Winemaking

Neal Family Vineyards believes fundamentally that a wine can only be as great as the grapes from which it is made. Owner and winegrower, Mark Neal, knows from experience that Cabernet Sauvignon wine grapes, grown under the right conditions in select appellations of the Napa Valley, have the potential to create wines that rival the best in the world. Mark also knows that the precise combination of soil, climate, and cultivation practices in the vineyard play an integral role in creating an exceptional bottle of wine.

Every wine produced by the Neal Family Vineyards winery is made entirely from Napa Valley fruit and crafted specifically to express the unique terroir of the vineyard from which it is grown. Our philosophy: The flavors inherent in ultra-premium wine grapes should be allowed to speak for themselves; therefore, we choose not to blend varietals in any of our wines. It is important to be able to custom-tailor vineyard practices to the needs of each individual winemaking project, and Mark only uses grapes from vineyard sites cultivated to his exacting specifications.

From these carefully selected sites, Mark ensures that only berries of the absolute highest quality, harvested at perfect physiological ripeness, are selected to be crushed and fermented into wine. Neal Family Vineyards uses only the free run juice, with the remaining press juice being sold on the bulk market. Of the barrel lots produced, only 30-50% are typically found to be of high enough quality to be used in wines bottled under the Neal Family Vineyards label. While this process puts a natural upper limit on the production scale, it ensures that every wine produced by Neal Family Vineyards is of peak quality. So firmly does Mark adhere to this philosophy that in 2000 he did not taste quality representative of Neal Family Vineyards in any of the Cabernet Sauvignon lots produced from the year's harvest and, as a result, elected not to produce a vintage at all rather than bottle a wine of inferior quality.

Mark Neal is passionate about the wine produced from his family legacy, but insists that his hand crafted wines be sold at a great value so that they are affordable to wine lovers worldwide. His passion is even indicative in the wine's label, whose color precisely matches the color of Aiken soils found on the Howell Mountain properties. The soil is from an ancient volcanic series, and the roots of the Neal Family vines are imbedded in this beautiful red earth, as are the roots of the Neal Family history. This soil serves as a basis for the finest things in life, and a leisurely sip of Mark's wine will clearly demonstrate the excellence and reputation afforded the Napa Valley region.