Supporting Frankie Lemmon School & Developmental Center.

Julien Fayard Wines

Napa Valley, California

Julien was born in Saint-Étienne in France; he has a well-rounded and diverse background in wine making. His father grew grapes and their family has been involved in the wine business in France for several generations. Julien made his first wine at age 16 and continued his education by working in Provence, the Loire Valley and Bordeaux (Château Lafite-Rothschild and Château Smith Haut Lafitte–incidentally both wineries have strong connections through ownership to the Napa Valley). Julien first visited California in 2000, returned to France and then in 2003 came back to the Napa Valley for a short while working as a harvest intern at Quintessa. It was at Quintessa where he first met winemaker Philippe Melka. Julien later worked with Melka at Atelier Melka for 8 years and oversaw a number of projects including winery development, vineyard sites and custom crush operations and worked with notables such as Lail, Gemstone and Dalla Valle Vineyards. Julien released his first wine in the Napa Valley in 2007, a rosé bottled under the brand Azur. Arguably, the Azur rosé set a new standard of quality for California producers of wines of this style. From the beginning the winemaking followed the Methode Provencale process (direct pressing or maceration and bleeding of the juice) along with a number of other steps similar to how this wine is made in Côtes de Provence, France, including no malolactic fermentation. And in addition, what is highly unusual in the Napa Valley, the grapes purchased for this wine were grown specifically for the purpose of making a rosé wine and were always harvested on the earlier side –highlighting the acidity and liveliness of the fruit. In 2012 a group of partners including Julien purchased a 12 acre site in Coombsville of which 4.5 acres were already planted to vine. Now called Covert Estate, part of the property is a knoll which boasts excellent views overlooking much of Coombsville and to the south including the San Pablo Bay in the distance. This knoll has proved useful in that geographically it provided the footprint for their wine cave. The 12,000 square foot cave was completed in late 2015 in time for that years’ harvest and serves as home to a number of small brands that Julien and his team make wine for.