The Project

Husband and wife team Sam Sharp and Allison Steltzner have partnered with her parents, Richard and Christine, to create Bench Vineyards. Named after the unique topography of the Steltzner’ s historic 30 acre Estate, a benchland vineyard located directly below the Stags Leap District Palisades. Working with Mike Smith and Bob Pepi as winemakers, the goal is to craft modern elegant wines that honor the history of Stags Leap District.

The Estate

The site was chosen by Richard Steltzner as ideal for growing Cabernet Sauvignon after tasting the quality of neighbor Nathan Fays homemade Cabernet Sauvignon in the early 1960’s.  Planted to Cabernet Sauvignon in 1964, the grapes were originally sold to various wineries and neighbors. The famed 1972 Clos Du Val Cabernet Sauvignon, a winner at the Judgment of Paris tasting, as well as the first release of Joseph Phelps Insignia all were crafted from grapes grown on the Estate.  Meticulous farming by Jim Barbour combined with mature vineyards, provide amazing quality of fruit. Situated on the Eastern side of Napa Valley, at the base of the Stags Leap Palisades, the fruit grown here benefits from the gentle slope and elevation, unique soils and cool breezes from the San Pablo Bay. This is a truly remarkable vineyard site. 

Circa 64

This Estate blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec celebrates the year in which Richard Steltzner originally purchased and planted the property. Primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine is packed with ripe black fruit and silky tannins, broad and powerful, with beautiful mouth feel. 

Wine facts

270 cases produced

Winemaker: Mike Smith & Bob Pepi

Release date: September 12, 2016

Suggested retail: $95.00