Jean and Larry Rowe established Greyscale Wines in 2008 after a fateful trip to Bordeaux in 2005. We have been wine aficionados and collectors for many years - we both enjoy drinking wine (!), Jean worked in her father’s home vineyard, and for many years Larry extolled the virtues of living in the SF Bay Area which allowed us to visit wineries and taste many wines from throughout California. After returning from the Bordeaux trip during which we visited four of five 1st Growth Chateaux and several premier producers on the Right-Bank, we decided to make a custom barrel of Cabernet Sauvignon using Napa Valley grapes (Stagecoach Vineyard) to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary - we called it Vin Cinq! Our friends loved the wine and wanted to buy it. Needless to say, we encouraged to get into the wine business.
From the beginning, our goal was to produce premium Bordeaux-style wines using Napa Valley grapes. We engaged a company to help us produce our wines where we met our winemaker Kian Tavakoli who had worked previously at Opus and Clos du Val after graduating from U.C. Davis with a degree in Genetics. Kian spent time working harvests in France and elsewhere. His french heritage fostered a love for Bordeaux style wines that is a perfect complement to our philosophy.
Our first year we produced a Bordeaux Blanc-style Sauvignon Blanc using Rutherford grapes that won “Best in Class” at the 2011 SF Chronicle Competition - the first competition we entered. We also produced a Napa Valley Cabernet using grapes from Oak Knoll and Coombsville with a Left-Bank Bordeaux style. The 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet won a Double Gold at the 2012 American Fine Wine Competition and two Silver Medals at other competitions. Over the years our wines have won many awards at various competitions (e.g., SF Chronicle, SF International, American Fine Wine, etc.) and wine rating publications (e.g., Wine Enthusiast, Beverage Institute, etc.). Our '13 Rutherford Cabernet received 93 Points from Wine Enthusiast - needless to say we are extremely proud of the wines we produce.
We changed the source for the grapes used in our Cabernet product starting with the '12 vintage from the Coombsville/Oak Knoll vineyards to an exceptional vineyard in Rutherford. At Beserker Day VII (Jan '16), we sold many bottles of this wine, and it sold out shortly thereafter. We added a Right-Bank Bordeaux-style Merlot in 2014 using grapes from an exceptional vineyard in Oak Knoll. This first vintage won a Gold Medal at the 2016 SF International competition.
Our products are priced very competitively, particularly when compared to other products from the same areas of Napa Valley. We are rated higher than wines costing 50-100% more in blind tastings. We will be offering specials discounted from these prices for our currently released wines at this year’s Berserker Day sales. Be sure to look for us in the Beserker Day VIII thread (http://www.wineberserkers.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=59) on January 27, 2017.
Some people ask why the name is “Greyscale Wines?” Aside from the fact both Jean and Larry are from the computer industry and interested in visual and aural media (photography, moving images, and music) where greyscale denotes the black-white spectrum, the name actually came from an observation Jean made that, “Wine is neither black nor white. It’s always shades of grey.” This phrase captures our philosophy of wine-making - it does not have a fixed recipe or scientific formula. Each year we adjust to weather, fruit quality, wine-making opportunities, and blending components to produce the very best wine possible.
Jean and Larry have continued to learn about wine making, sales and marketing as well as continuing to visit interesting wine producing regions throughout the world. We have visited nearly every wine growing region in Calif and the Pacific Northwest. And, we have visited every region in France except Champagne, many regions in Italy, Spain and Portugal, as well as Argentina and Chile. One of us has traveled to Germany, Croatia, and other wine producing regions. The more we learn, the more we realize how much there is to learn. Shucks, it’s a tough life having to taste wines, meet other people who enjoy collecting, producing, and drinking wine, and travel to interesting places.
You can see more about Greyscale Wines at our website http://www.greyscalewines.com including more information on our history, tasting notes on all of our products, and some pictures of various events. Also, be sure to check out our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Greyscale-Wines/128908856746?ref=ts) and Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/GreyscaleWines).