La Pelle

USA, California, Napa Valley

La Pelle

La Pelle—“the shovel” in French—is the only tool used in the winery and the vineyard. It’s an apt name for this collaboration that started in 2016 between Silverado Farming Company and Maayan Koschitzky, a talented young winemaker and farmer from Israel.

Something Old, Something New

In 2016, Maayan left his position at Screaming Eagle to pursue his own project: La Pelle.

“The goal for La Pelle from Day 1 was to be the closest to being an estate winery without needing to buy land and without being stuck to one vineyard,” said Maayan. “With this partnership, I could look into the Silverado Farming portfolio, cherry-pick specific sites and blocks I would like to source from, adjust farming to fit the winemaking and create a unique portfolio. The philosophy is to make powerful wines without becoming too heavy, like some of the great wines from Napa of the 1990s. They have everything we love about Napa without being heavy and sweet.” 

Maayan’s partner, Silverado Farming Company (SFC), is one of the most respected vineyard management operations in Napa Valley, overseeing the farming for Dana, Brand, Vineyard 29, and Melka, just to name a few.

“Silverado Farming are great people,” said Maayan. “They’re very much about the community. Miguel Luna (one of SFC’s founders) and I are very good friends. We both studied at UC Davis. We want to make wines only from vineyards we farm so that all the vineyards are under our umbrella without owning them.”

In addition to a great value Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (a blend of six vineyards across the valley, seeking to “capture the vintage”), the La Pelle range currently includes a Sauvignon Blanc and three single vineyard Cabernets from Coombsville, Oak Knoll District, and St. Helena, plus a Reserve label (a blend of the three single vineyards). The style of these Napa Wines is something of a throwback to old-school Napa with a modern twist.

"We want to make wines that are a little more restrained with great age-ability."

“I don’t like to say we pick early,” Maayan explained. “We farm to pick early. We pick the fruit when it is ripe. We want to make wines that are a little more restrained with great age-ability. Kinda the new Napa—less up-front sweetness, but great structure and density.”

2019 was the first year of La Pelle’s collaboration with Bien Nacido Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley. “We’re really a Napa company,” Maayan said. “But the Syrah and Chardonnay from Bien Nacido are just too good to pass up.”

Total production is about 3000 cases across all the La Pelle wines. Interested readers can expect a mailing list offer for the 2021s in February 2024. The wines are a fresh, vibrant take on Napa Valley and come highly recommended.

Article & Reviews by Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW
Photography by Svante Örnberg

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