Building a Bottle in a Boat.
Tradition asks that ships be christened with a wine, its container smashed against the hull. Pack St. Clair has a better idea.
The willingness to confront risk defines entrepreneurs.
In their ability to look past short-term difficulties, entrepreneurs discover long-term reward. In their ability to define beforehand an acceptable level of uncertainty, they find something like joy. Amid their prospects shall you know them.
Pack St. Clair is an entrepreneur. Across his 40 years in the boatbuilding business he has calculated downsides sufficient to driving a man to drink; across his 40 years in the boatbuilding business he has calculated upsides sufficient to enjoying a superb glass of a craftsman’s best work. Pack has now melded his undiminished entrepreneurial zeal with his lifelong second interest. And well, voila!
We give you Cobalt Wine.
In these first vintages, a cabernet, rich and red and hands-on, full ahead, Cobalt wines arise from an ongoing refusal to compromise, from either the venerable boat-builder who gave the vintage its name, or from Sherwin Family Vineyards, the Napa Valley growers and artisans who brought it to fruition.
The Sherwin family made its name in Cabernet Sauvignon, first from vines inherited in the purchase of a 30-acre estate above St. Helena, California. While those vines continue as the backbone of the operation, younger vines planted in 1998 are now making significant contributions to the color, fruitiness, and density of the wine. In 2004 the winemakers for the first time cold-soaked the fruit prior to fermentation, adding to Steve Sherwin’s mind “a new layer of depth and complexity to an already lush Cabernet.” At the Sherwin Family Vineyards, the temperature is on a typical day ten degrees cooler than down in the valley; at night, the cold creeping into St. Helena from the bay, the temperature mountaintop stands fifteen degrees warmer. “Obviously, the fruit is key to our program, easily eighty percent of its success determined by the quality of the grapes, and we have the weather patterns up here to thank,” Steve says. The Sherwin’s farming practices, their processing of the fruit play critical roles as well: the trellis systems guaranteeing even exposure to sunlight and ensuring the proper positioning of vertical shoots, the irrigation delivering just the right amounts of water at just the right times, and the handwork of the picking (only at night, at the coolest possible ambient temperature) and the selecting (hand sorting of clusters) and the most important step of processing, the destemming.Meantime, Cobalt continues to do business as always we have: “Every day we do our part to nourish the implicit trust which underpins our relationships with Cobalt dealers, with Cobalt associates and, of course, with the remarkable people who own Cobalts,” Pack says. And I trust that, just as in its making, Cobalt wine will bring families and friends together in small celebrations of good lives lived well together.”
Lives straight out of Neodesha, Kansas – or St. Helena, California -- places where individual effort and personal integrity have refined the boat-builder’s, the wine-maker’s art. Places where people still believe that the ocean roars softly inside a seashell, that a cluster of grapes can subsume something like hope. Places where a smile and a handshake remain sufficient to the sealing of a dream.
Cobalt wine can be ordered by calling 800-468-5764, Monday through Friday, 8:00AM - 5:00PM Central time.