In the early 1870's, Swiss immigrant Charles Volper acquired a 143 acre parcel along a lovely stream, which flowed down the center of Conn Valley, an eastern spur of the Napa Valley. He planted grapevines on the south facing hillsides, and purchased dairy cattle, which he grazed in the pasture below. He had a handsome stone dairy barn constructed in 1881, the same year he added stone retaining ... Read more
In the early 1870's, Swiss immigrant Charles Volper acquired a 143 acre parcel along a lovely stream, which flowed down the center of Conn Valley, an eastern spur of the Napa Valley. He planted grapevines on the south facing hillsides, and purchased dairy cattle, which he grazed in the pasture below. He had a handsome stone dairy barn constructed in 1881, the same year he added stone retaining walls in support of the bridge across Conn Creek. Charles Volper subsequently entered into a partnership with Georges Crochat, a French immigrant, which they called the Franco-Swiss Farming Company. They built a wooden winery in Volper's large front pasture which borders his entrance trail from Conn Valley Road. Later when the winery burned down they built a stone winery and distillery building on the other side of Volper's entrance trail. When both partners died in 1892, Volper's estate sold his 143 acre parcel to new owners, and it served as a horse and cattle ranch until 1979, when the original Volper 143 acre parcel was purchased by William and Mary Seavey. In 1981, Seavey hired Roy Raymond and his vineyard crew to assist him in replanting the original Volper vineyards. Initially, Seavey sold the resulting grapes to Raymond vineyard and other wineries. From the outset to this day all Seavey Vineyard wiens have been entirely estate produced from Seavey Vineyard grapes. In 1989, the Seaveys renovated the original 1881 stone dairy barn as their winery and tasting room, and in 1990 made their inaugural vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay under the Seavey Vineyard label, adding Merlot in 1994 and their second Cabernet label, Caravina, in 1999. The success of their early vintages encouraged them to expand production, especially of Cabernet Sauvignon, and required construction of a second winery building in 2000.In 2003, the Seaveys installed one of the first solar energy systems used by a Napa Valley winery. The project eliminates 24,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually. The Seavey's current vineyard foreman has lived on the property since 1985; they practice old world grape growing techniques while utilizing modern technology. The Seaveys also raise a small number of beef cattle, whose primary function is to keep the grass down in the hills and front pastures for fire prevention, and which occasionally provide a welcome source of organic beef for family and friends. William Seavey, a native Californian, was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Coronado. He went East to Princeton and Harvard Law School, when he met his wife, Mary, who was at Radcliffe. They lived in Coronado, CA and Geneva, Switzerland before moving to the Bay Area in 1968. The 4 Seavey sons spent high school and college vacations working at the vineyard, and the Seavey daughter and her 2 daughters came out from Boston to help from time to time. Read less
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