Relic was founded in Napa Valley in 2001 by husband and wife team Michael Hirby and Schatzi
Throckmorton, with a focus on historic winemaking techniques. Inspired by a love of Burgundy, they began making a small amount of Pinot Noir, and have since continued to mine history for old secrets in the making of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast as well as Rhone and Bordeaux varietals from the Napa Valley, where their hillside cave winery is located.
Relic Wine believes that highly natural, traditional methods including indigenous yeast fermentation, whole-cluster fermentation, extended lees ageing, minimal-intervention, when applied to California’s great terroirs, result in world-class, complex, layered, and vibrantly aromatic wine. The diverse vineyard sources are tended with the utmost care, and grown to Relic’s specifications of yield, light exposure, irrigation.
The Wineries blog gives more insight into Relic’s winemaking process. For their Red Wine called Ritual they write:
“For Ritual, we have always fermented the varietals separately, as they come from different sources, from up valley along Pickett Road, and from down valley near Coombsville. They all mature at such different times that it just doesn’t make sense to co-ferment them. After fermentation they all get pressed separately and moved into their own aging vessels: French oak barrels and puncheons (4-500 liters) and barrels (228 liters), mostly used for a few years already. No need to mess up these complex, beautiful varieties with too much oak.
After about a year of aging in barrel, we sit down to put together hypothetical blends. If all goes well, we rack the wine together in the proportions we have decided. No two years, or blending sessions, are ever alike.”
For more on Relic's approach to blending visit:
After gaining a degree in Philosophy from Colorado College, Michael worked for 2 years as a
sommelier. Before moving to Napa Valley, he spent an extended period tasting with winemakers in France, where he learned that some contemporary winemaking rules are meant to be broken, and his traditional approach became entrenched. Michael is currently the consulting winemaker for D.R. Stephens Estate, Husic Family Vineyards, Sarocka Estate, Wolf Family Vineyards, Flint Knoll, and MAZE, and was the consulting winemaker at Realm Cellars for 8 years.
Schatzi gained a degree in History from Northwestern before moving to Napa Valley in 1999 to work harvest. Her skills were soon recognized, and she has been busy ever since. Schatzi is the Business Manager for Behrens Family Winery, where she has been for 17 years.
How to Purchase
Relic’s small production is sold mainly through the mailing list.
To Learn more visit Relic Wines at: