The Jarvis winery
born from my lifes experiences. Early experiences in Oklahoma
pretty well charted my lifes direction. Being raised in that
landlocked state stimulated my interest in sea travel and in tropical
vegetation, both of which were missing in Oklahoma. Being a dry state,
there was no wine in Oklahoma. Travel, particularly in France, stimulated
my interest in wine which eventually led to my founding a winery.
I gained my initial interest in geology from my father, an independent
oil man. This interest was further whetted by a fabulous course in
geology at the University of Oklahoma. This interest in geology led
to my building a cave, which houses the winery.
A writer for a wine magazine wrote the following article: William
and Leticia Jarvis have an abiding love of the finer things in life.
They love wines as a celebration and as part of the finer things in
life. It might well be said that the same internal gyroscope that
allows the Jarvis family to support their interest in opera allowed
them to quietly evolve rather than thunder into building a winery.
There was no initial quest to find the optimum growing conditions,
plant a flag and proclaim, Here is where we will build our world-class
winery. Rather, they located their weekend home in a beautiful
spot high above the Napa Valley. The soils of their mountain retreat
were of well-drained volcanic origin. They noted that the altitude
and closeness to the San Francisco Bay brought a coolness to the site,
and deduced that a vineyard would do quite well up there.
The writer continued: From these initial observations, a vineyard
was intelligently planted and the rest literally fell into place.
The grapes turned out to be of the highest quality. If the grapes
were this good, why not go to the next step and estate bottle their
own wine? A brilliant solo performance calls for an encore. So too
did the grapes of Jarvis Vineyards call for vinification, high above
the valley floor.
This is how the star was born. It was not destined or predetermined
by some marketing executives with strategies and hyperbole. Say what
you will now about the striking Jarvis caves, but the beginnings of
this wine and this winery were humble and unforeseen, and fortunate
to have been both guided and well-nurtured to the present state.
In the final analysis, the estate, the caves, and the wine itself
are simply a result of an outreach of an individual who loves the
finer things in life and wishes to help these things come into being
for lifes pleasure and enjoyments sake alone.
They didnt set out to have the most original and interesting
winery in the Napa Valley, even though some people believe it did
turn out that way. The winery was the result of a mindset of building
things right and in good taste, using a technical background, travel
experience, and finally, very important, the moneyover $20 million.
This amounted to about $300 per square foot of cave, pretty expensive
space in 1992, but some really elegant space at that. Of course, this
includes the cost of landscaping, the creation of a beautiful meadow
leading up to the cave entrance, plus all the infrastructure for a
yet to come above ground stone building.