Cliff Lede Vineyards - Our Story

Cliff Lede Vineyards was founded in 2002 by Cliff Lede following the acquisition of 60 acres in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley. With a focus on producing wines from estate vineyards, Cliff engaged industry experts to redesign and replant the majority of the estate. The plantings were so specific and precise to each soil type and exposure that, to keep track without having to refer to a clipboard, Cliff decided to name each block after some of his favorite rock songs and albums. From “My Generation” to “Dark Side of the Moon,” he created what is known today as the Cliff Lede Vineyards “Rock Blocks.” The winemaking team gets creative with this innovation, annually crafting a small-lot Rock Block Series “mash up” of two or more blocks, featured in the tasting room and wine club.

Farmed by Director of Vineyard Operations Allison Wilson and her team, the estate is split into two distinct vineyards in the northern corner of the Stags Leap District appellation. The steep, southwest-facing hillside vineyard that surrounds Poetry Inn is the Poetry Vineyard. It reaches from the valley floor up to the highest elevations of the appellation. This site is composed of a combination of shallow volcanic soils on top of fractured shale, which produces extremely concentrated berries. This iconic vineyard is the sole source for the winery’s flagship Cabernet Sauvignon, Poetry. Next to the hillside, The Twin Peaks Estate vineyard sits on the valley floor surrounding the tasting room and winery. The soil is predominantly gravelly loam thanks to the two rocky hillsides on the vineyard’s southern border. The plantings on Twin Peaks Estate include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc, and Sémillon.

The modern winery, designed by world-renowned architect Howard Backen and completed in 2005, combines time-tested techniques with innovative technology. The winery utilizes a three-tier sorting line including an optical sorting machine, which sorts grapes based upon quality settings established by the winemaker. A custom crane system gently delivers the berries to tank by gravity before fermentation. In 2011, a 300kilowatt solar panel field was installed to fully power the winery. Wastewater is captured for irrigation and an extensive cave system provides a naturally cool space for wines to age.

Cliff Lede Vineyards’ production is overseen by Director of Winemaking Christopher Tynan and Winemaker Travis Bullard. Wines produced include Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley; Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District; Cabernet Sauvignon, Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard; the Rock Block Series, Stags Leap District; Songbook, Napa Valley; and the flagship wine, Poetry, Stags Leap District, among others that are offered only to wine club members.

In 2005, Cliff opened the luxurious five-suite Poetry Inn,

the only accommodations in Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District. Designed by world-renowned architect Howard Backen, Poetry Inn is perched on the same hillside as the Poetry Vineyard, above the Silverado Trail overlooking the valley floor. Beyond its private, gated drive, Poetry Inn is run like a private villa, mixing elegance with subtlety. Each room features sweeping valley views, a wood-burning fireplace, a private balcony, and both indoor and outdoor showers.

Cliff’s love for creating and building things led to the purchase of a small winery in the Anderson Valley in 2009.

Breggo Cellars was renamed FEL Wines as an homage to Cliff’s mother Florence Elsie Lede, who dabbled in home winemaking. Two years later, the Lede Family acquired the Savoy Vineyard, a benchmark vineyard for Anderson Valley Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In addition to the Savoy bottlings, FEL Winemaker Ryan Hodgins crafts Anderson Valley appellation Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris, and a collection of vineyard designate Pinot Noirs from select vineyards within the Anderson Valley.

The winemaking philosophy at Lede Family Wines has always been one of minimal intervention that allows the wines to demonstrate a sense of place. Cliff Lede Vineyards, Poetry, and FEL Wines form a complementary portfolio of wines that are consistently exceptional in quality and true to their source and vintage. Both Cliff Lede and FEL wines can be tasted at Cliff Lede Vineyards tasting room at 1473 Yountville Cross Road.

Visitors will find one of Napa Valley’s most modern and diversified estates.

The property offers a complete Napa Valley lifestyle experience with a classic rock edge, where the best in wine, music, art, architecture, and nature intersect.

A Lede Family Wines History

  • 2002

    The Lede Family purchases sixty acres and a winery in Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District, renaming the estate Cliff Lede Vineyards.

  • 2004

    The new Backen Gillam-designed tasting room, a renovated 1913 Craftsman-style bungalow, opens for wine tasting.

    Famed viticulturist David Abreu begins replanting the estate vineyards.

  • 2005

    The new state of the art, 25,000 square foot winery and cave system is completed just in time to receive the 2005 harvest.

    Designed by world-renowned architect Howard Backen, the luxurious five-room Poetry Inn opens to guests, offering valley-wide views from its perch above the hillside Poetry Vineyard.

  • 2009

    The Lede Family purchases Breggo Cellars, a small winery in Mendocino’s Anderson Valley, expanding its portfolio to include cooler climate varieties.

  • 2011

    The Lede Family acquires the Savoy Vineyard, a benchmark vineyard for Anderson Valley Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

  • 2014

    Following the rebrand of Breggo Cellars to FEL Wines in honor of Cliff’s mother, Florence Elsie Lede, the first releases from FEL are the 2012 FEL Pinot Noir Anderson Valley and the 2012 FEL Chardonnay Anderson Valley.

    The “Lede Family Wines” name is created to tie together the sister brands, showing the relationship between their complementary portfolios and the shared commitment to quality as part of a family-owned winery.

  • 2015

    Cliff Lede Vineyards’ Stags Leap District estate achieves both Napa Green Land and Napa Green Winery certification.

  • 2018

    FEL Wines opens a state-of-the-art winery, specifically designed for the production of high-quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

  • 2019

    Lede Family Wines announces an equal partnership with Mas Doix, a family-owned winery in Priorat D.O.Q of Spain. The partnership marks Lede Family Wines’ first international wine venture.