USA – Schug Winery
Some people call Pinot Noir the heartbreak grape. But for Walter Schug, it’s been quite the opposite. For this German, producing French varieties on American soil, the fickle red grape of Burgundy has served as a guiding light.
Before Schug reached the Pinot promised land of Carneros, he honed his craft in Germany’s Rhine River Valley, and from 1973-83 in Napa Valley, as founding winemaker for the illustrious Joseph Phelps Vineyards. At Phelps, Schug crafted the first vintages of the legendary proprietary Bordeaux-blend Insignia, as well as America’s first post-prohibition Syrah.
In 1980, Phelps decided to discontinue their production of Pinot Noir. Not wanting to part ways with his favourite grape variety, Walter Schug purchased Phelp’s Pinot allocation himself, and produced the wine under his own name while continuing in his role as winemaker for Phelps.
In 1983, Walter and his wife Gertrud struck out on their own to grow the Schug label. In 1989, they purchased a 50 acre property in the cool-climate region of Carneros, which straddles the southern end of the Sonoma and Napa Valleys. Here they found an ideal climate for the production of restrained, European-inspired Pinot and Chardonnay that continues to this day, under the watchful eye of their son Axel Schug.
Try the wines for yourself and see why they’re a long-running staple of the Lifford portfolio and a ubiquitous sight in the wine cellars of our staff.