John’s Upper Seven
2021 Cabernet Sauvignon
In the mid-1970s, John Shafer planted his first seven acres on the hillside property the family purchased in late 1972. Hillsides hadn’t been planted in Napa Valley since the late 1800s and there was little knowledge of how to do so successfully. John learned by doing. By 1978 this vineyard block was the first on our hillsides ready for harvest. Even 45 years later, the Cabernet Sauvignon from that first vintage is remarkable, showing delicate, elegant aromas and flavors along with a verve and brightness. Fruit from John’s Upper Seven block remains to this day a mainstay in Hillside Select.
Winemaker, Shafer Vineyards
When I graduated from UC Davis, I knew I wanted to work for a smaller winery that would give me the chance to be a "hands-on" winemaker, getting involved in all aspects of running a cellar. I had a lot of excitement getting into this career and that excitement has stayed with me.
Country born: United States
Education: B.S. in Fermentation Science from U.C. Davis
Years in the wine industry: 30+ years
Honors / Awards:
"Winemaker of the Year" - Wine & Spirits magazine; inducted into the Hispanic Scholarship Fund's Hispanic Hall of Fame at The White House
Coming into this more than 30 years ago, I thought that winemaking happened underneath the roof of the cellar. Today who I am as a winemaker has umbrellaed in a big way. Winemaking starts in January with pruning and continues throughout the year. I'm not just selecting the best fruit, I'm selecting the best corks, the right barrel staves, ensuring that the bottling line is working at top efficiency. What I've also learned is to let the land dictate the best grape variety and the style of the wine that ends up in the bottle.
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