Suzanne Phifer Pavitt is a country girl, growing up on a farm outside of Ringgold Georgia. Shane Pavitt is a city boy from Southern California. After they married in 1998 they set a tradition of a date night with wine. Living in Marin County with jobs in high-tech sales (Suzanne) and finance (Shane) they dreamed of their own winery in the country with all the images that normally surround that dream. They found a 24-acre unplanted place on the hillside outside of Calistoga and started work on making their dream come true.
They built a home at the top of the hill and started learning about winemaking and producing their own wine at the Temple Family Vineyard in Pope Valley. In 2005 they started taking the steps towards building a winery on their site in Calistoga. Their winery started as a 19th century barn they found in nearby Franz Valley and moved it to the site and added a board-and-batten façade and metal roof. The Pavitt’s eco-friendly style incorporated recycled blue jean insulation and recycled Wyoming snow-fencing paneling for the walls.
Inside the barn looks like it has been there for a hundred years. The 1946 Farm All tractor out front adds to that image. Light fixtures inside and outside reflect Suzanne’s creative style being made from barbed wire. Sliding blackboard doors on the inside include cowgirl images. Upstairs, the tasting room looks like a country barn ready for the evening barn dance with burlap covered hay bales and cushions made from burlap bags. At the end of the room facing a large window overlooking the Napa Valley you will find a beautiful slab of fallen black walnut wood with jagged edges that is actually suspended in mid-air by medal straps from the ceiling. Suzanne’s southern hospitality shines in this beautiful tasting room, making visitors feel welcome as they check out the Phifer Pavitt wines.
The winery itself utilizes gravity feed as much as possible with the raised crush pad behind the building leading down to the lower level. Phifer Pavitt winemakers are Ted Osborne for the Cabernet Sauvignon and Gary Warburton for the Sauvignon Blanc. The Cab grapes come from the Temple Family Vineyards in Pope Valley in Napa Valley. This year they added another Pope Valley Cab source from the Napa Valley floor north of Yountville. The Sauvignon Blanc grapes come from the Juliana Vineyards in Pope Valley.
The Phifer Pavitt labels feature Moxie, a cowgirl who takes us to the country and Southern hospitality that exudes from this winery. Their wines are called Date Night (as is the URL) because all major decisions at Phifer Pavitt have been made on Suzanne and Shane’s regular Date Night.
The Phifer Pavitt 2014 Date Night Sauvignon Blanc is a lively Bordeaux style wine with lively and intense acidity and aromas and flavors of pineapple, key lime pie, grapefruit and lemon zest. This is a beautiful summer wine and I can imagine sitting on the porch enjoying a glass at the end of a day. They produce 580 cases of the Sauvignon Blanc. The price is $30 per bottle.
The 2011 Phifer Pavitt Date Night Cabernet Sauvignon has 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot. It is aged for 18 months in French oak and 18 months in the bottle. This wine has a very intense nose of black fruit including plum and black cherry and spice. On the palate you will enjoy the red and black cherry, plum, cinnamon, clove,allspice and a touch of caramel and creamy chocolate. It has a nice warm mouthfeel and leads to a long, balanced yet complex finish. The price is $80 per bottle.
For more information: Phifer Pavitt Wine