Private tastings of Arrow&Branch wines available at Wheeler Farms Winery in St. Helena
By Anne Ward Ernst, Weekly Calistogan, July 18, 2017
Arrow&Branch relocated its winemaking production last year from Coombsville to the Wheeler Farms facility in St. Helena where they can also host guests for tastings.
With the recent opening of a custom crush winery and hospitality center in St. Helena, Steve and Seanne Contursi finally have a place to welcome guests to enjoy their Arrow&Branch wines.
Acting on a love of Bordeaux wines, and especially cabernet franc, the couple purchased a 3.5-acre estate vineyard planted to that varietal and in 2011 added another contiguous 1.5 acres. They founded Arrow&Branch (spelled with an ampersand and without spaces between the words) in 2008, but until now they have not had a tasting room.
They’ve moved their winery operation to Wheeler Farms Winery on Zinfandel Lane where winemaker Jennifer Williams made the 2016 vintage for the Contursis.
“It’s a winemaker’s dream,” Williams said of the state-of-the-art custom crush facility that is used by a handful of other wineries.
A barrel cellar located under the 10,000-square-foot fermentation tank building stretches beyond the building’s footprint that houses 70 fully automated stainless steel fermentation tanks. Williams said each tank is equipped for pumpovers using an oxygen piping system and temperature controls.
The Contursis are equally as excited about the hospitality center that opened in the spring. Designed by Taylor Lombardo Architects, the large open-space structure has a full kitchen that can be tucked away by trendy sliding barn doors, parlor, and a living room with sofas and chairs surrounding a fireplace. A wall of windows and sliding glass doors take in the vineyard view and patio.
Out front a raised bed garden is growing, with plans to add chickens and maybe some other farm animals in a nod to the property’s history as a working ranch.
Arrow&Branch produces about 1,200 cases of wine annually including cabernet sauvignon, a red blend with cabernet franc as its base, and a sauvignon blanc.
The name Arrow&Branch is a reference to Steve Contursi’s numismatics career that began in 1975, but his love and interest in coins started when he was 7 years old. On the back of most United States coins is an eagle holding arrows – representing war, or defense – and in the other talon an olive branch, representing peace.
One of his most high-profile coin sales was in 2010 when he sold a 1794 coin known as “Flowing Hair Silver Dollar,” for $7.85 million, then a world record that has since been topped by the re-selling of the coin for $10 million in 2013. It is believed to be among the first silver dollars struck by the United States Mint.
Tastings of Arrow&Branch wines are available by appointment only at Wheeler Farms Winery. For appointments or more information contact Elizabeth Robertis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 707-200-3640.