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News

GAYLON M. LAWRENCE JR. ACQUIRES ICONIC HEITZ WINE CELLARS IN NAPA VALLEY

 In a joint statement with Kathleen Heitz Myers, Mr. Lawrence said, “I’ve enjoyed coming to the Napa Valley for some time and have long admired the wine industry from afar. Our family was fortunate to have an extraordinary opportunity to acquire such a remarkable family business with Heitz Cellars. We’re very excited about the winery’s bright future.” 

Mrs. Heitz Myers said, “Our family founded Heitz Wine Cellars in 1961, and we have treasured our role in helping to shape the history of Napa Valley winemaking for three generations. We feel this is the right time for us to pass this rich legacy to another family. When we met with Gaylon, it seemed a perfect match. Fundamentally, in the wine business we are all farmers and with the Lawrence family’s history in agriculture we feel Heitz Cellars will be in good hands.” 

Mr. Lawrence went on to say, “The entire Heitz family were true pioneers in the Napa Valley, setting new quality benchmarks and earning international recognition for their wines. We are committed to the same core values of fine winemaking, and we look forward to advancing the legacy of Heitz Cellars for generations to come. It is a special company in which we take pride in the stewardship of the legacy.” 

Mr. Lawrence announced that wine industry veteran Robert Boyd has been appointed as President and CEO of Heitz Cellars. 

Mr. Boyd said, “In my years in the wine industry I have watched the developments at Heitz with interest. When I was approached about the role, the chance to help with the transition from one family to another was intriguing to me. I look forward to working with Gaylon and his family and to safeguarding the Heitz family legacy and all that goes with it.”

 

About Gaylon M. Lawrence, Jr. 

Gaylon M. Lawrence, Jr. and his family own a diverse group of companies in the agriculture and banking sectors, among others. They operate their companies with a goal of long term value expansion and an emphasis on owning and operating businesses with scale. Mr. Lawrence and his family have more than 75 years of experience operating large farming enterprises. Currently, they own and manage land in Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi and Florida, where their holdings include one of the state’s largest citrus grove management operations. Additionally, Mr. Lawrence and his family hold a stake in one of the largest privately owned HVAC distributorships, headquartered in California, as well as own seven community banks with 31 offices located in Northeast Arkansas, Southeast Missouri and Tennessee.

Wine Institute Elects 2012-2013 Officers of Board:
Kathleen Heitz Myers to serve as board chairman

   SAN FRANCISCO – Wine Institute, the public policy advocacy group representing nearly 1,000 California      wineries, announced the election of Kathleen Heitz Myers of Heitz Wine Cellars in St. Helena as its board chairman for 2012-2013. Other board officers elected included: Chris Fehrnstrom of Constellation Wines U.S. in San Francisco, first vice chairman; Carolyn Wente of Wente Family Estates in Livermore, second vice chairman; Greg Coleman of E. & J. Gallo Winery in Modesto, treasurer; and Margie Healy of Korbel Champagne Cellars in Guerneville, secretary. Robert P. (Bobby) Koch remains president and CEO of Wine Institute.

 

"I am honored to support the Wine Institute's work on state, federal and international public policy. We will continue to focus on defeating tax increase proposals, expanding direct-to-consumer shipping, enhancing our wine exports, and promoting the adoption of sustainable winegrowing practices," said Heitz Myers. "As vintners and grapegrowers, we have a long-term commitment to California with deep roots in many communities. We recognize the importance of communicating to the public that the wine industry generates 330,000 jobs and nearly $62 billion in economic impact to California annually."

Heitz Myers has been president of Heitz Wine Cellars since 1998. As the second generation to lead the family business, she has continued to advance the winery's international reputation. She is a dedicated advocate for California wines and is highly regarded for her leadership as past president of the Napa Valley Vintners, past chair of Auction Napa Valley, member of the Land Trust of Napa County Advisory Council and past president of the Napa Valley Exposition board of directors. Wine Institute Press Release - June 13, 2012.

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History

Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most distinctive wines in Napa Valley.

The distinctiveness lies in its unique style, with profound aromas of mint and eucalyptus derived from the large eucalyptus trees shading the vineyard. On the palate the wine charms, as it is less jammed than most Napa Cabernets. It is reminiscent of the classic Bordeaux style often associated with Mouton-Rothschild and has even been called the Mouton of Napa. The Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon has the most esteemed history of any single vineyard wine in Napa. It is an iconic wine. While many other successful wineries that were started in the 1960s have lost their flair and status on the market, Heitz Martha’s Vineyard is still capable of rivaling the modern cult wines.

