Silver Oak's Justin Meyer Branches Out to Mendocino County

Mar 29, 1999
Justin Meyer, co-owner of Silver Oak Cellars in the Napa and Alexander valleys, has purchased a little-known winery, the currently defunct Souzao in Mendocino County, that made Port-style wines.

Silver Oak bottles a small amount of Meyer Family Port in addition to its renowned Cabernet Sauvignon. However, the Port-style wine is actually made in the Central Valley town of Lodi. "I started Meyer Family Port for my kids," Meyer said. "I was looking for a home for it."

After watching real-estate prices skyrocket in Napa and Sonoma counties, Meyer considered property in Mendocino County. "It was cheaper than the $4 million price tags I was seeing in Napa," he said. The vintner declined to say how much he paid for Souzao (pronounced Soo-zauw), which was in foreclosure at the time of purchase. The Souzao property includes 170 unplanted acres, half of which are suitable for grapes.

Meyer will plant experimental plots of such grapes as Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc, which he hopes will offer him an option for both dessert and dry wines. "I think it's a good investment," he explained. "But I'm playing it by ear. I'll either hold on to it or sell it. I hope my son [who is currently in college] will take over." Meanwhile, Meyer plans to lease out his new winery space while he pursues the experimental plantings.

To learn more about Justin Meyer and Silver Oak:

  • June 15, 1998
    Making The Rounds

  • December 15, 1996
    A Calling for Cabernet
    His first devotion was to the Church, but Justin Meyer now presides over a cult of Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon lovers

  • December 15, 1996
    Silver Oak's Style

  • May 15, 1994
    Grapevine

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