Lagier Meredith Details
Lagier Meredith was founded by Dr. Carole Meredith and Steve Lagier with the first vintage of Syrah in 1998. After looking at 70 properties spread throughout the Napa Valley, Carole and Steve ultimately chose to purchase this particular site in 1986. Their initial intent was not to make wine, but rather find a property with both a house and land they could afford at the time. It had been on the market for some time but was passed over by buyers because it was land that would need a lot of work to develop and the existing home was quite basic. In addition, the road was in terrible shape, rocky and rutted and only accessible via a 4wd vehicle. However, they were sold on the views and the price.
The property was site of an old wagon wheel road – part of what was called the “Winter Roads” – dirt roads used by stagecoaches in the winter time to connect between the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. During rainy times of the year, parts of Napa and southern Sonoma would be come very muddy and marsh like; as a result the dirt roads leading over the rocky hills were the primary conduits between the valley’s. Their long driveway (now paved) was part of one of these roads.
Carole references a Yogi Berra quote “When you come to the fork in the road, take it!” – both Carole and Steve had not planned on planting a vineyard, making wine and having their own label. But over time without a road map they have built their brand literally from the ground up.
They soon found evidence of prior owners including an old olive grove. One of their neighbors Chester Brandlin (now deceased) recalled visiting their property on horseback when he was child in the 1930’s – he remembers these olive trees full grown even back then. Carole estimates the trees date back to the 1880’s.
The site had never been planted to vines; the prior owner had already cleared out trees – leaving a site that could be developed into a vineyard. But Carole and Steve had to first remove all the roots and stumps and prepare the land for vines – as well as implement soil erosion controls. They planted their first vines (Syrah) in 1994 and for 10 years focused on producing wine from this one variety. Later they added three additional varieties to the property including Mondeuse noire, Zinfandel and Malbec.
The total property is 84 acres of which 4-acres are planted to vine. The soils here are marine in heritage, mostly sandstone and shale. These are vines with views – the vineyard is located at 1300 feet on the slopes of Mt. Veeder in the Mayacamas mountains. From parts of the property one can see in to the San Pablo Bay, part of the Bay Bridge to the south and to the furthest ridge-line to the east before reaching the central valley. They are at an elevation where fog is often below them, sometimes reaches their property and sometimes rises higher on the slopes of Mt. Veeder.