The best evidence of its greatness was shown in the full vertical Heitz Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon tasting in June, where all of its 35 vintages ever produced were evaluated. The results were simply amazing, with the wines reaching an average score of 92.1 points. It is fair to say that there are not many other wineries in the world that can provide as stable a vertical. The wines have a great balance, elegance and continuity. This is not only the result of a great site but also great winemaking.

 

Lots of things have changed since Joe and Alice shared the first bottle of Heitz wine in 1961, but our core values --- quality, integrity and innovation --- have stood the test of time.

A glass of wine is our way of celebrating the best times in life. That means celebrating the big things, of course, but more often the small.

"In our family, most of life's memorable moments have involved sharing a bottle of fine wine with friends and family. Many of the personal and business relationships that we still treasure after three generations started around our dinner table.

When people choose Heitz Cellars, they envision a classic wine and pure elegance that they can count on year after year. That is the heart and soul of our heritage. Our practices and methods have evolved over the years, but the quality of our wines and the integrity of our approach to the business --- that is going to stay the same."    - Kathleen Heitz Myers, President

 

The Heitz family's vision of winemaking spans three generations of dedication to excellence. We believe that true artistry sometimes requires restraint. We strive for the delicate balance between science and nature's bounty that allows our wines to express the genuine character of the varietal and to reflect their vineyard's unique geography within the Napa Valley.

"For people around the world who love to celebrate life with Heitz wines, we will continue to polish the legacy of Heitz Wine Cellars." The Heitz Family

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Vineyards

The vineyard has always been in the hands of the Heitz family – first Joe’s and then son David’s.

Philosophy in winemaking “An important part of the legacy of Martha’s Vineyard is showcasing the authentic varietal character of this incomparable Cabernet clone, with its layers of complexity and remarkable overall balance. Through the extended five-year ageing process, the wine consistently and elegantly portrays the pure flavours and unique characteristics of Martha’s Vineyard. We continually strive to maintain a balance between innovation and a commitment to our winemaking heritage.

While we have made subtle refinements through the years, Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet remains known as a true classic for its consistency in quality and style.” Kathleen Heitz Myers sums History of the place ‘The wine unites’ goes the old saying and two bottles of Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon certainly united two families in a way that the wine lovers around the globe will appreciate. It was all thanks to the generosity of the people who sold their site and house to Tom and Martha May in 1963. The Heitz bottles left as a welcome gift appealed to the May’s palates and they visited the Heitz Cellars. There they met Joe and Alice Heitz and the lifetime bond was created. Later, the handshake sealed the lifetime contract between the families,which ensured the Heitz’s had exclusive rights to the fruit from the May’s vineyard. 

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Winemaking

When Joe had acquired the first batch of fruit from the vineyard he immediately understood that he had something precious in his hands and that it deserved to be vinified and bottled exclusively. The first vineyard designated wine in the history of the United States was born from the harvest of 1966.

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Inside information

Where is Martha's Vineyard?" Here is the correct answer for wine aficionados.

Martha's Vineyard is 34 gently sloping acres on the western side of the Napa Valley just south of Oakville. This verdant niche near the Mayacamas foothills soaks up the morning sun and then cools down a bit earlier than the valley floor.

Fanning out across a graveled alluvial plain, the vines are fringed with towering Eucalyptus trees which are often credited with the distinctive minty aroma and taste of the wine.

This certified organic ranch is home to a proprietary Cabernet clone famed for producing small berries with an intensely purple hue and splendidly concentrated flavor. Joe Heitz crafted the first memorable Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from this exquisite fruit in 1966.

Tom and Martha May have owned this much-heralded vineyard since 1963. From the beginning, the couple decided to focus on the agricultural end of the business, but they believed that they had "special dirt" which just might merit its own wine. The connection they made with Joe and Alice Heitz was a fortuitous moment in Cabernet history.

When the Mays purchased the land and moved into their home, they were greeted with two bottles of Heitz wine that had been left as a welcome by the sellers. Impressed with the gift, the Mays decided to visit Heitz Wine Cellars. That marked the beginning of a friendship that quickly became one of the most important relationships in the winemaking industry. The Heitz family's exclusive arrangement to buy the May family's grapes began with their first harvest and continues today.

Second generation Richard May and Laura May Everett are a major force in the family business today. They approach the farming of Martha's Vineyard in the May family tradition — with great energy and ardor. Both are devoted to the preservation of the extraordinary land that is their heritage.

Now, what about that name?

