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Behind the Scenes

August 8, 2017

Vineyard Walk with Winemaker, Shawna Miller

“If I work 40 years, I only have 40 chances to make something great,” says winemaker, Shawna Miller on her drive up to Luna’s contracted Sangiovese Vineyard on Atlas Peak. Harvest 2017 is quickly approaching and Shawna was meeting with the vineyard proprietor and manger to inspect the progress of the grapes. On the way up the windy road, nothing was off the table for discussion and we discovered some amazing things about our humble yet extremely talented winemaker.

Shawna first discovered her passion for winemaking on a vacation to Napa Valley with her husband, who was her boyfriend at the time. Both with a background in biology, forestry to be more specific, loved nature and the cyclical patterns of life. Visiting from Florida, the two immediately fell in love with the wine region of Napa Valley. Shawna was asked if she would be interested in working a harvest, and the rest is history.

About thirteen vintages later, 6 of which were spent at Luna Vineyards, Shawna has learned a thing or two along the way. Her winemaking style has evolved, becoming more refined and boutique-driven. She takes pride in her “old world meets new” winemaking approach, personally gravitating to big, bold reds with a feminine touch. Shawna strives to let the true expression of each of her vineyards shine through, intervening in the cellar as little as possible.

But, if you ask our winemaker to pick her favorite wine in the Luna collection she cannot decide, making a case that “picking your favorite wine is like picking your favorite day in the year – impossible.”

As we walked through the hot and sunny Piccolo Vineyard on Atlas Peak, studying the the veraison and size of our Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon clusters, Shawna was in disbelief that another harvest season was upon us again. While harvest is this winemaker’s favorite time of the year, the season also requires careful planning and preparation. But in the end, nature takes the course it was meant to take and we can only go with the flow. As Shawna, a mother of two, cleverly relates, “Harvest is like having a baby. You can prepare all you want but ultimately the grapes decide when they’re ready and all you can do is hope you are too.”

Thanks, Shawna for all your hard work year-round to produce Luna’s award-winning wines. Good luck with Harvest 2017!

July 7, 2017

Vineyard Update: Grape Ripening Underway

It has been a very busy and fast-moving growing season for us at Luna Vineyards. The generous rains the Valley experienced throughout the winter and early spring of 2017 have been a blessing in disguise, officially ending a five-year drought across most of the state.

Although above-average rainfall is certainly a lot to absorb, the vines are growing at an unbelievable pace at about an inch a day. The stored water in the vineyard soil has already proven useful, especially when Napa experienced a heat wave of temperatures 100+ degrees a couple weeks back.

Canopies are growing lush and hedge-like, protecting our delicate berries from the mid-day sun. Most berry clusters are well into the growing season, and some have even begun to turn. In viticulture, the term used to describe the changing color of the grapes is, Veraison. Once grapes hit this stage, it represents their transition from growth to ripening and can last between 6 and 8 weeks.

Veraison characterizes the initial stages of color development and represents the onset of berry ripening

As preparations are being made behind the scenes for our annual Harvest Party, we’re finding it harder to believe just how quickly this season has come and almost gone. Fingers crossed for a continued great season as we head into the final months of what’s turning out to be a phenomenal vintage.


April 28, 2017

Spring Do Your Thing

After a rainy winter, spring blooms are bringing life and color back to the Napa Valley. Blossom-laden vineyards are sprouting with signs of a new vintage and our team is working diligently to prepare for the season ahead.

The show is just starting at Luna Vineyards as small Pinot Grigio clusters begin to form. The warm weather and sunny days ahead mean vine suckering is just around the corner!

Vines are not the only thing coming alive at the estate. Our covered veranda is buzzing with commotion as bees pollinate the hanging white wisteria. The olive trees are waking up once again and the lemon trees are bearing bright fruit that hang in the sunshine.

Napa Valley is so special in the spring time – thanks for stopping by to share it with us!