Terra Valentine blends the elegance of "place" with the bold subtleties of mountain grown, estate wines. A climb up the switchbacks of Spring Mountain grants not only extraordinary views but a peek into the winery's past–all enjoyed amidst a tranquil, mountainside setting. A step into the winery's castle-like cellar serves up an experience rich with world class wines and storied tales, from the "cowboy days" of winemaking, to the current day operation that blends cutting-edge technology with time-tested Old World techniques.
Angus and Margaret Wurtele purchased the Wurtele Vineyard in 1995 followed by the historic Yverdon Winery in 1999, with the aim of restoring the winery and its vineyards to greatness. The Wurteles saw potential, despite the fact that much of the grounds had reverted to overgrown forest lands and orchards, with little evidence of the winery's storybook past. They brought in the father-son winemaking team of Phil Baxter and son Sam to oversee the transformation from the property's humble beginnings to the Terra Valentine Estate of today.
The Terra Valentine name pays homage to the winery's roots in heritage and history. The word Terra stems from the Latin word "earth" and speaks to the hillside soils that define the estate's wines. Valentine honors owner Angus Wurtele's father, Valentine Wurtele, and his association with Valspar, an early American varnish manufacturer.
Original owner Fred J. Aves purchased the estate in 1965 leaving behind a legacy of crafty inventions (curb feelers and chrome-plated license plate frames) in favor of actualizing his dream of owning a winery. Aves built the winery, from the ground up, including one-of-a-kind architectural accents, stained glass, and 18th century wood paneling originally brought over from London for use in Hearst Castle. His reclusive nature led him to shut the winery in the early 80's and subsequently pull out the vineyards, leaving the property dormant until it was sold in 1999.
The two-story, 17,000 square foot Terra Valentine winery sits at an elevation of 2000 feet and boasts a heritage and history all its own with the stone winery building that is more medieval castle than tasting room. A step onto the terrace unveils a one-of-a-kind snapshot of the valley. Elegant artistic touches mix with lavish ornamentation. A statue perched above the copper-plated double door serves as the gateway into a unique visitor experience.
Despite the unique architecture and design, the abandoned building was in need of an upgrade. In 2002 the winery underwent a major renovation, formed around the existing shell of the legacy winery, focused on maximizing the benefits of modern day technology. It was important to upgrade the infrastructure of the facility while at the same time preserve the historical essence and architectural accents that lend the structure its timeless charm. The original, 2.5 feet thick, stone walls still stand, untouched, contributing to the unique "castle-like" essence of the winery. Grapes were crushed in the new facility by the harvest of 2002 and in spring of 2003 the tasting room officially opened to the public.