St. Supéry Vineyards & Winery
Two vineyards—one in Rutherford at the heart of Napa Valley's Cabernet Sauvignon country, the other, Dollarhide, in a serene corner of Napa Valley—are the source of St. Supéry wines, most notably, celebrated Cabernet Sauvignons and Sauvignon Blanc.
St. Supéry Vineyards & Winery is owned by the Skalli family of France. Robert Skalli's family has made wine for several generations in the South of France. While traveling in Napa Valley during the 1970s, Robert was inspired to create an estate winery in Napa Valley to make wines of distinct and respectable character. Dollarhide, an historic cattle and horse ranch nestled among the hills of Napa Valley, was planted with the noble grape varieties of Bordeaux, France in the early 1980s. St. Supéry's Rutherford property became the home of the winery and first class Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards.
Today St. Supéry wines are enjoyed by people around the world in fine restaurants and during celebrations at home. The winery is a respected member of the Napa Valley vintner community and is a responsible steward of the 1500+ acres we own in this appellation known to be among the finest wine regions in the world.
Robert Skalli, owner and Chairman of the Board of Skalli Family Wines Americas, comes from a longtime French viticultural family; a family that has been driven by a passion for vines and wines, understanding and working with the land and creating new wines in the South of France for three generations.
The Skalli family got its start in the wine business in Algeria in the 1920’s when Robert’s grandfather Robert-Elie established vineyards in Oran, Mascara, Mostaganem and Ain Temouchent. The vineyards were planted with traditional grapes from the South of France: Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, and Alicante. The entire Skalli family, including Robert’s father Francis, cultivated and vinified full-bodied, generous wines made from low yielding vines which were eagerly sought by French and Swiss wine merchants.
In 1961, Robert’s father Francis Skalli fell in love with an untouched region on the west coast of Corsica called Terra Vecchia. At the same time in the Languedoc region, he set up a company dedicated to importing wines from Algeria – later known as ‘Les Chais du Sud.’
In 1974 at the age of 24, Robert took up his family’s vocation and joined the business in the Languedoc region and Corsica. He invigorated ‘Les Chais du Sud’ by developing wine maturing cellars and a winery for making Languedoc wines. His travels quickly lead him to understand that survival would depend on improving wine quality in an increasingly international and competitive market, so he turned his efforts to revitalizing the ancient vineyards of the Languedoc. From the early 1980’s, improving the wines of the South of France became his life’s work.
A trip to California revealed many similarities between California and sunny Languedoc. He felt particularly at home in the Napa Valley. Robert returned to France with two dreams: improve the quality of wines coming from the South of France and create a top quality wine from the Napa Valley. In 1982, Skalli purchased and began planting the Dollarhide ranch in Napa Valley; the winery was built on a second estate vineyard in Rutherford and opened late in 1989 as St. Supéry Vineyards & Winery.
During that same period, Robert Skalli laid down a challenge in Languedoc. In order to bring out the full potential locked in the region and orient it towards quality production, he believed the region should put its energy behind developing varietally-labeled wines, a concept whose success he had observed in California. This approach, however, was a radical departure to the long standing French tradition built on the appellation d’dorigine contrôlée system governing most high quality French wines. Robert traveled constantly throughout the Langudoc persuading growers to take the plunge by planting new varieties such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Together with Jacques Gravegeal, chairman of southern France’s Vins de Pays d’Oc association, Robert helped create the official ‘Vin de Pays d’Oc’ designation and the first French varietal wines under his new Fortant brand.
In 2000 and 2001, Skalli Family Wines made news again by taking over one of the most highly reputed stockists of wines from the South of France, ‘Caves Notre Dame.’ The family also acquired the Languedoc’s prime Domaine du Siléne estate and Maison Bouachon, a Châteauneuf-du-Pape producer with a 100-year pedigree. Robert has also developed relationships with a top wine making estate in Provence, to fulfill his ambition of having a portfolio that represents all of the South of France.
