Winemaker, Envy Wines
Mark Carter’s circuitous journey to the Napa valley was inspired by a love for the vineyard life and a passion to produce premium California wines. Mark hails from the far northern hamlet of Eureka where he started his career as builder, renovating historical Victorian homes. A modern day renaissance man, Mark’s enthusiasm in food and wine led him to open the Carter House Inn Hotel and Restaurant 301, where he built a Wine Spectator Grand Award winning wine list and attracted the company of many great winemakers and chefs. It was there where Mark met Fred Schrader and from their friendship and Schrader’s tutelage, Carter Cellars was born.
Country born: United States
Education: With the help of friend and winemaker Fred Schrader, Mark gradually got his rookie winery owner questions answered. Where does a guy buy barrels? Who grows the best fruit? What should my label look like? With the help of Schrader, Dan Duckhorn, and Nils Venge, Mark tracked down a few parcels of fruit that he liked, and in 1998 he and Venge made the first two hundred or so cases of Carter Cellars Cabernet.
Years in the wine industry: 10-15 years
Honors / Awards:
Since 1996, Carter Cellars has produced Cabernet Cauvignon from the most premium vineyard blocks in the Napa Valley and has been honored with numerous accolades, none less extraordinary than a 100 points awarded by Robert Parker for carter cellars 2002 Beckstoffer To Kalon Cabernet Sauvignon.
Carter Cellars’ winemaking begins with the simple idea of matching the best grapes from world-renowned vineyard sources. With our various vineyard sources, the cultivation of our grapes is an arduous dance which includes limiting vine yields, beneficial trellising techniques, integrating pest management in the vineyard and harvesting completely by hand at the peak moment of ripeness. All of this ensures that the grapes we use are optimal for creating our limited production, high quality wines.
Our practices in the Winery are just as exacting. The small lots of grapes brought into the Winery are hand sorted to remove any that are not up to our exacting standards. Then the grapes are pressed gently to extract the pure juice from the perfectly ripe grapes while leaving behind any bitter oils and harsh tannins contained in the seeds or skins. After fermentation the wines are stored in new French Oak barrels for twenty two months.
The winemaking consists of as little intervention as possible, limiting the addition of sulfur and refining the wine through gravity. The wines are allowed to mature and fully integrate with the new French Oak creating a product that is true to its varietal character and sense of place.