Our Winemaking Approach at Our Spring Mountain Vineyard Wine Estate
Our family is proud to offer ultra-premium wines produced from this historic Spring Mountain vineyard wine estate, which has been planted in grapevines since the late 19th century. Keenan Wines are a true archetype of the distinctive terroir of the region and reflect the adherence to vineyard and winemaking practices designed to showcase the sense of place unique to this mountainside environment.
Designated an American Vineyard Appellation (AVA) in 1993, the Spring Mountain District is appreciated for its low vigor soils that create stressful growing conditions for vineyards planted on the mountainsides. The unique environment of the Keenan Winery Estate on Spring Mountain is the foundation for the superb quality of the grapes. Wines produced by the estate show great concentration, structure, and true grape typicity. Each is an expression of pure varietal flavor, with complex, tight-knit tannins, graceful structure, and superb aging potential.
Soon after Michael Keenan began leadership of the estate in 1998, we began a rigorous replanting program focused on increasing soil health throughout the vineyards, using superior farming methods combined with organic compost and cover crops. Matching each varietal clone to its optimum location, every acre is now sustainably farmed and planted with specially selected rootstock. In addition, close attention has been given to row orientation on each site, combined with efficient irrigation. The superior quality of the resulting fruit translates well into more naturally produced wines, and the winemaking team takes a conservative approach, to encourage the varietal flavors to stand out in each bottle of wine.
Creating and serving the wine at Keenan Winery is truly a collaborative, family affair.
Our family uses a true collaborative approach to winemaking, with President Michael Keenan working in concert with General Manager Matt Gardner, Cellar Master Aristeo Garcia Martinez and Assistant Cellar Master Ricardo Segura. Matt has been with the estate since 1995. Together, they along with son Reilly Keenan, establish winemaking protocols, aging, and the finished style of Keenan wines. The combination of their long term and first-hand knowledge of the winery and vineyards is the key to producing exceptional wines that reflect a minimal, more natural and balanced style. In the tasting room and winery itself, Artistic Director Jennifer Keenan ensures that visitors enjoy not only the taste of the wines, but full experience of the winery, through her creative and playful interior design (see the yarn-bombed bike hanging above the fireplace, for example) and sumptuous event design. The winery enjoys a first-class reputation within the Spring Mountain community, for their comprehensive knowledge of winemaking and grape growing, as well as the wonderful warmth offered in our tasting room by Hospitality Manager Laura March, and Club Manager Elizabeth Zafra. We believe the enduring dedication of the team ensures the quality of Keenan wines. Each person brings a unique contribution to the success of Keenan Winery.
In 2007 our solar power system went on-line and now supplies energy to the winery, administrative offices, and visitor hospitality areas, as well as to the homes located on the property. This environmentally pro-active energy source, combined with the sustainable farming practices of our estate vineyards led to recognition by the Napa Valley Vintners Association of the Keenan estate as a ‘green’ winery, and a leading producer in Spring Mountain vineyard wine.
Finally, the winery building–incorporating the very walls of the original Conradi Winery–was impressively remodeled in 2014 by Jennifer Walker Keenan’s own father, the highly respected architect John C. “Sandy” Walker (of the renowned firm, Walker & Moody Architects, located in San Francisco).
Beyond the winery, Keenan Winery President, Michael Keenan, and son Reilly Keenan, promote and pour the wines for events and winemaker dinners the world over. That’s why, even if you can’t make it to the winery today, you may well find one of them visiting your neck of the woods soon, or simply join the club to get these outstanding wines delivered to your door.
Keenan Winery History
Keenan Winery started over 40 years ago. Certain that mountainside vineyards in Napa Valley could produce world class wines, in 1974 Robert Keenan purchased 180 acres in the Spring Mountain District at an elevation of 1700 feet. Located on the eastern slope of the Mayacamas mountain range, Spring Mountain District gained recognition as an American Vineyard Appellation (AVA) in 1993. The low vigor soils unique to the region were known to create a stressful environment for vine growth, setting up perfect conditions to encourage vineyards planted on the steep, rocky, mountainsides to produce wines of great concentration, structure, and pure varietal flavors.
The original acreage Robert acquired included the crumbling Peter Conradi Winery, founded in the late 19th Century and one of the first pioneering properties established on Spring Mountain. Peter Conradi had originally planted the vineyards to Zinfandel and Syrah, but they declined when the property was abandoned during Prohibition, and by the time Keenan arrived in 1974, none of the original vineyards were producing. Robert cleared the estate of tree stumps and rocks, extended the original vineyard acreage and replanted the property to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. He built a new winery using the existing stonewalls from the old Conradi building, and celebrated Keenan Winery’s first harvest there in 1977.
New Leadership & Technology For Better Quality Grapes
The history of Keenan Winery turned a new direction when Michael Keenan took over leadership of the estate in 1998. Shortly thereafter, he and the team made the decision to replant the vineyards to increase grape quality. In addition, we built a solar power system that went on-line in 2007 and now supplies all of the estate’s energy needs, including the winery, administrative offices, visitor hospitality area, and the homes located on the property. The Napa Valley Vintners have recognized Keenan as a “green” winery, which we now proudly announce on our back labels: Solar Powered and Sustainably Farmed.
Today Keenan Winery produces four superb and distinctive wines exclusively from grapes grown our Spring Mountain Estate: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Cabernet Franc and a Merlot Reserve from the Mailbox Vineyard. Keenan also offers wines produced from estate fruit blended with grapes grown in carefully selected Napa Valley vineyards: Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and the Mernet Reserve, which is a proprietary blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Our Summer Blend, an annual spring release, is composed of mostly Chardonnay and blended with small amounts of Viognier and Albarino.