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At The Wine Foundry, You Are the Winemaker

Photo courtesy of The Wine Foundry

Custom crush facility, wine making facilitator and educator, and producer of world-class, direct-to-consumer wines: The Wine Foundry, a boutique Napa Valley winery, does it all. The company’s innovative model offers a full range of customized wine services: create a barrel yourself or with a group, launch and market your own brand, wow clients, friends, and family with a custom label, join the wine club for unprecedented access to their ultra premium, small lot Foundry and Anarchist wines, and/or take part in a series of virtual tastings. 

Founded by Philip and Valerie Von Burg, The Wine Foundry is a dream fulfilled. Valerie, a California native, and Philip, a New York City native, both pivoted from legal and business careers, respectively, to wine, when in 2012, they purchased the assets and wine inventory of a failed Napa Valley winery. Their combined past experiences, and the counsel of a few key staff members from the former winery, such as winemaker Patrick Saboe, set them on a course for success.   

Foundry line-up. Photo courtesy of The Wine Foundry

For each of The Wine Foundry’s offerings, seasoned winemaker Saboe takes the lead. A graduate of the University of California at Davis’ Enology & Viticulture program, Saboe first served as harvest enologist for Hanna Winery before becoming the assistant winemaker at Keller Estate. In 2006, he became a winemaker and vineyard manager for Petroni Vineyards as well as Consulting Winemaker for Verismo Wines. In 2008, he accepted the Director of Winemaking position at Pezzi King Vineyards. And in 2012 he joined The Wine Foundry team. Saboe’s winemaking philosophy is simple: exceptional wines are made from exceptional fruit with exceptional care. He collaborates closely with the numerous growers who partner with The Wine Foundry, assuring that quality is paramount.

Anarchist line-up. Photo courtesy of The Wine Foundry

BESPOKE WINEMAKING: The Wine Foundry has been described as an incubator for luxury brands, and while their team does work behind the scenes for several cult labels, their core mission centers on crafting custom, high-end wines for individuals, groups, companies, and non-profit organizations. Clients capture the rarely attained dream of creating their own wine and sharing it with family and friends. Many choose to start at the very beginning, selecting from the extensive vineyard and varietal options for the upcoming vintage. Some clients prefer to select wine already in barrel from a prior vintage, an offering called an ‘adoption barrel.’ Clients on a short timeline may choose a custom-designed label on already bottled ultra-premium wines without a label known as ‘shiners.’ Regardless, clients acquire a world-class bottling that stacks up against the very best.

Here’s how it works for those interested in a start-to-finish bottling:

Choose a Vineyard: Browse through The Wine Foundry vineyard guide and pick your favorite. Each features unique character traits; the best way to decide is to sample commercial wines made from the vineyards of interest. Alternatively, discuss with the team the style of wine you enjoy and they will help choose the property best suited to your goals.

Patrick Saboe. Photo courtesy of The Wine Foundry
Pulling samples. Photo courtesy of The Wine Foundry

Construct a Plan: Every wine begins with a series of decisions that shape the aromas, flavors, and structures. Consult directly with the winemaking team about the style of wine you prefer, and they will create a plan to achieve your goals. They guide through every step of the process, from vineyard and varietal selection down to the details of corks and capsules.

Monitor the Vineyard: Throughout the growing season, the team shares weather updates, vineyard photographs, and interviews with growers to offer insights on the vintage and to follow development of the fruit on the vine. As harvest nears, they will share estimates for the window of when your grapes likely will be ready for harvest. 

Create the Wine: After the grapes are harvested, you are welcome to join at the winery for sorting, crushing, fermenting, and pressing your wine. If you can’t be there in person, the winemaking staff will always handle every step of the process, as guided by your wine plan.

Design Packaging: Once you sign up to make wine, you’ll receive a Packaging Guide that explains the design process and your packaging choices. The Packaging Guide helps you and their design team work together to select your bottle, cork and capsule, and create a unique label specifically for your wine. They feature several bottle shapes, sizes, and weights from which to choose, along with the ability to create customized treatments such as branded corks, embossed labels and silkscreened or etched bottles. If it can be done, they will work with you to make it happen.

Blending: The Wine Foundry specially crafts additional wine each year for the purpose of bringing added depth and complexity to your final blend. As bottling nears, you will have an opportunity to work with a winemaker to fine-tune the aromatics, texture, and balance of your wine through a series of blending trials. Most clients consider this a highlight of the experience, playing with slight variations to dial-in the finishing touches and complete a truly unique signature wine. 

Valerie and Philip Von Burg, and Kodiak. Photo courtesy of The Wine Foundry

TWO ORIGINAL LABELS & VIRTUAL TASTINGS: In addition to making wines for/with their clients, The Wine Foundry produces its own two labels: Foundry (what is normally an allocated label) and Anarchistwhich can normally be sampled at the Vista Collina Resort tasting room in Napa. Due to current winetasting room closures, The Wine Foundry is hosting virtual wine tastings led by wine educator Stuart Ake whose wine knowledge runs deep and who always presents in an illuminating, understandable, and always entertaining manner. Ake has appeared on The Today Show and his pretension-free wine experiences and materials have received critical praise in Wine Spectator, Food & Wine, Men’s Journal, Time, and The Chicago Tribune. Participants in these virtual tastings purchase a pre-selected package of four different wines (drawn from the Foundry and Anarchist labels) to evaluate and enjoy with like-minded enthusiasts during live Zoom sessions, which last approximately 45 minutes. The virtual tasting sessions take place every Friday evening at 5:00 p.m. pacific time, and are open to all. Private sessions with a custom selection of wines are also available upon request. To purchase/schedule a wine tasting, email events@thewinefoundry.com.

Shipping Discounts: The Wine Foundry is currently offering shipping discounts such as $1 shipping on case orders: www.anarchistwineco.com. When placing an order use code: stayathome. For residents local to the San Francisco Bay Area, they offer same-day delivery included with any purchase of three bottles or more if the order is placed by 12 noon; next day delivery if placed after 12 noon. Customers can place orders online at www.anarchistwineco.com, and select ‘pick up’ as the delivery option.  And local residents can order/pick up Foundry or Anarchist wines at the Napa winery, ?45 Enterprise Ct Suite 3, Napa, CA. Order at www.anarchistwineco.com and check ‘pick up option’ pickup option when placing order. All offers include Foundry Wines, normally allocation only, but now available for current promotions.  

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, a Forbes Travel Guide inspector, 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 esta...(Read More)

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