News Release: Monday, September 25th, 2017
Gabrielle Collection is a series of boutique, luxury Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons and Proprietary Cabernet blends, that are invitingly and food complementary wines. They show the artistry of Winemaker Gabrielle in their balance, suppleness and distinction as she brings the magic of the soil and sun into a glass of wine.
Gabrielle believes blending varietals and vineyards achieves the most expressive wine. Drawing from the organically farmed estate vineyard in the Oak Knoll Appellation as well as other from select sustainably farmed vineyards, where the climate and soil are best suited to produce each varietal perfectly, she creates wines with richness and complexity.
We believe in a team approach to winemaking, as collaboration produces excellence.
Head of Winemaking and Master Blender
Gabrielle Leonhard was born in Germany, to a family with a long history of wine professionals and collectors. Her grandfather traveled the world exploring food and wines as a wine and food critic. Her mother was a wine chemist in Bordeaux, a food chemist and completed cooking school with a chef from the esteemed Cordon Blue Cooking School in France. A passion for quality ingredients and food preparation was a family heritage. Food and wine pairings were an ongoing topic at the family table. Gabrielle always dreamed of making wine.
Studies include Napa College/UC Davis viticulture program, sensory evaluation and olive oil sensory evaluation.
Wayne heads the production and harvest activities and is part of the blending team. He finds wonderful vineyard fruit sources and assures that fruit for Gabrielle Collection wines is top quality. He worked for his grandfather in the vineyard and cellar growing up and learned old world winemaking methods first hand.
Studies include Napa College/UC Davis viticulture program.
Kyle stresses harvest practices of selective picking: multiple passes to pluck fruit only at its optimum. He works closely with the vineyard crews to gently coax the flavors from the soil. Kyle is responsible for all the technical aspects of winemaking: picking decisions, fermentation, barrel selection, blending trials, bottling.
A native of Napa Valley, Kyle previously worked at San Clement Winery and Robert Craig Winery as Assistant Winemaker, producing several vintages of highly rated Cabernets. He manages the production of high-end boutique wines at the custom Crush facility, Bin to Bottle.
Viticulture: Wine is made in the vineyard. Everyone at Gabrielle Collection is dedicated to this principle.
Patrick Riggs, Jack Neal and Son’s lead Viticulturist and Head of Organic Farming, is the consulting vineyard manager of the estate vineyard. In collaboration with Wayne & Gabrielle, he oversees vine health and quality and implements strategies to keep the vineyards free from damaging pests and disease. Every year, we meet to make farming practice decisions with the goal of producing top grape quality that expresses the unique soil properties of the estate vineyard. Each vine is treated individually in regard to water; fertilizer and pest management needs, always focusing on organic and sustainable practices. Patrick earned a BA at the University of Wisconsin, Soil Science and Bacteriology and Masters degree in Plant Pathology from U.C. Davis.
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In 2000, Gabrielle made the decision to take the final step in adopting organic and sustainable farming and lifestyle practices. She attended seminars, hired consultants to assure that all aspects of this decision would be correctly implemented. After over 25 years in the horticulture industry already using non-pesticide practices, she wanted to incorporate the universality of sustainable practices, which include the land, workers, business practices and the environment.
“The entire estate functions as an integrated community: the grapes provide delicious wine, which pairs with fruits, vegetables, herbs and honey cultivated from the gardens, then gardens give health back to the vineyard. Providing housing to our workers strengthens the sense of a stable community and commitment to the land. All benefit!” -Gabrielle
Organic Practices: The vine cuttings are mulched and returned to the vineyard as compost, the garden plants and vineyard vines receive only organic fertilizers and sprays. After a decade of farming organically, the results are rewarding- no disease or insects have been present. The natural balancing of a diverse ecco system is working!
Minimal Use of Sulfur: The vineyard only receives sulfur treatment for a month- mostly in May, in comparison to historically traditional treatments from April through June/ July. Stylet oil is applied February-April, botanical mildew eating microorganisms are applied after May. This minimizes sulfur exposure to the environment as well assures that all sulfur residue will be absent at time of harvest. Minimal sulfur is added to barreled wine- just enough to keep the wine free of damaging organisms. The result is less environmental impact and less exposure to those who have sulfur intolerance.
Bio-Diversity: The soil attributes are accented by the bio-diversity of surrounding herb gardens, fruit trees and mature Eucalyptus trees. We believe that this diversity has maintained the excellent health in the vineyard- we have not had disease or insect pressure since planting in 2000- the entire estate transitioned to organic and sustainable practices that year.
Stewardship: The estate borders Dry Creek, a tributary into the Napa River, a major water source of the San Francisco Bay. We are very vigorous with our stewardship of the creek, exceeding organic regulations, taking into consideration the environment as a whole. For example, we use organic Stylet Oil instead of organic sulfur to spray against mildew in the spring as long as possible, and then convert to wetable powder. This avoids the sulfur drift of air-applied sulfur. Better for the creek, better for us!