A division of Duckhorn Wine Company, Paraduxx is the only Napa Valley winery solely dedicated to contemporary wine blends. To learn more about what makes a Paraduxx blend unqiue, I talked with Don LaBorde, the Paraduxx Winemaker, about the way in which he utilizes his background in art and wine science to craft the perfect blend of bold, expressive and innovative wine.
“It’s almost impossible for me to pick out a favorite wine,” says LaBorde. “However, I love talking about our newest Co-Fermentation wine. This is a Côte-Rôtie inspired wine that is blended with Syrah and Viognier grapes. What makes this wine so interesting is that we pick our Viognier grapes first and our Syrah grapes last. Both of these grapes must be put into the tank at the same time, so we freeze our Viognier grapes until our Syrah grapes are ready.
Adjacent to Paraduxx, Rector Creek Vineyards is planted with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Franc.
“The first year I came up with this idea, the wine was a complete experiment, and now it’s a Paraduxx favorite. Imagine closing your eyes and smelling a white wine that is floral and tropical on the nose, but has a bold red wine taste. I love coming up with crazy ideas.”
Throughout the year, LaBorde utilizes his close-knit team and the vineyard’s intimate property to harvest and bottle almost all of the Paraduxx wine in house. For example, just a few hundred cases are made of the Co-Fermentation wine, and it is only available for purchase online, through the Paraduxx Wine Club, or at the farmhouse-inspired vineyard property.
Don LaBorde with Cooper the vineyard dog (left). Paraduxx Tasting Room (right).
When asked about a surprising aspect of his job, LaBorde responds by saying, “I spend 50% of the year as a forklift driver, and the other 50% as a data analyst. I love my job because I have always been a creative person, but my main focus is creating a strong team and a fantastic working environment. Together, everyone takes pride in our team dynamic, which I know positively influences the caliber of wine we make here.”
LaBorde started working for Duckhorn Wine Company in 2011. Before becoming the winemaker of Paraduxx, he worked for Duckhorn Wine Company as the associate winemaker for Sonoma County at Decoy.
“Working at Paraduxx was always my dream job. The complexity of winemaking is still so intriguing to me, and at Paraduxx I have the freedom and leeway to express myself artistically.”