Spottswoode Estate Cultivates Sustainability in the Vineyard and in the Business
Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery is excited to announce a long-planned transition in its winemaking. Starting with the 2006 harvest, Winemaker Rosemary Cakebread will be assuming the role of Consulting Winemaker, while Jennifer Williams, currently Spottswoode’s Associate Winemaker and Vineyard Manager, will become Winemaker and Vineyard Manager.
As a small, family-owned, organically-farmed estate, Spottswoode applies the precepts of sustainability to all aspects of its business. “Our estate planning is similar to our vineyard planting,” explains Beth Novak Milliken, President of Spottswoode. “Both involve long-term consideration with an eye for continued, sustainable quality. Rosemary and I have been planning our winemaking transition together for many years. Jennifer worked with us as a harvest intern in 2002. Immediately recognizing her talent and enthusiasm, we asked her to work with us full time in 2003 to assist Rosemary in the management of the vineyard and in the making of the wines. She has had the benefit of working alongside Rosemary for four years now, and has proven herself in both the vineyard and the winery. 2006 will be Jennifer’s fifth vintage working with us, and she is poised to continue crafting wines in the Spottswoode tradition.”
Rosemary joined Spottswoode in 1997 and has earned a reputation for making wines of elegance which honor their grape origins. In addition to winemaking, Rosemary worked closely with Beth in designing the new estate winery in St. Helena, and she was instrumental in bringing vineyard management in-house. “It has been gratifying to mentor several young winemakers during my tenure at Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery, and I am delighted to be entrusting the care of the Spottswoode wines into Jennifer’s capable hands.” remarks Rosemary.
Jennifer joined Spottswoode after graduating from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a degree in Agricultural Sciences and working in wineries in Napa Valley, the Central Coast and Spain’s Rioja Alavesa region. She is passionate about organic viticulture and will continue Spottswoode’s mission to farm sustainably and to produce wines which reflect the Estate’s terroir. “Working at Spottswoode for the past four vintages has given me the chance to grow into the vineyard—to understand what is going on in the field and how it affects the wine,” says Jennifer. “We’re constantly making improvements to the vineyard and we don’t expect to see the results of our labor in one growing season. For this reason and others, I feel fortunate that Rosemary will continue to work with Spottswoode as Consulting Winemaker—she will be an invaluable, ongoing resource for me.”
Spottswoode is also announcing a long-planned update to its wine label, beginning with its 2006 releases—the 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2005 Sauvignon Blanc. “Our goal was to retain the classic look and feel of our original label, which was designed by Chuck House and which we have always loved, and bring to it a greater sense of elegance and grace. We were able to achieve this with the help of Madeleine Corson, and we are pleased that our new label honors our original label and the history of our winegrowing estate,” explains Beth Novak Milliken. The new label retains a drawing by Otto Hesemeyer depicting the Victorian home which graces the entrance to the 46-acre estate. Commissioned in 1974 by Mary Novak and her late husband, Jack, with the idea of using it on a wine label (Jack died before this dream was realized), the original print has a place of honor in the winery office. The beautiful, historic home was built in 1882, and Mary Novak continues to live in this house, where she raised her family of five.
Beth’s mother and the founder of Spottswoode, Mary Novak, believes sustainability, as well as the ability to gracefully evolve and innovate, is an essential part of the Estate’s history and future. As Mary says, “Spottswoode has a tradition of honoring its vineyard and staying true to its heritage, while sensitively and thoughtfully incorporating change and allowing for personal and professional growth. The history of Spottswoode is quite unique in this regard.”