At the forefront of technology and modern rustic chic, Davis Estates is establishing itself as a winery with elegance, vision, and of course, fantastic wine.
What started off as Mike and Sandy Davis’ dream is now a 155-acre property featuring wine caves, a historic barn, a hospitality center, and vineyards in Calistoga, Rutherford, Carneros, and Howell Mountain.
While on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Calistoga property, we asked Mike Davis to tell us the story behind the Howard Backend designed winery.
“The original barn you see here was built in 1916,” said Mike. “When we purchased the property, we picked it up and moved it 150 feet. We put in a new foundation, filleted the walls off, and then attached it to a new steel frame. We use this 101-year-old barn for tastings, private events, and parties.”
The Davis Family. Photo by Adrián Gregorutti.
Once inside this historic barn, visitors fall in love with a variety of collectors’ items and innovative furnishings. There is a large wooden table made from 33 American Oak barrels, two beautifully restored tractors (one from 1939 and the other from 1944), and a 1909 Wing and Son player piano. On the opposite side of the property sits a replica of this barn. Davis Estates uses that footprint for its offices and wine lab.
Originally from San Mateo, Mike Davis went to school in Indiana, where he fell in love with history, rural architecture, and the importance of family values. When he and Sandy decided to bring their vision of Davis Estates to life, he knew he wanted to create a legacy for his family and a place where people could feel at home while experiencing the beauty of Napa Valley.
“From wine and food pairings put together by our Executive Chef, Mark Caldwell, to tastings on the terrace, the hospitality center feels like an upscale lodge. Guests come here to enjoy a commercial kitchen, a large fireplace, and a terrace with fantastic porch swings and a panoramic view of the valley. It’s cozy, upscale, and unique at the same time.”
Although Mike wanted to capture old school winemaking, his background in technology sparked his decision to create a tech-savvy winery equipped with a Gen II system.
A view from the terrace featuring porch swings and an open air wine tasting. Photo by Adrián Gregorutti.
“Our Gen II system allows each tank to be accessed by a smartphone or computer. It also gives us the ability to schedule pump overs,” explained Mike. “In addition to this high tech equipment, we’re also Napa Green Certified. The 50-ft antique windmill on the property has the power to pump water, which is then stored and used for vineyard irrigation. The windmill has not only become a Napa Valley landmark, but it is also the symbol for the Davis Estates label.”
With the ability to host 20 guests a day, Davis Estate has become one of Napa Valley’s exclusive hidden gems. From its brilliant wine to its intersection with old and new technology, it is hard to believe that the winery only recently celebrated its one-year anniversary — which happened in May.
“There is a Chinese hand dug well from the 1800s that was the original water source on this property. We decided to restore it by putting a stainless steel cauldron in the bottom to make it a wishing well. As people throw money in it all year, it has become a double entendre in the sense that this winery is my dream and my family’s dream come true, but then we pull up the cauldron and give all the money to Make a Wish and make someone else’s dream come true.”
To say the least, Davis Estates is quickly building a legacy for itself. We cannot wait to see what is in store for the winery in the future.