The turning point for Vic Bourassa, owner and proprietor of Bourassa Vineyards in the Napa Valley, really occurred over a lunch he had in 1999 with the godfather of California wine, Robert Mondavi. By that time Bourassa, who had moved to the Valley permanently three years before and had entered a second professional career in real estate development, was already a committed home winemaker. T... Read more
The turning point for Vic Bourassa, owner and proprietor of Bourassa Vineyards in the Napa Valley, really occurred over a lunch he had in 1999 with the godfather of California wine, Robert Mondavi. By that time Bourassa, who had moved to the Valley permanently three years before and had entered a second professional career in real estate development, was already a committed home winemaker. The chance to talk wine about the wine business with one of the most influential winery figures in the world was to be savored and appreciated.
At some point during that memorable lunch Bourassa uncorked a bottle of his own homemade Napa Valley Pinot Noir and after a few evidently pleasurable sips Mondavi began to encourage the novice winemaker to enter the winemaking field as a professional, not just as an amateur. It was at that very moment that Bourassa Vineyards was born, though it was not official, until two years later when Vic and Kathy Bourassa opened for business.
The first wine produced under the new ‘official’ Bourassa Vineyards label was a traditional Bordeaux blend called Harmony3. It received tremendous attention from both consumers and the media. All of the 400 cases produced sold out very quickly, and Bourassa Vineyards was on its way. A Napa Valley Zinfandel followed the Harmony3 bottling, and on it went, without pause.
Today, with a total production of a respectable 5,000 cases, Bourassa Vineyards is able to devote their attention to five carefully chosen varietals: Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and their one white wine, a wonderful Sauvignon Blanc. In addition to that there is a Solera Port made in the traditional multi-vintage port style that is, as the Vic says with obvious pride, “an absolute favorite of everyone that gets to try it.” And that wonderful blend, the Harmony3, is still just as popular and still winning just as many awards and medals as ever.
The wines – no matter what the varietal – are painstakingly hand-crafted in small lots. The winery carefully creates rich, complex blends using grapes from premiere, self-maintained Napa Valley vineyards. “This insures our award-winning wines display the distinct varietal characteristics that are winning over critics and wine drinkers alike,” Bourassa said.
Winemaking at Bourassa Vineyards means other things as well. The harvested grapes are handled delicately, and there are none of the pumpovers that are standard at most wineries. Here the juice is sprayed gently onto the cap to submerge it. It is time consuming and requires more work, but the proof is right there in the bottle. A visit to Bourassa Vineyards is a unique experience as well. Set in a complex of offices and warehouses in the southern part of Napa County, a tasting here is unlike any other.
The tasting room itself could actually be far beneath ground, or on a hill in Bordeaux or in an ancient villa in Tuscany. Rust-colored walls, silver candelabras, dark wood, a wall of barrels and antique winemaking gear transform the space into an elegant experience for sampling the wines. “It’s a warm, wonderful room,” Bourassa said with obvious pride. “Here you don’t have crowds, and you get to sit and taste wine with the proprietor, which is a rarity.”
Vic and Kathy Bourassa believe their responsibility as vintners and winery owners is two-fold. The first is to educate, the second is to entertain and promote . Want to know about what toast means when it comes to oak barrels? Vic shows you a cross section of a barrel, each stave toasted to different degrees. Curious about the importance of cork? He brings out a section of cork tree and begins to talk about the importance and harvesting practices of cork. And so it goes, the educational experience and the tasting experience seamlessly and enjoyably commingled.
As they say at this unique Napa Valley winery, “We look forward to sharing with you our passion for wine, as well as Bourassa Vineyard’s commitment to quality, class, and a celebration of life!” Read less