Almost like an analogy to the challenges of staring a winery in Napa Valley, it’s a steep climb up Spring Mountain Road to get to 7&8. Although the mountaintop location makes this winery a little more difficult at which to arrive, the sweeping panoramic views and quality of the ripe mountain fruit makes the road more than worthwhile.
Named for a pair of lucky numbers, 7 in America and 8 in Asia, Vineyard 7&8 was established in 1999 by Launnie and Weezie Steffens and is under the General Management of their son, Wes Steffens. Wes is also the Associate Winemaker, who along with Martha McClellan produce a small amount of Estate Chardonnay and 3 different Cabernet labels.
While walking from our car to the winery, we were greeted on the sidewalk by Hospitality Manager Julia Gomez Sanchez who carried with her a bottle of wine, 6 glasses, a deep wine background and an amazing warm smile. Julia poured us each a glass and walked us around the circular drive, pointing out the views, the different vineyards and the architecture along the way. During the walk, she detailed the history of the winery and the 7&8 philosophy in wine production with an approachable style and honest sense of humor.
We ran into Wes Steffens who was working in the cave as we walked through on the tour. Wes was more than happy to answer the multitude of questions we asked in an authentic manner that provided a real look into the upsides and challenges of steering a smaller, family vineyard.
From the tour we entered the tasting room. Only one word to describe the setting: Stunning.
A round room draped on top by gold cloth and a large copper fixture was lit by the circular window view across the vineyards and conifer of Spring Mountain. The long wooden table was immaculately set with glasses for the tasting of the Chardonnay and Cabs.
Ripe is the one word that can be used to describe the 7&8 wines. The styles are big with very ripe fruit. Decanting and a few extra minutes in the glass helps open their Cabs up into lush blackberry and dark cherry fruits with ample spice and depth. My favorite of the group was the 2009 Estate Cabernet which integrated coffee and chocolate notes and silky tannins on the finish. This wine is good now, but I believe it will continue to improve with time in the bottle.
As a digital marketer always on the lookout for areas of opportunity where the winery could improve its digital marketing, I would suggest that 7&8 create a unique, memorable and fun branded check-in location for Facebook, Yelp and FourSquare (something like “From the Top of Spring Mountain in Napa: Vineyard 7&8”) and encourage visitors to check-in while they are there. The locale also is a premiere venue for visual social channels, like Instagram, Pinterest and Vine.
The winery is open to visitors by appointment only. Vineyard 7&8 is a must-see venue in Napa.