In the fall of 2007, he established Skalli Family Wines Americas, a US import company focused on the wines of the South of France. With his passion and permanent quest for quality and his eagerness to create French wines that satisfy the desires of consumers all over the world, Robert Skalli has initiated a cultural and structural revolution in the Languedoc region that has already proven successful and holds great promise for the future.
Originally from Australia, Michael is the 6th generation to grow up on his family’s vineyard in the Barossa Valley. Michael comes to St. Supéry from Wattle Creek, a Sonoma property in Alexander Valley. Scholz is not a newcomer to the Napa Valley or St. Supéry. He was previously winemaker for the Napa Valley winery from 1996 to 2001. During his tenure, he created the distinctive style that has made St. Supéry the benchmark producer of Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc. The Cabernet Sauvignons Michael created for St. Supéry also garnered critical acclaim with five Cabernets securing 90+ scores from the Wine Spectator. Oenologist and consultant, Michel Rolland says, “Michael Scholz is on my list of great winemakers from around the world.”
St. Supéry Estate acquired Dollarhide ranch in 1982, a property that served as a cattle and horse ranch since the late 1800s. Dollarhide is a 1,500 acre property with steep and rolling hills, some flat lands and seven lakes. St. Supéry Estate has planted fewer than 500 acres in grape vines at Dollarhide, so most of the property remains in a natural state, and is home to a diverse collection of flora and fauna. With elevations ranging from 600 to 1,200 feet above sea level, the diverse terrain and unique microclimate at Dollarhide are especially accommodating to Bordeaux grape varieties – those traditionally grown in Bordeaux, France – particularly Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. This estate vineyard is the origin of most St. Supéry Estate wines and gives our wines distinct characters derived from the Dollarhide terroir.
St. Supéry Estate's winemaker and vineyard team have a broad selection of soils and topography to choose from when selecting ideal vineyard sites at Dollarhide. Each parcel of vines is planted with fruit quality and distinct character in mind. These parcels are then farmed individually so that the vines will thrive in their unique locations. Our team is able to match the right soils with the optimum combination of rootstock, clone selection, and cultivation practices. The diversity of terrain at Dollarhide results in a wide selection of fruit for our winemaker to work with when crafting St. Supéry's estate wines including our Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, the Élu and Virtú Bordeaux-style blends and the Dollarhide Estate single vineyard designate wines.
Napa Valley's typical warm days and cool nights are slightly exaggerated at Dollarhide because of the elevation and the distance from the moderating influence of the San Francisco Bay. This climate yields ripe and luscious fruit with crisp acidity – well-balanced grapes that produce well-balanced wines. The dry growing season forces the vines to struggle just enough that the fruit develops concentrated and complex flavors.
St. Supéry's Rutherford Estate Vineyard surrounds the winery in this celebrated wine growing region along Hwy 29. Thirty-five acres are planted with red Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. The climate and soils of Rutherford are ideal for these grape varieties, which are used for our red Bordeaux-style blend, Élu, as well as St. Supéry's Rutherford Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, two of our exceptional single vineyard designates.
Our Rutherford Estate Vineyard is on the "Rutherford Bench" of mineral-rich alluvial soils of sandy clay loam from the Mayacamas Mountains. Deep, well-drained soil allows the grapevine's root system to mine for nutrients and water which yields complex and concentrated flavors in the fruit.
With roughly 500 acres planted to vines on Dollarhide and Rutherford Estate Vineyards, St. Supéry Estate is a major vineyard owner in Napa Valley. St. Supéry wines are estate grown and estate bottled — created by St. Supéry from start to finish, with no purchased fruit, offsite production, storage, or other outside influences. We have complete control over how our grapes are grown, and we strive diligently to keep our land pristine.
St. Supéry Estate's newly renovated winery was designed to offer our guests a variety of unique experiences. In addition to several tasting options and Interactive Wine Classes, our guests can enjoy a birds-eye view of the entire winemaking process. Our Fine Art Gallery features changing exhibitions throughout the year. Stroll around our grounds to see our demonstration vineyard and feast your eyes on our gardens.