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Travel the World Via Wine with The Spire Collection

Photo courtesy of The Spire Collection

Some call him a wine therapist. Others deem him a wine fortune teller. Either title is apt; Ryan Hughes, estate manager for The Spire Collection of world-class wines, just might know you better than you know yourself. Hyperbole aside, he certainly knows which wines, amongst the collection’s portfolio of more than 15 luxury labels, you might like best.

The Spire Collection is a luxury portfolio of wines from unparalleled vineyard sites and wineries around the globe. With origins on California’s classic northern coast, the Spire Collection today encompasses estates throughout the world. Napa Valley’s mountainside vineyards and great benchland terroirs summon Cardinale, Mt. Brave, La Jota, Lokoya, and Galerie. Far-flung locales and distinct environments throughout Sonoma County produce Vérité, Cenyth, Anakota, Captûre, and WindRacer. From the north comes the cool-climate wines of Maggy Hawk in Anderson Valley, while farther up the Pacific coastline Zena Crown and Gran Moraine find their home in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Château Lassègue, an estate in the birthplace of fine wine, embodies Bordeaux’s grand cru Saint-Émilion sophistication. Near Siena in Tuscany, Tenuta di Arceno’s Arcanum links a medieval estate to the modern wine world. Capensis makes its mark as South Africa’s preeminent white wine, and Hickinbotham takes its place among Australia’s classic reds.

Each Spire Collection wine personifies a different meaning and a distinct emotion, and it is Hughes and his team who can expertly match each wine to those interested in a bit of exploration. An initial assessment is made via a discussion about your wine history. Which brands do you favor? What is the varietal you reach for again and again, and what is it about this particular flavor profile that most appeals? What sort of wines do you find distasteful? And so on. From the information garnered, Hughes and his team create a portfolio of Spire Collection wines that are sure to wow.

A personal portfolio of Spire Collection wines. Photo, Fran Miller

Typically, this exploration takes place in The Spire Collection’s Calistoga tasting room. But during these extraordinary and unprecedented times in which all Napa Valley tasting rooms find their doors shuttered, The Spire Collection can now come to you. Choose from a minimum of two to a maximum of six wines, personally selected just for you. The wines will appear on your doorstep (shipping is included in the price of the wines), at which time you’ll arrange for a Zoom or Facetime call with Hughes or a member of his team who will then lead you through a virtual tasting of each. Your selection might include: La Jota Cabernet Sauvignon from Howell Mountain in Napa Valley, Capensis Chardonnay from South Africa’s Western Cape, Maggy Hawk Pinot Noir from the coastal region of Anderson Valley, Captûre’s Sangiovese Rosé, and Zena Crown Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley. 

A member of The Spire Collection estate team leads a virtual tasting. Photo courtesy of The Spire Collection

A longtime wine enthusiast with a talent for ‘palate memory,’ Hughes’ journey to the world of viticulture was preceded by a very unique vocation. A collegiate mascot at the University of Delaware, he transitioned upon graduation to the pros to take-on the role of Swoop, the Philadelphia Eagles mascot, a role he played for 12 years. His ‘a-ha’ wine moment came when his sister married into a wine-loving Italian family. “My eyes opened to an Italian way of living, where wine is part of everyday life,” says the congenial Hughes. “At that point, I knew I had to hang up my wings, and head to wine country – Napa to be exact.”

Therapist, fortune teller, wine guru – whatever the title, it is Hughes’ love and study of wine and his innate palate memory that provide him a unique ability to accurately pinpoint a client’s wine profile. Give it a try; it’s fun. Contact The Spire Collection team via email at membership@spirecollection.com or by phone at 707-948-1920. The cost is simply the purchase of the wine.

Photo courtesy of The Spire Collection

Fran Endicott Miller

Fran Endicott Miller is a luxury focused freelance feature writer for a variety of lifestyle publications and websites, editor-at-large for JustLuxe.com, and a California editor for luxury travel concierge service Essentialist. Prior to her journalism career she held positions in the fields of politics, television, and professional sports, and is proud to have established the Golden State Warriors...(Read More)

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