Napa Valley’s LOBO Wines: A 20 Year Overnight Success
Mar 09, 2020 09:14AM
By Fran Miller
Randy and Krys Wulff of LOBO Wines
BY FRAN ENDICOTT MILLER
Twenty years after planting their first vineyard, Stockton natives Krys and Randy Wulff of Napa Valley’s LOBO Wines are considered an ‘overnight’ success. Recognized for their highly rated 2015 LOBO Cabernet Sauvignon, the Wulff’s were surprised and honored that the December 2019 issue of Decanter featured a bottle of the award-winning wine on its cover. Distributed in more than 90 countries, the magazine is a trusted source for wine industry ratings. With only 100 cases of this top prize-winning, $64 bottle Cabernet Sauvignon produced, it’s an accomplishment to be recognized by this esteemed publication.
It was fifteen years ago when the Wulffs traded their bustling city life for the serene setting of the Napa Valley. They first planted their small Napa Valley vineyard just for fun, but they quickly embraced their new lives as vineyard owners, and their venture eventually grew to include another 60 acres in Oak Knoll and on Atlas Peak. They sold their fruit to high-end wineries within the region before introducing their own LOBO label in 2009. Meaning ‘wolf’ in Spanish, the moniker is a playful wink to their own surname, as well as an homage to the Valley’s revered Hispanic workforce.
The Wulff’s continue to sell 75% of their fruit to ultra-premium wineries including Lewis Cellars and Mumm. Their grapes are grown at 1350-feet elevation with southwestern sun exposure and within extremely rocky, volcanic soils in which the vines struggle. That struggle produces superlative Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. A proponent of close row planting, their vines tend to be tightly spaced. Nearly everything is hand farmed.LOBO also produces a Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay and a red blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon called Howl. Their total production is a mere 2,000 cases annually.
Randy attributes the notable Cabernet rating to harvesting the best fruit. “LOBO only makes wine from its own estate grown fruit, and I learned early on that the most important thing to put within your vineyard is your own boots,” said Randy.
The Wulff’s are quick to attribute much of their wine’s success and recognition to their vineyard staff. “We hire the best people and we listen to them,” says Randy. “Mario Bazan has been our vineyard manager for 20 years and really knows our vineyards. Our winemaker Victoria Coleman has built on her UC Davis education and training at Chateau Mouton Rothschild; she’s a star.”
Randy and Krys have never produced their wines with an eye towards scores or acclaim. “Do it for love and you will spare nothing to make the best wine,” says Randy.
Sample LOBO wines via appointment-only tastings held at The Caves at Soda Canyon, the Wulffs other venture. Visit www.LOBOwines.com for appointment and purchase information.