Feature Coverage

Happy 50th anniversary Schramsberg

“The grove of olive trees that covered his head weren’t as tall as they are now when Hugh Davies was a boy growing up among them. The area in which he welcomed guests to his winery’s 50th anniversary celebration – a tree-lined grove with flanking vineyards – was, in his childhood, not an area to receive business guests and associates, it was part of his family upbringing. ‘We called it the picnic area,’ he said.

“The area now known as Jack and Jamie’s Grove, named for Hugh Davies’ parents and the founders of Schramsberg Vineyards, played host to some 200 guests during the Schramsberg 50th Anniversary Celebration Monday night.

“Hugh Davies was born in 1965, the year his parents found the Calistoga property on Diamond Mountain. ‘They pursued a niche that was singular,’ Davies said of his parents’ dream to create a premier American sparkling wine house.

“They wanted to be there with their sparkling wine,’ he said. The first wine they released in 1967 was $6.75 per bottle, and five years later their Schramsberg 1969 Blanc de Blancs was served at the State dinner  ‘Toast to Peace’ hosted by President Richard Nixon for the Premier Chou En-lai in Beijing. It was the first time any American wine was served at any White House or State event, at home or abroad.

“It wouldn’t be the last time Schramsberg wine would be served at the White House or at other dignitary events. Making a fine sparkling wine in America wasn’t seen as a good business venture back then. ‘They wouldn’t listen to ‘no,’ Davies said.

“Davies took the opportunity of the evening to recognize several longtime employees, a handful of current and former winemakers — such as Keith Hock, Todd Graff, Harold Osborne and others — family, board members, restaurateurs, wine sellers and wine writers for supporting the Schramsberg and J. Davies brands.

“He also asked for influence by those who have it for Schramsberg Vineyards, which has been named one of five nominees for Wine Enthusiast’s Wine Star Award for American Winery of the Year, the winery’s third nomination for the prestigious honor in five years. It is the only Northern California winery on the list of nominees.

“Wine Enthusiast said of Schramsberg that the winery ‘has long topped California’s list of incredible sparkling wine producers. Acclaimed for its range of bubbles, from bruts to vintage reserves, Schramsberg is consistently reaching new heights.’”

“The evening welcomed guests with generous pours of 2007 J. Schram Blanc de Blanc and 2007 J. Schram Rose paired with Cindy Pawlcyn prepared hors d’oeuvres such as Ahi tuna poke, avocado and wakame on a crispy wonton; crispy parmesan basket with creamy goat cheese and burgundy truffle; and smoked salmon gougere trout roe, dill and watercress aioli.

“The first course, foie gras ballotin en croute with late Summer stonefruit chutney, was paired with a 1999 J. Schram Late Disgorged. The second course offered two J. Davies’ pinot noirs – 2013 Ferrington and 2013 Nobles – with roasted wild king salmon with herbed lentils, heirloom carrots, caramelized baby turns and mustard sauce.

“The J. Davies Estate Cabernet Sauvignon showcased the third course with a 2012 and a 2005 estate pairing with a duo of Emigh Ranch lamb; wood oven shoulder and grilled chop, served with late summer ratatouille and grilled olive bread. Dessert paired a 2011 Cremant Demi-sec with a Gravenstein apple rum and raisin crostate with whipped creme fraiche.”

Anne Ernst, September 23, 2015
Happy 50th anniversary Schramsberg