Andrew Geoffrey Vineyards
Welcome to Andrew Geoffrey Vineyards
Located in the heart of Saint Helena, California.
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John is a veteran Napa Valley winemaker having served as winemaker at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars from 1985 to 1993 and then at Vine Cliff Winery from 1994 to 1997. John left Vine Cliff to focus on individual small winery projects, including his own Chardonnay and Merlot project, Salexis. In addition to Andrew Geoffrey Vineyards, John currently makes wine for Snowden Vineyards, Frazier Winery and Rockledge Vineyards.
John has been the guiding light for winemaking at Andrew Geoffrey Vineyards. With the support of Viticulturalist/Vineyard Manager Rex Geitner, John has laid out the path for the future of Andrew Geoffrey Vineyards’ wines. A strong believer in letting the vines mature gradually and evenly, John has worked with Rex to target the appropriate amount of fruit each vine should be allowed to produce in the first 5 to 7 years, thus keeping the vines in balance. The holding back of the vine production has already paid dividends by yields of intense fruit and giving John a wide variety of varietal blending options from the vineyard.
John also has started a program of fermenting and barreling each of the clones separately, to further add to his options of blending to make the best Andrew Geoffrey wine possible, without regard to quotas for production. Each varietal clone is kept separate and allowed to mature in the barrel for at least eight months before blending. There are no formulas for Andrew Geoffrey wine. The blend will vary year to year, but will always be a Cabernet Sauvignon based wine. Simply put, whether it be one case or two thousand cases, John will only allow the highest quality wine be bottled as Andrew Geoffrey Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon.
With the undeveloped land purchased in 1995, Peter set out to assemble a team of experienced professionals to carve the vineyard site out of the scrub and brush native to the Diamond Mountain soils. After a year of extensive planning, obtaining the appropriate permits and drafting of the most extensive erosion control plan ever devised in the Napa Valley, 13 acres of land were cleared and prepared with the expertise and guidance of well-known Napa Valley viticulturist Rex Geitner. (For more about Rex, see below).
The first consideration for building a successful state-of-the-art vineyard was to locate and tap into a consistent, non-seasonal water source for irrigation. After much consideration, a well site was picked and, after an unsuccessful drilling attempt, Andrew Geoffrey became home to one of the deepest wells (850 feet) in the Napa Valley. The payoff however was a well with ice cold, clear, mineral and chemical free water that needs no treatment before use and which produces more water than can be pumped out. On a hot day, the vineyard workers regularly fill up their water bottles from the spigot at the well head with cold drinking water.
The unique combination of soils (volcanic ash and loam) and varying exposures (Northeast, North and Northwest) required an extensive investigation into locating and then purchasing exactly the right rootstock and red grape clones. Rex’s selection process was exacting, but required, to optimize use of the land and micro-climates within the vineyard. In 1996, Peter purchased the rootstock and clones selected by Rex. In late July 1997, sectional planting was completed.
Rex has been involved in wine making and viticulture in the Napa Valley for over twenty-five years. He is currently a member of the American Society of Enology and Viticulture, Napa Valley Vineyard Technical Group (Past President), and Napa Valley Pierce’s Disease Task Force.
After relocating to the Napa Valley in 1973 from Southern California, Rex had the opportunity to be involved in a complex mountain vineyard development now known as Sterling Vineyard’s Diamond Mountain Ranch. He then continued upon a wine making and viticultural career that is highlighted by such illustrious names as Diamond Creek Vineyard, Robert Keenan Winery, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Domaine Carneros, and Spring Mountain Winery.
The combination of twenty-four years of hands on experience and in depth studies of viticulture and enology at Napa Valley College, Fresno State College and University of California Davis has enabled Rex to provide the critical guidance needed in order to develop premier vineyard properties in Northern California. His experience and research has been focused primarily on hillside development. Using the best of cutting edge technology woven with the wisdom of traditional methodology he continues to develop and build vineyard systems that are environmentally sustainable and sensitive.
Andrew G. Thompson
At age 19, Andrew is the older of winery owner Peter Thompson's two sons. He is a sophomore at University of California, Merced, majoring in Computer Engineering, and has a passion for computers, science and roller coasters. He wants to travel around the world and is a video (PS2 and PS3) and computer game master. He has shown a keen interest in the "business" end of Andrew Geoffrey Vineyards as well as working in the vineyard during summer break. Andrew assists in winery hospitality and sales operations and acts as wine steward/sommelier at Andrew Geoffrey Vineyards' dinners during the summer.
Geoffrey R. Thompson
Geoffrey, age 16, is the younger son of winery owner Peter Thompson. He is a junior at St. Helena High School. Geoff speaks Spanish and is an avid football fan. Geoff shares his older brother's passion for roller coasters. Geoff also has a passion for track, with his premier events being the 800 meter sprint and 4x400 meter relay, and is a member of the High School Varsity Track and Cross Country teams. Geoff has a passion for food and wine, and thinks winemaking is "cool". Geoff likes to help press out the small lots of grapes and is an excellent chef. Geoff currently works as a line cook on the weekends and full time during the summer at Michael Chiarello's 5 star Restaurant Bottega in Yountville. Geoff's career goal is to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, obtaining a joint degree in business and culinary arts, and thereafter, become chef/owner of his own restaurant. During the summers, Geoff is often the chef for Andrew Geoffrey Vineyards' dinners.