For most new wineries, there’s a sense of intense competition as they begin to establish themselves among all the Napa Valley stalwarts who have staked a claim to the land and, more importantly, to the loyal hearts of the many wine connoisseurs who come to the region.
Yet with an emphatic meaning behind their name and high quality wines, Italics Winegrowers are setting themselves apart. According to managing partner Taylor Martin, the Italics mantra is “when you italicize something, you emphasize what makes it special.” Thus, Italics is determined to stand out by putting an italics on the valley, on its estate in Coombsville, and on all of the customers that come to visit.
“We took the top lot at Premiere Napa Valley a couple years ago, we were in the top 10 again last year. So the fact that the industry and the consumers are recognizing that we are bringing a high quality product that is worth paying 2000 dollars a bottle at an auction — it’s a huge accomplishment that’s really tough to overshadow.”
Interestingly, The Martin family didn’t start off in the Napa Valley, or even making wine. Rather, they became known for bringing the best quality Ruby Red grapefruit from South Texas to market. Yet, thanks to a fateful meeting with dentist-turned-acclaimed winemaker, Steve Reynolds, the Martin family began to visit the valley, growing to appreciate the natural beauty of the location, as well as the excellent wines.
Overtime, wine drinking became a shared family tradition, in which all of the family who worked on the produce farm would get together and use friendly, relaxed conversations over wine to unwind. In early 2002, the Martin family decided to turn this tradition into a business venture creating their first appellation blend.
“Our Appellations blend was based on bringing all of the pieces of Napa Valley together to try and create a wine that gave people an impression of what the Valley’s diversity brought as a collective. The trend has been moving in the opposite direction,” said Taylor, as most wineries have begun to become more granular in their winemaking processes, using only single American Viticulture Areas (AVA), rather than a blend like Italics’ approach.
However, once Coombsville, the 16th AVA, was officially recognized, the Martin family knew they needed to have their own family estate winery in the Napa Valley. Thus, starting construction on their estate in 2014.
With the help of family friend Steve Reynolds as Italics’ winemaker, Italics utilizes an old-style of winemaking with the process of oak fermentation, along with the best technology wineries can buy. Combining the use of infrared drones to make sure their grapes are receiving proper heat and water, exclusively using reclaimed water, Italics is bringing the best product to market, just like they did in South Texas.
While the winery has only been around for two and a half years, and is still finishing the reconstruction of its Coombsville estate, Italics is confident it has a real chance to continue competing with the long-established wineries.
“The biggest thing in our projection forward is that I always tell everybody here that you have one opportunity to be people’s best first impression of Napa,” Taylor said. “Every time we are people’s best impression of Napa, and they go home satisfied, we are now their resource and their lens into wine country. Each new friendship we make and relationship we build is a milestone for us.”