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Amici Cellars Welcomes Wine Lovers to First Winery and Tasting Room

Submitted By: Mia Malm, November 11, 2012
Calistoga, CA, Nov. 9, 2012 — For the first time since its founding in the 1990s, Amici Cellars can welcome wine-loving friends both old and new to visit at a new winery and tasting room located at 3130 Old Lawley Toll Road in Calistoga, CA.

Amici’s new home features a private tasting room and lovely grounds shaded by oak trees, where the winery’s partners—John Harris, Bob and Celia Shepard, Bart Woytowicz and Joel Aiken, who joined the group as winemaker in 2009 and is also a partner—plan to hold special events and alfresco tastings. “We’ve never liked the idea of an exclusive ‘closed gate’ winery. We really want people to feel welcome here, to join our ‘circle of amici,’” says Celia. The new winery is now open for personalized tours and tastings, by appointment. To schedule a visit, please call (707) 287-4072 or send an email to

Amici Cellars is, at its heart, a story of friendship. The winery’s partners are all great friends with an equally great enthusiasm for making and enjoying great wine. “It all got started because we wanted to make a wine that we could sit around and share with our friends and be proud of,” says John. They chose to name the wine, appropriately, Amici ("friends" in Italian): a wine created by friends, for friends.

With renowned winemaker Joel Aiken bringing his 30 years of Napa Valley expertise to the wines, Amici Cellars focuses firmly on quality, not quantity. Joel crafts small lots of exceptional wines that are “complete”: his term for a wine that is harmoniously balanced and complex from beginning to finish, with an authentic sense of place.

The new winery, which has a 100-ton capacity, features small stainless fermentation tanks ranging from two to seven tons with both heating and cooling ability plus a Puleo Vega 10 destemmer, vibrating sorting table, and Bucher tank press. The winery is designed for gentle, gravity flow handling of the must. In addition to the tanks, the winery has a cold room for barrel fermenting whites and a warm room for barrel fermenting reds. “One of our unique features here is that we feel we have fine-tuned red barrel fermentation,” notes Joel. “A barrel head is removed, destemmed grapes are added to the barrel and the head is replaced. During fermentation the barrels are rotated multiple times a day with a system that is powered by a hand-held drill. This makes the process of spinning the barrels much less labor intensive and we find the quality and consistency of the wine is amazing.”

In the tasting room, visitors can enjoy sampling Amici’s two new single-vineyard, micro-lot gems—the just-released Amici Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon and Amici Morisoli Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon—plus the Amici Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. Also available are two more offerings crafted by Joel Aiken: his eponymous Aiken wines and Amici’s sister label, Olema.

The winery experience is a leisurely 2 to 2½ hours and includes a walking tour of the scenic property, a generous cheese plate and six pourings. The offerings can be further tailored to include reserve or library wines and more culinary options from a picnic to a full meal, to extend the pleasure. Tasting fees, which start at $45 per person, will vary depending on which wines and additional options are selected.

With a beautiful new Calistoga home, the Amici team is waiting with open arms to welcome new friends. For directions and more information please visit

Note to editors: for photos or samples, please contact Mia Malm at or (707) 266-1320.