History of Maxville Winery

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Maxville Lake is nestled deep in the Chiles Valley District of Napa Valley. The land around Maxville, formerly known as Rancho Catacula was part of a land grant from Governor Manuel Micheltorena to Joseph Chiles bequeathed in 1844.  Spanish settlers and farmers tilled the land into the agricultural area it is today.

In the 1960s, the Edward Keith family purchased over 1,000 acres of the Rancho Catacula Land Grant and turned a portion of it into the Bar 49 Summer Camp. This camp offered children an opportunity to experience farming, horseback riding, fishing, boating, water sports, and arts and crafts in a rustic California setting.

The property was first planted to grape vines in 1974; today Maxville has over 100 acres of vineyard, growing Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Petite Sirah.  The volcanic soils these vines are planted in provide a prime growing condition for luxury wines. At Maxville winery we practice sustainable farming in order to preserve the integrity of the property. Additionally, nearly 1000 acres are placed within the Napa Valley Land Trust. This guarantees the land will never be subdivided and it is only used for agricultural purposes.

In 1996, construction began for the most impressive tasting room and barrel ageing facility in the Chiles Valley. Maxville purchased the winery in 2014; we are now the guardians of the land. The facility and surrounding property was extensively remodeled in 2016 to the modern winery it is today. 

Our underground caves can accommodate over 2,000 barrels, holding them at ideal humidity and temperature for aging.  Vintage after vintage, our goal is to create wines that exhibit distinct character and elegance.

The land speaks for itself through the high quality of Maxville wines.

Barrel Aging – The Wine Underground

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The wine is aged in barrel for 18 to 20 months; we top the barrels each month to replace what is lost by evaporation through the staves. 

We taste wine in the barrels regularly to evaluate the effect of the wood on the wine. After the first year of “élevage” some of the wine gets blended, to make the base of what will become Maxville wine.  The wine is racked into a tank and the new “assemblage” is then put back into barrels. 

Aging and regular evaluation continues to bring the wine toward the final blend.

THE VINEYARD

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Our 1000-acre Napa Valley estate is located in the esteemed Chiles Valley AVA, a sub-appellation of the Napa Valley nestled in the Vaca Mountains. The climate is cooler than the main Napa Valley floor due to elevations of 900-1200 feet, this allows for development of flavor and color while retaining natural acidity.

Our complex soils are well drained; they are formed of material derived from weathered sandstone and shale on the west facing slopes and alluvial fans along the base of hills.

Our cooler microclimate results in a longer growing season giving our grapes an opportunity to mature with subtle flavors, full body, and overall complexity rivaling those grown in the best sites on the main valley floor.

Additionally, we employ dry farming methods and other viticulture techniques to stress our vines, coxing them to focus on growing rich, concentrated berries.

After purchase of the property in 2014, the Maxville team led by Executive Winemaker Camille Benitah and Associate Winemaker Greg Fitzgerald began an extensive redevelopment and restoration of both the vineyards and the riparian corridors. Presently over 100 acres of vineyards are planted, primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Petite Sirah.

As vineyard owners we are passionate about growing the highest quality grapes for our Maxville Estate Wines, and care deeply about preserving our land and soil for future generations.

Winery

At Maxville Lake Winery, we do not just grow grapes, we grow wines.

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BARRELS

At Maxville Winery, wine is fermented and aged in French oak barrels. The barrels are purchased from more than a dozen different cooperages; half of them are replaced every year to maintain a good balance of new oak character in the finished wine.  We also use French acacia barrels for our Sauvignon blanc adding to the complexity and depth of character.

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Our Team

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Camille Benitah Executive Winemaker
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Greg Fitzgerald Associate Winemaker

Camille Benitah

Executive Winemaker, Camille Benitah, grew up immersed in the wine culture of Bordeaux France.  She studied winemaking at Lycee la Tour Blanche in Bommes (Bordeaux, Sauternes), graduating in 1999.  In 2000, after 4 years of hands-on study and working with several prestigious chateaux in Bordeaux, she moved to Napa.

When she arrived in Napa she worked with a start-up winery making high end “garage wines.”  There, she and the founders received critical acclaim for making wines of class and distinction through their uncompromising dedication and commitment. In 2008, she took the reins as head winemaker and continued crafting wines with the passion that the founders instilled in her.  After building her reputation and expertise, she became a consulting winemaker to other wineries, crafting world-class wines from the Napa Valley.

In 2014, she joined Maxville Lake Winery as the Executive Winemaker to work with the team crafting luxury wines from the estate; which includes Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah.  Maxville Lake Winery is very pleased and excited to have Camille bring her wealth of expertise, commitment and passion to making the best wines.


Greg Fitzgerald

Growing up in Oregon state wine country during the region’s rise, Greg Fitzgerald always had a periphery awareness of the new world wine industry.

This connection came to the forefront while working at the West Coast’s top restaurants as a server and sommelier.  This way of life called to him and he set his course for the arduous journey of acquiring a formal University of California at Davis degree in winemaking. After graduation, he worked at several prestigious wineries, both in California and New Zealand where he developed his craft and perfecting his winemaking skills.

He worked as Assistant Winemaker and later Winemaker under the tutelage of Philippe Langner, one the Napa Valley’s industry veterans. All of us at Maxville Lake Winery are excited to have Greg bring his experience to our team.  Greg is coordinating with Executive Winemaker Camille Benitah in crafting world-class wines from the Napa Valley.

  • Vintage after vintage, our goal is to bring you wines that exhibit a remarkable consistency of style and elegance for all occasions.

    - - -Anthony Hsu- - -
  • At Maxville Lake Winery, we ferment and age our wine in French oak barrels.

    - - -Camille Benitah- - -

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