-8-In June this year I made my second ever visit to California on a business trip to one of our leading wineries at Village Cellars, the Hess Collection (hereafter simply Hess), a premium winemaker in Napa Valley. I spent a day and a half in the vineyards and winery, and in my time there discovered Hess value for myself. Staff ︓ Visit: Hess Collection in Napa ValleyAllomi Vineyard: In the center of the huge vineyard there is a small hill that pops up like a chestnut.Veeder Summit VineyardReaders of this catalogue will know about the recent Hess backstory from our ʻTalking with the Winemakersʼ series in the Spring 2018 catalogue which featured Hess CEO Tim Persson, so I will skip those details here. Going right back to its establishment, Hess founder Donald Hess started the Hess winery with his own nancial resources, which is critical to understanding the overall vision and success of Hess today. Donald Hess sold his highly successful beer and mineral water business in Switzerland and moved to Napa Valley in the late 1970s to start up a winery. His Swiss heritage shows in his decision to plant his vineyards on the hills in Napa, at a time when most wineries were on the ats.The other “Hess Collection”Because of the seasonal nature and diverse assets required for winemaking, cash ow is vital to running a successful winery. As well as establishing a winery using his own cash reserves, Hess put his money into contemporary art, over time becoming a leading collector in the contemporary art world.On the second oor of the beautiful and historic winery building at Mount Veeder is the Hess Art Collection, which exhibits a selection of Donaldʼs collection, and is open to the public for free. At any one time about 30 works are on display, just a tiny percentage of the close to 1,000 art works in the whole collection. Hessʼs Bodega Colombe winery in Argentina also has an art gallery. Though I canʼt proclaim to be a lover of contemporary art, spending a quiet time in the gallery appreciating real art deeply impressed me. Some of the works are said to be of such high value that they are priceless, and for lovers of modern art it is a truly extraordinary place to visit. Also, on Wednesdays students from neighbouring schools visit and spend time in touch with art, and I realized the wonder of Hess is not only in the winemaking, but also in providing a place for cultural development.Pope Valley and Mount VeederMoving on to the main business of making wine, Hess has two large vineyard holdings. One is located in the Mount Veeder where the winery is, and the other is in Pope Valley in northern Napa Valley. I would like to introduce Pope Valley rst. It is close to Howell Mountain in north-eastern Napa, and because of the inland location it is hot and dry in summer. The altitude is relatively high for the valley. From Napa city you drive north on Route 128 for about an hour (about 50 km) on a mountain road followed by hairpin bends. As well as the Hess vineyards there are several wineries, but you get the impression it is a remote and secluded place. Hess began growing grapes here in the 1990s, at a time when land in this part of the valley was still quite cheap. In Napa Valley it has been said that it is dicult to increase the quality of vineyards any further, but there is also a lot to be said for Hessʼs foresight as a viticultural pioneer in the Pope Valley over 20 years ago. The Allomi Vineyard is a single large vineyard, the fruit from which makes the popular Allomi Cabernet Sauvignon. Hess aims to make a quality Napa wine as cheaply as possible, and he achieved this with the stunning cost performance of Allomi Cabernet Sauvignon, which shows outstanding fruit for a Californian wine in this price range. For wine enthusiasts, I personally feel it is a wine that always stays in the strike zone.Moving on to Mt. Veeder, the Mt. Veeder vineyards are spread over ridges in the Mayacamas Mountain Range in southern Napa Valley, at altitudes from 300 to 600 meters, with the highest vineyard being the Veeder Summit Vineyard. To avoid the steepest slopes, the vineyards are planted on the ridges, with the unique microclimate of each ridge determining varietal selection and viticultural management. They are rugged, with steep slopes that you need a 4WD car to be able to drive up to them. This is where their top cuvee Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon is born.Common characteristics in the two vineyards Although the two Hess vineyards are in very dierent locations, in visiting them it turns out they share several common characteristics including high altitude, remote locations surrounded by forests rather than neighbouring vineyards, and orientations to take advantage of the slopes. In Napa Valley, water shortage is often a problem, but Hess uses the lie of the land to collect rainwater into reservoirs. It is a very basic and natural way to ensure they have enough water for irrigation should an emergency arise.The Hess Collection Value Propotion.I got a very strong impression with the Napa Valley vineyards that Hess could, if they wished, make and sell big, rich, heavy and expensive Napa Valley wines. However, that is not the Hess approach. Instead of aiming for the Californian dream wine, Hess see their mission is to produce wines a little higher than mid-market price that are high quality and elegant. While some Napa wines are enjoyed for their expensive reputation, for Hess the value of a wine lies in many people being able to enjoy an authentic Napa Valley wine, just as their can enjoy authentic art in the casual gallery environment of the Hess Art gallery that touches all ve senses. During my day and a half at Hess I was able to engage in direct conversations with Hess winemakers and viticulturalists. In addition, I saw many carbonized trees on Hess land and on my way to vineyards, a graphic reminder of how close last yearʼs wildres burned. Though I have run out of space this time, I would like to introduce other facets of Hess in the future.

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