VintEdge Opens Winemaking Facility in Napa

VintEdge Winery, a new full-service winery partner for North Bay vintners, opens its winemaking facility and welcomes new clients ahead of the 2022 harvest. Located in South Napa at 144 Gateway Road East, Napa, Calif., VintEdge Winery is an innovative 102,000-square-foot “homebase” for wine brands, offering the tools, team and space required to bring high-quality wines from the crush pad to consumers. 

The winemaking operations and a temperature-controlled, finished case goods storage warehouse are the first phase in VintEdge Winery’s multi-phase opening, with the second and third phases introducing hospitality operations and shared office space anticipated in spring and summer 2023, respectively. 

“We are thrilled to officially launch VintEdge Winery with the 2022 harvest,” said Stuart Lerner, co-founder and managing partner, VintEdge Winery. “As a vintner myself, I saw a need in Napa Valley for a winemaking facility that goes beyond the typical custom-crush model, and becomes a full-service winery headquarters for independent brands. If you can’t have a winery of your own, the ability to have all your winery needs under one roof – from the time the fruit comes off the vine to the time the wine is shipped to the buyer – is advantageously efficient and sustainable.” 

VintEdge Winery was born out of friendship and necessity. Lerner and VintEdge’s co-founder Jack Morris became friends after meeting through Russell Bevan, one of Napa’s notable winemakers who oversees the winemaking for both Lerner and Morris’ personal wine labels, Lerner Project and Napa Jack, respectively. 

Following several years of fire threats as a Calistoga grapegrower, Lerner, like many up-Valley Napa and Sonoma vintners, was denied insurance coverage for his wine brand. “It became clear that if we wanted to continue making wine and not risk it all, we needed to find a solution that would afford us the option of being insured. VintEdge Winery’s South Napa location restored that opportunity for us and allows us to share it with other wine brands facing similar challenges,” said Lerner. 

Winemaking at VintEdge Winery 

VintEdge Winery uniquely offers clients new and state-of-the-art winemaking equipment designed specifically around the needs of small-lot, high-quality winemakers. 

“Our team and I have spent the better part of two years designing, planning and building out a winemaking space that can deliver on the needs of discerning Napa Valley winemakers, “ said Lerner. “We realize that no two winemakers want exactly the same thing throughout the winemaking process and so we have selected winemaking equipment that gives us the flexibility to meet the unique needs of each of our winemaking clients.” 

With a focus on small-lot, high-quality winemaking, VintEdge Winery is well-equipped to handle the needs of boutique Napa Valley wineries. The fruit processing line was designed to run at a variety of speeds depending on the desires of each winemaking client and provides the ability to hand-sort clusters, sort berries via a grated shaker table and electronically remove leaves, debris and Material Other than Grapes (MOG) via a WECO optical sorter. 

Winemakers can take advantage of glycol jacketed fermentation tanks ranging in size from one-ton portable tanks up to seven-ton fixed tanks. VintEdge Winery offers a range of cap management techniques during fermentation, which include: punch downs, manual pumpovers via electric or pneumatic pumps, sump and screen pumpovers, automated pumpovers via fixed base pumps utilizing a Lotus irrigator head and PulsAir, which is a tank and cap mixing technology that relies on compressed air injection directly into the fermentation tank. 

“VintEdge Winery was designed for small-lot, high-quality winemaking, with equipment that provides flexibility to meet the needs of different winemakers,” said client winemaker Russell Bevan. 

Once wine is in barrel, clients can take advantage of five separate temperature- and humidity-controlled barrel rooms. “With multiple barrel rooms we are able to offer our clients almost any feasible environment that they would need to get through any remaining primary fermentation, malolactic fermentation and élevage,” said Lerner. 

All of these winemaking options are supported by a full-service laboratory onsite, featuring a FOSS Winescan S02 and supplemental wet chemistry analysis capabilities. 

The Human Element 

Understanding that premium winemaking will never be a fully automated process, Lerner has focused his early efforts on building out a team that is tasked with putting client wineries first at VintEdge Winery. 

“I was making wine at a custom crush facility up-Valley before building VintEdge Winery and that’s where I met Michael Savaiano, our General Manager and VP of Winemaking,” said Lerner. “I convinced Michael to join us for this project and have tasked him with building out the team to deliver on the needs of all of our winery clients. I think that it is absolutely critical that we are staffed appropriately to handle all of the winemaking requests that we receive from client winemakers and Michael and his team are excellently positioned to deliver on those client requests.” 

In a tight labor market VintEdge Winery has had early success recruiting team members and already has a complete roster of full-time and part-time winemaking labor to deliver on the needs of its clients for the 2022 harvest.

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