Trying to come up with a catchy name for their farm in 1963 Tom asked, "What about Martha's Vineyard?" Martha modestly replied, "Oh, we can't do that." But, Tom loved the humor in it, so he persisted until Martha politely acquiesced.

Martha's Vineyard — Now, you know the "West" of the story.

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13 different wines with 134 vintages

Winemaking since 1961

  • Kathleen Heitz Myers President

    "We handcraft our wines with the utmost respect for the incomparable vineyards of the Napa Valley. It's a real pleasure to share a bit of their magical bounty in every bottle of wine we make."
  • David Heitz

    "To me, the real artistry in winemaking means being careful not to get in the way with overly aggressive manipulation. I take a purist's approach, allowing each of our wines to express the true character of the varietal and also to convey their unique geography within the Napa Valley."

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Heitz Cellar  has updated producer and wine information

2m 7d ago

 John T, Wine Collector (Hong Kong SAR China)  tasted  1 wines  from  Heitz Cellar . In a tasting of  1 wines 

This is the real deal. Wish Napa wines would have evolved along these lines rather than the overly muscular, low acid overkills nowadays. They don't make them like this anymore. Best Napa cab I have ever had and IMHO while completely different is in same league as '89 HB.  Acidity is there but so is this Napa fruit and Eucalyptus, Fine tannins. Long finish, though not has long as '89 HB..

4m 20d ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Editor of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Heitz Cellar . In a tasting of  22 wines 

Heitz Martha's Vineyard 1974. Still a big, powerful wine that sums up the richness of this perfect Napa vintage. It is densely fruity, spicy with an enormous black plum and minty fruit character to go with the acidity. It's concentrated while still showing such wonderfully pure fruit. This is a monumental, eternal wine!

5m 12d ago

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Heitz Cellar . In a tasting of  13 wines 

Top Napa Cabs vs Top Clarets from 5 decades from 1960s to 2010s – Palmer 1961, Heitz Martha's Vineyard 1974, Chappellet 1982, Lafite 1985, Latour 1995, Harlan 1997, Screaming Eagle 1999, Mouton 2002, Bryant 2014 – and the winner is......

5m 20d ago

 Heitz Cellar  has updated producer and wine information

7m 9d ago

 James Suckling., Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Heitz Cellar . In a tasting of  21 wines 

Château Mouton-Rothschild 1959 / Another perfect bottle. This has been a long-time favorite with mint and fresh basil, as well as currants and dried fruits on the nose. It turns to dried flowers. Full-bodied with spices, berries, and light eucalyptus character. Christmas cake too. Full body with velvety tannins. This bottle was almost mid-shoulder height, but it was a perfect wine. 100 points

8m 29d ago

 K. Han, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Heitz Cellar . In a tasting of  12 wines 

Opus One 2016 / A rich, dense ruby color, hints at the dark fruit nose of blackberry and currant that carries through to the palate, interwoven with complex aromas of black licorice, anise and crème de cassis. On the palate, the wine opens up to reveal an earthiness, with brown spice, cigar box and ripe dark fruits that linger throughout the extracted and long finish. The texture is opulent and rich, yet has a velvety quality with supple density. Rich, fine-grained tannins are balanced with ripe fruit, acidity and oak.

8m 29d ago

 Heitz Cellar  has updated producer and wine information

9m 29d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  3 wines  from  Heitz Cellar . In a tasting of  35 wines 

2015 Heitz Cellar Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon / Ruby. Blackberries, anise, some spices, liquorice, vanilla, detailed and layered, stunning nose. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, dark fruits, anise, some spices, detailed, layered and intense, rich, dense yet bright. Minty and long. 96

10m 17d ago

 Heitz Cellar  has updated producer and wine information

1y 3m ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  5 wines  from  Heitz Cellar . In a tasting of  33 wines 

2018 Ornellaia /Ruby. Blackberries, anise, spices, detailed, fruit driven nose, intense. Floral high notes. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, dark fruits, anise, liquorice, detailed and intense, bit high alcohol, long finish. 94p

1y 5m ago

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Wine Writer (South Korea)  tasted  1 wines  from  Heitz Cellar . In a tasting of  26 wines 

Château Mouton Rothschild 2016 / Gorgeous, subtle, layered Mouton with delicate and detailed flavors that linger on the palate for a long time. The density of the tannins combine with wonderful freshness and layers of flavors that range from dark berries, savory spices to cedar and earth. A glorious Mouton that has stature and concentration without any heaviness. The blend is 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 1% Cab Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. The latter two varieties were co-fermented.


99 points

1y 5m ago

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