means, Merryvale Vineyards is living well.

To see the entire article with wine recommendations, click here: TouringandTasting.com

Updated: Tuesday, June 07, 2011