Lewis Cellars: 200 Miles Per Hour Ahead
Probably one of my favorite things about this valley is the love those in hospitality have for the industry and their dedication to the family they work for. As a whole (and I know this first hand having been in the wine industry for much of the past 10 years), we as a community have such passion and inspiration running through us that it just results in wanting to share the wines, the stories, and all that go into it with those closest to us finding pleasure in providing the best of hospitality to locals and visitors alike. Every bottle of wine is a made up a little bit of magic and a little bit of history that is legendary in and of itself. Beyond the inspiration of what goes into the bottle, is that of the story of the diversity and history of the family who are behind it.
When I ran into David, prior to visiting Lewis Cellars, it was a couple years ago and he was purchasing a cozy blanket for his dear employer Debbie Lewis as she was terminally ill with cancer and needing a little extra comfort. Our host, Winery Relations Manager, David Gibson has been a dedicated member of the winery family for several years and offers his insight to his passion behind the brand along with his views of the industry with me. David has always spoken of his love for the Lewis family and his career in wine. This sort of generosity and zest for life is what brought me all the way from Boston in the first place and I’m regularly intrigued to learn what drives each owner and their winemakers to pursue building a life in wine.
David hosted us in a small intimate tasting room off the barrel room at a table that seats 8. In our glasses was a gorgeous Chardonnay, Merlot, a Syrah and a phenomenal Cabernet.
When I happen upon a glass of wine that is eye opening, utterly mouth tantalizing, and just makes me want to revisit over and over again, I know I’ve found a wine that is worthy of not only laying down but also worthy of buying and drinking right on the spot. The 2017 Lewis Reserve Chardonnay, is exactly that for me. There’s a complexity about this wine that is like that of a big and round Cabernet. It’s got layers on it that linger and the right amount of acidity with such a perfect mouth feel. I almost didn’t want to revisit anything aside from this wine, but of course I soon found good reason after spending time with Lewis’s portfolio of reds.
Upon moving here over 10 years ago upon moving to Napa from Boston I thought it would be a good idea to take a few wine courses so that I could best speak the lingo and be prepared with a few “wine descriptors” under my belt in order to converse with well knowledgeable wine connoisseurs. That it was, but I soon realized regardless of where you are living and if you take courses in wine or not, having first hand conversations and connections with winemaker friends and even those working in the wine industry can prove to be the best kind of education. Whether you’re like me and decide to take wine courses like Wines of the World, Wines of California, Enology, or any other course, a little bit of wine knowledge goes a long way when from experiencing the wines and interacting with those within the industry first hand.
Randy Lewis and his late wife Debbie, established their own winery in Napa in 1992 after first helping his friend Bob Miner, co-founder of Oracle Software start his winery in 1989 (Oakville Ranch Vineyards), and then decided to open Lewis Cellars.
Prior, Randy was a race car driver for more two decades competed in five Indy 500s
Lewis Cellars produces a Merlot, a Syrah, Syrah blends, four different Cabernets, four different Chardonnays, and two different Sauvignon Blancs.
The Lewis 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon that was named the Wine of the Year by the Wine Spectator
“Wine translates to my life approach/view in many ways…The sense of time and places that we visit (both geographically and as stages of life) can be documented by the wines we enjoy throughout that journey.
I often find myself reflecting on where I was personally when I think about the vintage I am drinking, particularly with older wines. I consider myself lucky to enjoy wine on an intimate level that comes from working in the industry. The relationship we have here with the Napa Valley and its history and tradition is both romantic and profound, something I am extremely grateful for.
Above all. wine is the celebration of life- I tremendously enjoy each glass and the moments and memories wine creates. We share it with family and old friends, and it connects us with new people that better and broaden our outlooks. I’ve always said “It’s a pretty small world, and wine shrinks it a little bit more””
”At the heart of this brand lies a commitment to producing world class wines. Randy Lewis drove Indy cars at 200+ miles per hour so his wines tend to mirror that “pedal to the metal” approach.
The wines are full-throttle. Yet for all of their density and depth of flavor, they are also graceful and refined, balancing size and elegance. The success has been driven by attention to detail and a hands on approach in every aspect of vineyards and production. But, of course, none of it happens without teamwork, and Lewis Cellars is all about our team.”
Nestled in a quiet little side street off what looks like a residential area before you head out to the Silverado Trail, is just the perfect start or end to a day. Lewis Cellars is a by appointment only privately hosted experience, perfect for those that truly appreciate great wine, and want an experience other than a heavily trafficked winery for the exclusive “I’m being taken care of” exclusive treatment.
4101 Big Ranch Rd, Napa CA