Following successful careers in Minnesota and New Mexico, proprietors Betty O’Shaughnessy-Wools and Paul Wools purchased land and vineyards in Oakville in 1990 with the dream to return to their farming roots and make world-class wine. Over the next dozen years, new vineyards on Howell Mountain and Mount Veeder became available. By 2003, caves and a new winery were built.
Founding winemaker Sean Capiaux has deftly established his impressive and notable career over the past 21 years at prominent wineries around the globe. He graduated from California State University, Fresno in the late ’80s. Sean began his career at Jordan Winery in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley. He joined the Houghton Winery located outside Perth for one harvest. Sean returned to the United States as assistant winemaker at Pine Ridge Winery in the Stags Leap district of Napa Valley. Two years later the Peter Michael Winery in Calistoga tapped Sean as the assistant winemaker.
In 1994, Sean launched his own label, Capiaux Cellars, which has garnered favourable reactions among professional reviewers, a cadre of restauranteurs, and consumers. In 1996, Sean moved temporarily to New York so his wife could attend Cornell University. As a bicoastal winemaker, Sean continued to produce Capiaux Cellars Pinot Noir in California, while working as the winemaker for Macari Vineyards, Jamesport Vineyards and Schneider Vineyards on the north Fork of Long Island.
Sean serves as COO and winemaker for the O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery today, consistently creating world class mountain Cabernets, while continuing to make his Capiaux Cellars Pinot Noirs. Sean describes his winemaking style as neo-classic in that he employs modern equipment to produce non-interventional wines that he ferments naturally and bottles unfined and unfiltered. Sean’s technique allows the varietal character to showcase beautifully.
“Betty O’Shaughnessy and her winemaker Sean Capiaux make some of the most compelling Cabernets in California. These are among my favorite wines to drink at home. Best, of all they remain exceptionally well-priced considering the quality of what is in the glass.”
Antonio Galloni, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Dec 2012