Located among 40 acres of historic vineyard in Napa Valley along the Silverado Trail just north of St. Helena, Titus Vineyards is a 2nd generation, family-owned and farmed estate producing high quality grapes for limited production, premium Napa Valley wines. The vineyard Lee and Ruth Titus acquired in 1968 was originally planted to Mondeuce, Burger, and Golden Chasselas (varietals all but forgotten today) alongside more well known varietals like Pinot Noir, one that is poorly suited to the warm, up-valley microclimate. The vineyard needed a change.
Lee loved what was happening in Bordeaux at the time, and decided that those were the grape varietals he wanted to plant. And so it began, with Lee holding a book on Bordeaux in one hand and planting grapevines with the other saying, “you boys are going to need this some day.” At that time, planting Malbec and Petit Verdot for example, was relatively unheard of and probably considered risky. Now, Phillip and Eric absolutely appreciate their father’s foresight.
It would be more than twenty years before they crushed fruit for production of Titus Vineyards wines. Although they hoped one day to build a family operated winery, Lee and Ruth spent those interim years raising their sons and growing grapes for other wineries, including Charles Krug, Beaulieu Vineyards, Quail Ridge, and Pine Ridge.
Ultimately, Lee and Ruth left the creation of Titus Vineyards wines up to their sons: Phillip works as winemaker for Titus Vineyards, while Eric manages the business and vineyards.
Eric and his brothers started working in the vineyards in the early days of the family grapegrowing endeavor. Eric continued his involvement in the vineyards until entering college, where he chose to pursue studies in marine biology over a curriculum in viticulture and enology. Eric earned his doctorate in biology and embarked on a ten-year career in marine biological research and environmental consulting. After working in such varied locations as Honolulu, Baltimore and San Francisco, and Guam he returned to St. Helena during the heralded 1997 vintage. With the Titus Vineyards wine production steadily increasing and the vineyards in need of redevelopment, Eric came to work full-time for the family wine business. He now divides his time between managing vineyard operations and overseeing the business side of the winery.
Eric’s commitment to winegrowing reaches beyond Titus Vineyards, expressing a wider vision that is important to him. He is dedicated to helping preserve agricultural land in Napa Valley as well as contributing to maintaining Napa Valley’s reputation as one of the world’s premiere winegrowing regions, having served as President of the Napa Valley Grape Growers Association and being active in the St. Helena Viticultural Society.
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From the age of 12, Phillip worked alongside the family in the vineyards. Phillip’s taste for fine wine was developed at the dinner table as Lee shared Bordeaux, California Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel from the cellar. Phillip’s studies at UC Davis began in agronomy, progressed to viticulture and ultimately to enology. In 1979, Phillip worked harvest for his future in-laws at Quail Ridge. Through the 1980’s he worked at Chappellet and Stratford, Cartlidge and Brown, returning to Chappellet on Pritchard Hill in St. Helena in 1990 to take the position of Winemaker. This new position allowed Phillip to realize the family dream of wine production, and that same year Phillip began making Titus Vineyards Wines.
By blending complementary varietals grown on the family’s two estates, and allowing the grapes to fully ripen and mature in their flavor profiles, the resulting wines are distinctive and balanced; fusing the classic varietal characteristics with the vineyard location. Eric and Phillip conduct taste trials until the best flavors and structure are teased out using the various blending lots. The purpose of the blending trials is to ensure that quality, complexity and the expression of the land are in the wines.
(information sourced from titusvineyards.com)
Current Offerings Available from Titus Vineyard:
Classic Napa Cabernet, deep and elegant with fine balance and integrated tannin. Sweet cassis, medium to full bodied and polished with no hard edges, very pretty wine.
Deep and rich purple, big and intense nose of creme de cassis, violets and spices, the wine if full bodied and has a wonderful velvety texture. The wine can be enjoyed now for its fat upfront fruit but will be better a few years down the road.