I remember upon first hearing the name Cakebread I was struck by its uniqueness. I was then surprised to learn it was a family name. Jack and Dolores Cakebread almost literally stumbled upon the Rutherford ranch that has been home to their vineyards since 1972. Cakebread Cellars has a rich history of winemaking in the Napa Valley.
In 2002, Bruce Cakebread became President and CEO, and in 2010 was named President of the Napa Valley Vintners. I had a chance to catch up with Bruce recently and asked his thoughts on a few things involving the winery.
I asked Bruce about his vision for the winery for the next ten years. “Next year, we are celebrating our 50th anniversary which allows us time to reflect over the past 50 years, how some things have changed and how other things have remained the same. Our customers still enjoy a well-made, well-balanced wine that goes with good food and shared with friends and family. The climate has changed a lot over the past fifty years. The next ten years we will be building upon the last 50 years, to constantly learn and evolve our grape growing and winemaking practices, constantly fine-tuning our wines. We will continue our culinary focus, our sustainability practices, and our fine hospitality here at the winery.”
I asked Bruce how he’s able to keep pace with an ever-changing industry. “We are always trying something new, learning from it, and improving. We do this in every area of the winery. It is exciting and fun for us as well as our consumers to learn new things, in the vineyard, in the cellar, in the kitchen, or in the tasting room. I feel the winery and our customers are all on this wine and food journey together. It is fun to share what we are doing with our friends and along the way, make new friends.”
I was curious to find out if they have any plans to introduce any new wines. “We recently started a new wine series, the Viewfinder, which is inspired by my dad’s Black and White photography. The first wine in the series is an estate Sauvignon Blanc (85% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Semillon) of which 57% is fermented and aged in our concrete eggs. It is a very different expression than our classic Napa Valley Sauvignon. We also released an estate-grown Grenache last year and will do so again this year from our Suscol Springs vineyard located just south of the Coombsville AVA in Napa Valley.”
Finally, I was curious to learn what a visitor to Cakebread can expect to experience. “We are very proud of the range of experiences offered at the winery. We finished construction on our new visitor’s center in December of 2019 with the goal of truly immersing guests in the art and science of winemaking. There are a range of beautiful indoor tasting rooms named after our vineyard properties and outdoor spaces to enjoy our experiences. Our classic tasting includes a walking tour of the property, allowing you to get a real sense of the operations of the winery and our incredible hardworking employees. We offer a food & wine tasting experience for epicureans, with produce directly from our on-site organic winery garden. Today our resident chefs, led by Culinary Director Brian Streeter, continue our tradition of hands-on cooking classes and culinary programs. Other experiences include Library Tasting for older vintage seekers; Reserve Tasting for wine cellar collectors; Family Tasting for a kid-friendly experience, as well as private, customized offerings. We want to make sure there is an experience for every palate and every interest.”
I look forward to a visit to Cakebread Cellars sometime in the next year and will certainly share that experience with you. I recently enjoyed both Cakebread’s Merlot and Viewfinder Sauvignon Blanc and found them immensely delicious.