PlumpJack Takes On Howell Mountain

PlumpJack Takes On Howell Mountain

San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom recently unveiled his company’s newest winery. CADE consists of 54 steep acres, 21 of them planted in 2003, on Howell Mountain, at an altitude of 1,720 feet.

The winery’s green credentials are one of its primary features. It is LEED certified, organically farmed and 100% solar—all concerns of Newsom, who is running for governor of California. “You can’t be preaching certain practices and then, in your private life, not practice them,” Newsom says. “Environmentally-friendly businesses are where we’re going, either on our own, or we’re going to be compelled to go there,” Newsom said at the winery’s official opening, in March. “This is not an option,” he added. “Peoples’ consciousness has changed dramatically.”

CADE’s lead wines will be an estate Cabernet Sauvignon, a Sauvignon Blanc, and a Howell Mountain-appellated Cabernet sourced from nearby vineyards, as well as a CADE Cuvée with a Napa Valley appellation. The name CADE derives from a Shakespearean term for an oak cask or barrel. Plans call for a total production of 12,500 cases annually, to be achieved over the next ten years.

Half the wines will be bottled in screwtops, with the remainder under cork, as is standard at CADE’s sister winery in Oakville, PlumpJack. CADE’s winemaker, Anthony Biagi, also makes the wines at PlumpJack, which is part of Newsom’s PlumpJack Group (billionaire Gordon Getty is the group’s other founder). The consulting winemaker is veteran Nils Venge.

The winery itself, just recently completed, was designed by the young Napa Valley architect, Juan Carlos Fernandez, of Lail Design Group. It is his first winery. The sleek, modernistic building was designed to blend into the tall trees that line the slopes of Howell Mountain. Its materials include concrete with 30 percent fly ash, steel made from 98 percent recycled materials, blue jeans for insulation, and glass and wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Indoor ventilation in the 15,000-square foot cave is natural.

Newsom says that CADE, like PlumpJack winery and his other businesses (wine stores, restaurants, a ski resort) “is part of a brand identity and story line. Each business reinforces the others, so connecting our sustainability values, in terms of making sure we manifest that in practice, is important to making that story real.” His push for green and environmental practices, Newsom insists, “isn’t some kind of holier-than-thou thing. We’re just trying to push the envelope and get it to the next level.”

The winery’s tasting room is now open by appointment 7 days a week, at a cost of $10 per person. For $30, you can have a private tour with a food-and-wine pairing. For further information, call CADE at 707.965.2746 or visit


Published on March 25, 2009
Topics: WInemakingWineries