Pride Mountain Vineyards, one of the rising stars of California's North Coast, is nearing completion of the 18,000-square-foot caves that will store its wines. Pride, which currently keeps its barrels at Kornell Champagne Cellars in Calistoga, is scheduled to occupy the new caves in June.
The facility will cost about $1.4 million and have storage space for 1,800 barrels. "This will allow us to better control the process, to monitor everything," said Jim Pride, co-owner of the winery with his wife, Carolyn. "We have 26 separate vineyards, and we keep them in separate lots to evaluate them. We don't blend until the very end. [These caves] will allow us to walk in all day, every day, to check up on the wines."
Pride makes about 15,000 cases annually from its Spring Mountain property. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot form the bulk of the production, but the winery also makes Chardonnay and Viognier.
Planning for the caves began in 1995, but bureaucratic battles with Napa County delayed construction until June 1999. The problem is that the vineyard straddles the Napa-Sonoma county line, forcing the winery to juggle the sometimes-conflicting regulations of the two counties.
"At one point, we brought the two counties together, and the Napa supervisor suggested they move the county line [so that the whole property was in Napa]," said Pride. "The Sonoma supervisor said, 'Forget it. You Napa guys are always saying Sonoma doesn't make great wine, and now you want to take this vineyard that does make great wine. No way.' "
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