THE NEWTON ESTATE
The single square mile of hillside pioneered by Peter Newton in 1977 is an impressive site, with expansive vistas of Napa Valley and beyond. It was the conclusion of his irreverent quest to create wines that would capture the multifaceted character of Napa: embracing the radiant California sun whilst featuring the structure offered by the valley's cool, foggy nights.
He understood Spring Mountain was the place he was looking for to create this rare, fresh expression of Napa.
The terraced mountain estate has less than one-fifth of its total 490 acres planted to vines at elevations ranging from 500 to 1,600 feet above sea level. The non-farmed acreage remains in its native forested state providing natural habitat for indigenous wildlife.
Each of the distinctive vineyard blocks is planted to a specific Bordeaux variety with an emphasis on Cabernet Sauvignon.
The winery was designed and built to blend into the mountain and includes elements of the founders’ native lands interwoven with the California environment — roses, a pagoda, a Japanese red gate, lanterns, a London phone booth and French gardens.
The Napa Green Certified Land and Winery program is a third-party certified, voluntary program Newton participates in to express its dedication to working in harmony with nature. As part of the Certified Winery program, Newton meets a host of requirements, including water conservation, energy conservation, pollution prevention, and solid waste reduction elements. Our certification relies on comprehensive analysis of our operations, which we adhere to with complete commitment.
Working within the Certified Land program, includes restoration of wildlife habitat, healthy riparian environments and more in concert with sustainable agriculture practices. We also restore, protect and enhance the regional watershed. The program includes not only farmed or vineyard land, but also non-farmed and wild land, roadways, stream banks, drainages, and more within a specific property.
Natural Water Irrigation
Newton’s system of ponds captures and stores winter rains for use in summer irrigation, limiting the need to pump water from the Valley’s aquifer and reducing the amount of energy needed for irrigation. The ponds also act as natural silt dams to prevent soil erosion from entering nearby streams and the Napa River, preserving the native habitat and fishery.
A cover crop is planted in the vineyard rows to reduce soil erosion and enhance vineyard soil fertility and structure. Newton plants a seed mix designed for the extreme mountain conditions. The cover crop recipe varies with the vineyard’s age and includes native grasses and clovers such as Fescues, Rye, Oats and Strawberry Clover. Cover crop act as a “net” to hold insects. Cover crops also improve soil structure and health by enhancing the organic matter content and soil microbial fauna.
Each Newton harvest yields pomace of grape skins, stems and seeds which is collected and composted to be used later in the vineyards as a natural fertilizer and soil builder. All glass, cardboard and plastic waste generated on the property is recycled.
An early model of green design, the winery was built to be 80 percent underground. An elaborate cave system, spanning three vertical levels and five avenues, is used for maturing Newton’s wines in barrel. This cave design creates a natural temperature control system, an early commitment by Newton to responsible energy use. A rooftop parterre garden, planted to herbs and roses, provides insulation for the Chardonnay fermentation room located beneath by maintaining cool temperatures, enhancing humidity when necessary and reducing energy requirements.
Newton’s “Nature by Design” philosophy is present throughout the winemaking process. Newton wines are naturally fermented using indigenous yeast to preserve natural fruit essence achieved in the vineyard. The unique profile of each lot, when combined, contributes to the overall complexity of the finished wine.
Newton wines safely age in French oak barrels with minimal refrigeration, as the winery was custom-designed to limit energy consumption. By digging our caves into the side of the hill and covering the structure in greenery, we ensured the inside temperatures naturally stayed cool and consistent. Crafting wines in harmony with nature is labor-intensive, yet this method produces some of the world’s finest wines. Newton wines are unfiltered to stay true to their unique terroirs and are enjoyable both at release or after decades of careful cellaring.
Jean-Baptiste Rivail – General Manager
For Jean-Baptiste Rivail, an appreciation of wine, the culinary arts and the French “Art de Vivre” comes naturally. On his father’s side, an unbroken lineage of ancestors dating back to the 1800s were wine merchants in the Southern French Alps. In addition to being wine brokers, for generations the family ran hotels and restaurants. “The fact that food and gastronomy was so much a part of my family’s heritage, it clearly played a role in my career choice and in my approach to life,” says Jean-Baptiste.
After an international career in the wine and spirits world, he joined Newton Vineyard in 2017.
“I will always remember how stunned I was by Newton Vineyard the first time I visited the Estate. The three characteristics that immediately came to my mind were ‘beauty, diversity and contrasts.’ “There is not one day when, at the Estate, I am not in awe for its grace, its diversity and its exceptional terroirs: altitude, soils, slopes, exposures…”
“This place comes with passion. It has a soul. It creates an intense emotional bond with whomever discovers it. I want to preserve this natural beauty and translate it into everything we do. There is nothing more exciting for me than relentlessly working at revealing it, and sharing it with many.…”
Alberto Bianchi – Winemaker
Born in Milan, Italy, Alberto Bianchi’s passion for the vine took root during many youthful summer idylls spent in scenic Cinque Terre. “I grew up with wine; like many Italians, my grandparents made their own wine. But in Milan there isn’t much viticulture. I became interested in vineyards and production in Cinque Terre, where family friends owned a small winery,” he explains. “Viticulture there is romantic but also heroic—the vineyards are very steep and directly facing the sea.” The idea of making something tangible from this meeting of sun, sea and the earth intrigued him.
Alberto was selected in 2012 for the Estates & Wines Early Career Winemakers program, which aimed to hire three young winemakers and send them for one year to each of three countries for intensive training and development. He began in Argentina, as Assistant Winemaker at Terrazas de los Andes, spent a year at Newton in 2014, then in 2015 went to New Zealand to work at Cloudy Bay, whose winemaker, Tim Heath, had a strong influence on him. “He taught me the importance of being respectful of the wine you have in front of you,” he says.
Alberto returned to Newton in 2016 as Head of Winemaking. At Newton, he finds great satisfaction in his work and in the dedication of the team.