There’s new life at the historic Wheeler Farms Winery in St. Helena, as Arrow & Branch owners Steve and Seanne Contursi have set up their winemaking and tasting room operations at the estate on Zinfandel Lane.
Tastings take place in the newly open Wheeler Farms Winery Hospitality House, as by-reservation private visits.
The 90-minute, $125 experiences also include a walk through the 11.6 acre grounds, viewing Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc vineyards, 80 olive trees, 21 heritage fruit trees, two bee hives, 13 raised beds for vegetables, and a chicken coop housing heritage chickens.
The facility has been a long time coming for the Contursis, who purchased the estate vineyard in 2007 and added 1.5 contiguous acres of grapes in 2011. The hospitality space and custom crush facility were designed by Taylor Lombardo Architects in a design to celebrate the property’s 1880 roots. Cedar clapboard barn-style buildings soar next to culinary gardens and shaded seating areas, with the visitor highlight being the 4,000-square-foot tasting center.
Here, the space brims with large skylights, a stone fireplace and polished concrete floors. The tasting room, meanwhile, is set up to resemble a living room.
The Arrow&Branch name, by the way, refers to Steve Contursi’s other occupation as a professional numismatist (one who collects and studies currency). He specializes in historically significant, museum quality U.S. coins, and notes that the reverse side of most United States coinage features an eagle holding an olive branch and arrows in its talons.
The message continues to the wine labels, with each including a famous quote from Benjamin Franklin, including “Mind your Business,” and “Diligence is the Mother of all Good Luck.”
Details: 588 Zinfandel Lane, St. Helena, 707-200-3640, arrowandbranch.com.