A long-time business venture comes to fruition
Four local couples embarked on a joint business venture seven years ago, and they released their first product this year. They are the owners of a small winery in Napa Valley. They cultivated the land and planted vine roots in 1999 and 2000. The first harvest began in 2003. After a tedious waiting process, the group released an inaugural vintage bottle of 2003 cabernet sauvignon to Utah state liquor stores in Park City this week. Parallel Wines, a company name with an assortment of meanings, consists of the Cab4Ten business team of friends who have each been married for 25 years and have known one another in Park City for at least 20 years. "Our kids knew each other, our pets knew each other, we skied together," partner Mac MacQuoid said. "We ran parallel lives." The name also relates to skiing and he believes Park City and Napa Valley have parallel cultures devoted to music and art, he added. "When we introduce our wine to Napa Valley, we want to introduce Utah to Napa Valley," he said. The Cab4Ten primary partners are Mac and Ann MacQuoid and Val and Steve Chin from Park City, Joe Sargetakis and Paula Swaner-Sargetakis from Salt Lake City and Mike and Toni Doilney, former Parkites who recently moved to St. Helena in Napa Valley, Calif. Their venture began in 1999 when the MacQuoids and the Chins traveled to Napa Valley, Calif. for a golf tournament. When they left the area, they were less focused on golf and more determined to purchase a vineyard. Ann MacQuoid said for herself and Steve Chin, both Prudential Utah realtors, researching property was a natural first step. "Like realtors do, we decided to look for properties and to see what was available," she said.
After purchasing the vineyard, the group teamed with Philippe Melka, a winemaker raised and trained in Bordeaux, France. Melka, who works on 10 to 12 additional wine ventures in the Napa Valley, was recently rated Winemaker of the Year by Food and Wine magazine.
Melka said cabernet grapes were selected for the Park City group’s vineyard based upon the growing environment in the Napa Valley. "Cabernet is the king of the Napa Valley," Melka said. " The ground and the microclimate is the most suitable to grow cabernet grapes." Melka said the 2003 vintage, consists of 80 percent cabernet sauvignon and a 20 percent blend of cabernet franc, merlot and petit verdot. He said the 2003 Parallel wine came from a small berry harvest of concentrated grapes. The potent flavor produced a masculine wine with a tangy aftertaste that mixes well with cheeses and strong, meaty flavors such as venison or duck. After each harvest, the Parallel wine is stored for a mandatory two years in French oak barrels. After bottling, it remains sealed for at least another six months. The 2006 vintage, harvested in 2004, will be a similar blend to the 2003. Melka said the 2007 release, harvested this year, will have a lighter, more feminine flavor with an attractive aroma.
The Parallel Wines vineyard has a capacity to produce 500 to 3,000 cases per year. This year, Ann MacQuoid said 1,100 cases will be distributed throughout Utah, California, New York and Colorado.
Melka said the partners maintain an active role in the vineyard and keep a relaxed attitude throughout the production process. He added that the partners approached him with an attitude that they do not need to create the best wine in the world, just the best product with the resources that they have.
The Doilneys, who now live in Napa Valley, oversee the vineyard and Mac MacQuoid said he travels to the Napa Valley at least once a month.
"The first few years we were all out there kicking dirt, and I personally planted 200 rose bushes around the property," MacQuoid said.
He said planting roses around a vineyard is a long-standing tradition with a variety of possible functions. He said the roses are delicate and the first plants to show signs of illness, they look nice around the property and the thorns were traditionally used to discourage workhorses from running over the grape crops.
The original winery for Parallel Wines consisted of a 16-acre lot on the Napa Valley floor near Calistoga and St. Helena. A new harvest location with 62-acres of rolling hills adjacent to Howell Mountain will be blended into future vintage releases.
On Thursday at the Empire Lodge in Deer Valley, the Cab4ten team invited 200 friends and service industry guests to sample and celebrate the release of the 2003 Parallel vintage.
Val Chin said there were years of anxiety building up to the release of the wine and she is relieved it has finally arrived.
"It’s kind of like a wedding," Chin said. " We just decided to release it to our friends and those that might enjoy it," she said.
For more information visit http://www.parallelwines.com.
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Park City officials are expected to present information about upcoming work on the Treasure acreage designed to guard against a wildfire, as well as a series of other City Hall projects and programs, at an open house that is scheduled next week.