To experience the wines of Julien Fayard is to
put yourself in the hands of an acclaimed vintner
—and one of Napa Valley’s master craftsmen.


Vineyard before Cellar

In the vineyard and the cellar, Julien’s practices as a winemaker are informed by a belief that the act of putting wine in the bottle should be as natural as possible. To achieve this, he employs traditional, low-manipulation winemaking methods—always preceded by carefully considered viticultural decisions. “There’s a lot of anticipation with my decision-making on the ground,” Julien explains. “Great wine is the natural product of grapes, so my creed is vineyard-centric.”


Collaboration and Trust

There’s a dependable flow of communication between Julien and the select group of growers who supply him grapes for the Julien Fayard wines. “I trust them to be good farmers and stewards of the land who are able to bring out the best fruit,” the winemaker says, “and they trust me to make good wine that's going to reflect the quality of their vineyard.”

With each site Julien sources for his wines, his goal is a long-term collaboration based on mutual respect for the land. He’s come to recognize it as a dual relationship, understanding that his talented growers could choose any winemaker to work with, while he could choose any vineyard. “But we care about the same thing: it's that what comes out of the vineyard is great.”


Vineyard before Cellar

It should be no surprise that for a vintner so closely attuned to the aspects of winemaking driven by nature, the process for Julien starts in the vineyard. The cellar work of fermentation and aging are, as he describes them, “big steps that have to be done right.” But they’re steps preceded by everything that happens at the all-important vineyard level. Out among the vines is, to Julien, where the essence of winemaking takes place.

“I like to put a little more focus on the decisions made ahead of what happens in the cellar,” he says of his winemaking approach. “It's almost like what people picture as the central pieces of winemaking—fermentation and aging—are a consequence of the farming decisions.” From the vineyard to the winery, such execution allows this talented winemaker to leverage the style and quality of his Julien Fayard wines.


Minimal Impact—Maximum Quality

Before any wine goes into the bottle at Julien Fayard Wines, the winemaker asks himself a question: “How do we become both better at what we’re doing and less impactful?” While he acknowledges that energy and resources will always get used, and waste will always be created, to Julien the entire process is about becoming better at using those resources—and incorporating creative thinking about how to do so along the way. “To try to become more efficient, we’re always reassessing,” he says.

From exploring water conservation and more efficient energy use, down to a shift from pine to more earth-friendly bamboo as the construction material for his wood cases, Julien is a winemaker whose pledge is to never stop questioning the impact of what he does.