Barbour Vineyards in St. Helena is the realization of a lifelong dream of a long-time Napa resident and vintner, Jim Barbour. Jim grew up on a ranch in the Rutherford area where his family grew prunes, apples and table grapes. Although Napa in the early 60s was considered more of a farming region than the iconic wine region we know today, Jim convinced his father to plant five acres of Chardonnay. Before long, the family had converted their entire property to wine grapes.
From his humble beginning as the son of a California fruit farmer, Jim embarked on a 30+ year career as one of Napa Valley’s most sought-after viticulturists. He has worked with its most respected winemakers and has been essential to the creation of some of its most highly rated wines–Blankiet, Checkerboard, Grace Family and Hundred Acre, to name a few.
In 1992, Jim and his wife Kathy founded Barbour Vineyards in St. Helena, using clones from Grace Family vines. His vineyard lies on the valley floor, nestled between the Mayacamas and Vaca mountain ranges and is composed of gravelly and loamy soils that Jim calls “perfect for Cabernet.” The vineyard is dry-farmed and sustainably grown. Dry farming means that the vines receive no irrigation, which causes deep root penetration and strong, competitive vines. The resulting fruit is beautifully concentrated and expressive. This is genuinely artisan-level wine growing.
Jim found his perfect partner in winemaker Celia Welch. Celia is one of North America’s most highly regarded winemakers and has earned a reputation for crafting distinctive wines that express the unique qualities and characteristics of each vineyard. As the daughter of an avid wine collector and home winemaker, Celia had an early introduction to wine appreciation and the elements of winemaking. Her early fascination with wine’s flavours and aromas inspired her to earn a degree in enology from U.C. Davis. Afterward, she explored and worked in the wine regions of the Pacific Northwest, New Zealand, and Australia. She settled in Napa Valley, and after spending several years working in notable wineries, she became an independent winemaker working for clients including Staglin Family Vineyard. Today, her client list consists of a select group of Napa Valley wineries: Barbour, Scarecrow, Keever Vineyards, Lindstrom, and Hollywood and Vine among them. Celia also produces wine under her own label, Corra.