Shafer Vineyards traces its beginnings to 1972 when John Shafer left a 23-year career in the publishing industry and, with his family, moved to the Napa Valley to pursue a second career in wine. After purchasing a 210-acre estate in Napa Valley's Stags Leap District, the Shafer family faced the arduous task of replanting the existing vineyards, which dated to the 1920s, and terracing the steep and rocky hillsides, eventually expanding vineyard acreage to its current 50 acres. It was the lure of wine country farming that inspired John Shafer in 1972 to make a career change, leaving behind 23 years of corporate experience to begin work in a new field. And in the fields, or rather the vineyards, is exactly where John began his new career. Adopting a hands-on approach from day one, John could be seen throughout the mid-70s riding on his tractor as he tilled the soil of his family's new estate in the foothills of the Stags Leap Palisades.
Shafer Vineyards, Red Shoulder Ranch
The source of our Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay is a vineyard draped across rolling hills within sight of San Francisco Bay. Here
they've planted a blend of five Chardonnay clones that give them small clusters, low yields and abundant flavors.
"The long, cool growing season in Carneros allows the fruit to mature slowly and evenly, letting
them wait for the right moment when sugar and acid achieve balance," says Doug Shafer.
The vineyard name honors the red-shouldered hawks and other birds of prey that keep the root-eating gopher population under control.
Shafer Chardonnay Napa Valley Carneros Red Shoulder Ranch 2004
The Red Shoulder Ranch vineyard in the Carneros region offers a long, consistently cool growing season, which is ideal for retaining acidity in Chardonnay fruit. an abundant, full-bodied fruit bowl of honeysuckle, peach, apricot, and flavors of the tropics. The underlying acidity, resulting from our cool-weather vineyard site in Carneros, is nicely integrated with warm, toasty oak. To focus on varietal flavors, Shafer uses only wild yeast for fermentation and does not put the wine through malolactic fermentation.
Shafer’s Carneros vineyard is home to countless gophers who love to feast on young vine roots. To contain this problem, Shafer has erected owl nesting boxes and hawk perches to encourage day and night rodent patrol.
“The Red-shouldered hawks and other birds of prey do such an outstanding job, we named the vineyard in their honor,” says Doug Shafer.
Rated 94 Wine Spectator