Throughout their lives, Walt and Katherine Scholtfeldt have enjoyed countless weekends in Northern California wine country. Walt never grew tired of flying their aircraft from their Pacific Northwest home to visit newfound friends and interesting places. On these trips, they created memories and developed friendships throughout the Northern California wine region. In 2012, they decided it was the right time to have a second home in Napa Valley. They were searching for a house with a west-facing view and a very small vineyard.
“…We were looking to enjoy a glass of wine while watching the sunset, but we could never have imagined being able to enjoy our own 14-acre vineyard.”
Denali Estate is a 42-acre property with 14 acres of cabernet sauvignon vines. This ranch is located just above Joseph Phelps winery and overlooks the Napa Valley looking west. In 2015 they enlisted Jim Barbour, renowned viticulturist, to manage and upgrade the Denali Estate vineyard. Jim had planted the initial vineyard 25 years before Walt and Katherine purchased the property. He was excited to once again take on the care of this beautiful vineyard. Every year Walt and Katherine can see improvements in their vineyards. It gives them great joy to be part of the process of caring for their land. They constantly receive advice and guidance from friends in the Wine Industry.
“…Our peers in Napa Valley have taught us that we are not all competitors just because we are growing grapes or making wine…we’re farmers. When one of us succeeds, we all succeed.”
Both Katherine and Walt grew up in harsh winter country—Walt in Fairbanks, Alaska, and Katherine in Kalispell, Montana. They are delighted to be able to observe the beautiful vines from bud-break to harvest and to learn new things about grape growing and farming. They had never owned a property from which they could harvest fresh fruits from their orchard at the time the fruit was truly ripe! Amazing. All of the investment and effort they have put into the ranch has truly been a “labor of love.” They are very proud that the Denali Estate vineyard is beginning to be recognized as a premium hillside vineyard producing grapes that are being made into very highly rated wines.