Cliff Lede Vineyards was established in 2002 by Canadian born Bordeaux enthusiast, Cliff Lede, following the acquisition of a sixty acre estate in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley. With a focus on producing wines from estate vineyards, Lede tapped David Abreu, considered the best viticulturist in Napa Valley, to replant the vineyards. Lede decided to name each vineyard block after some of his favorite rock songs and albums—from “My Generation” to “Dark Side of the Moon,” creating what is known today as the Cliff Lede Vineyards “Rock Blocks.”
In 2005, a state of the art, 25,000 square foot winery and cave system was etched into a hillside overlooking the estate vineyards. Not only did Cliff create a beautiful property, he also assembled an unrivaled team that shares his passion for quality. Today, Winemaker Christopher Tynan crafts Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc, with the flagship, Poetry Cabernet Sauvignon, sourced from the steep eastern hillside portion of the estate. In 2015, Cliff Lede Vineyards achieved both Napa Green Land and Napa Green Winery certification.
Upon early morning arrival at the winery, our grapes are subjected to our rigorous three-tiered sorting process. First, clusters are hand sorted via visual inspection. Then, a cutting-edge Pellenc optical sorting machine selects grapes based upon quality settings established by the winemaker. Finally, remaining berries are subjected to one last hand-sort to ensure that only the best berries make it into the tank. In order to maintain berry integrity, a unique crane system was installed to gently deliver whole berries to tank for fermentation, allowing for minimal processing of the fruit.
Lede commissioned American tank manufacturer Mueller to recreate distinctive truncated tanks inspired by those at Château Latour, to allow for more skin submersion, resulting in better flavor and color extraction. Barrels are stored in temperature-controlled caves in the hillside behind the winery, providing an ideal atmosphere for aging and energy savings congruent with our Napa Green Winery certification. Since 2007, we have used concrete eggs for a portion of Sauvignon Blanc fermentation. In 2010 we worked with Sonoma Cast Stone to create a prototype for an egg with both heating and cooling capabilities with modern fittings. The shape of the egg creates a unique fermentation dynamic that imparts richness to the wine and the natural concrete material enhances the wine’s minerality.
As Cliff Lede Vineyards’ Winemaker, Chris Tynan lets the grapes speak for themselves. Born in New York and raised in Texas, Christopher Tynan began his wine career working summers as a vineyard technician doing irrigation management for vineyards across Napa and Sonoma counties. Following a harvest at Cain Vineyard & Winery in 2004, he was given an opportunity to work the 2005 harvest with the legendary winemaking and viticulture team of Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer at Blankiet Estate in Yountville.
In 2006, Christopher became the assistant winemaker at the prestigious Colgin Cellars on Pritchard Hill. At Colgin, Christopher worked closely with owner Ann Colgin, Winemaker Allison Tauziet and Vineyard Manager David Abreu for the next five years. It was here where he learned and embodied the standard for excellence in all aspects of winemaking and viticulture. Wines made during Christopher’s tenure at Colgin were awarded seven 100 point scores from wine critic Robert Parker.
In 2012, Christopher was introduced to Cliff Lede by David Abreu and joined the Cliff Lede Vineyards team shortly thereafter. Christopher brings an unmatched passion and attention for detail to the Lede Family Wines team. His exacting philosophy of only employing low-yield vines from select sites and minimal intervention in the winery ensures that each bottle expresses the distinct nuances of each site, block and vintage.
Cliff Lede Vineyards’ philosophy is built upon a commitment to enhancing and protecting the valuable land and water with which we grow our wine grapes and enriching the quality of life for our team. In 2015, our winery and vineyards were awarded with a Napa Green certification which focuses on farming and production methods that meet and exceed more than twenty local, state, and federal “best practices.” Cliff Lede wines are an exuberant expression of our Napa Valley vineyards and reflect the natural harmony and balance.